Coach Rocks captures stakes debut in Gulfstream Park Oaks

Mar 31, 2018 Jennifer Caldwell/

Coach Rocks earned the majority of the 100-40-20-10 points up for grabs when rallying to catch Take Charge Paula in Saturday’s $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2).

The Oxbow filly raced in midpack as near 5-2 favorite Take Charge Paula took over from Eight Thirtyone, was passed by Alter Moon and then re-rallied to overtake that one heading into the turn. Jockey Luis Saez settled Coach Rocks on the inside early but angled her out into the two path entering the final bend. The bay miss ran out in the middle of the track but wore down Take Charge Paula and pulled clear in the final yards for the 1 1/2-length victory.

Coach Rocks paid $7.60 as the 5-2 second choice after finishing 1 1/16 miles over the fast Gulfstream Park main track in 1:44.63.

With 100 points in her account, the Dale Romans pupil is now guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 4 at Churchill Downs. Coach Rocks made her debut last August at Saratoga, finishing sixth, and needed six more tries to finally earn her first win. She entered the Gulfstream Park Oaks off that wire-to-wire, eight-length romp over track and distance, and now boasts an 8-2-3-1, $225,682 career mark.

Take Charge Paula added 40 points to her previous total of 30 earned for a win in the Forward Gal Stakes (G3) and runner-up effort in the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) last out. She now boasts 70 total points.

Thanks to a runner-up effort last October in Keeneland’s Alcibiades Stakes (G1), Princess Warrior brought four points into the Gulfstream Park Oaks. She exited the contest with 24 total after finishing third, 10 lengths behind Take Charge Paula and 3 1/2 lengths in front of Tell Your Mama in fourth. Tell Your Mama is still a maiden after making her ninth start in this spot but was still awarded 10 points toward a Kentucky Oaks berth.

Campaigned by Roddy J. Valente, RAP Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds, Coach Rocks is out of Mexican Moonlight – a Grade 3-placed, stakes-winning daughter of El Prado – and counts as a half-brother dual Grade 3 runner-up O’Prado Ole. Bred by Calumet Farm in Kentucky, the filly’s female line includes a slew of German champions, highweights and Group 1 winners.


Luis Saez, jockey Coach Rocks, winner

“What a rough trip. My plan was to break and be right up front, first or second, but there was a lot of speed in the race. Thankfully when we got to the three-eighths pole, it got clear and she took off. When we came to the stretch I thought the horse to beat was going to go, but my filly kicked fine and thank God we passed them.”

Dale Romans, trainer Coach Rocks, winner

“She figured the game out. I never expected her to lose. Every time I've brought her over, I thought she would win. It took time for her to figure it out that she is as good as she is. When she swung out wide and finding her rhythm, I thought she would grind them down. I know she's fit and distance wasn't an issue.”

  • Ticket Info

    Sign up for race updates and more