The lone stakes winner among 10 rivals in Monday's $150,000 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park, Coastline will be seeking a measure of redemption in the one-mile event after a stumbling start resulted in an eight-place finish as the favorite in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot.
The Smarty Jones is part of the "Prep Season" portion of the Road to the Kentucky Derby scoring series and awards points on a 10-4-2-1 scale to the top four finishers. Will Take Charge, the leading contender for champion three-year-old male, posted his first stakes victory in last year's Smarty Jones.
Trained by Mark Casse, Coastline broke his maiden by a 3 1/2-length margin at Keeneland and followed with a three-length score in the October 27 Street Sense at Churchill Downs. The ease of victory was impressive and the front-running colt was flattered when the next three horses behind him -- Ichiban Warrior, Ride on Curlin and Almost Famous -- all came back to capture their next start.
Coastline could not recover from a poor beginning in the Delta Downs Jackpot, racing near the back of the pack the entire way, but the gray son of Speightstown figures to break running from his outside post Monday with regular rider Shaun Bridgmohan.
D'cajun Cat rates consideration following a third in the Sugar Bowl at Fair Grounds. Trained by Steve Asmussen, the bay colt was a 5 1/4-length debut winner at Churchill Downs last summer and breaks from the rail post in the Smarty Jones with new rider Ricardo Santana Jr. Walt exits a decent effort versus stakes foes, finishing fourth in the Springboard Mile after opening his racing career with a pair of convincing wins at Remington Park. Ken Tohill has the call for Chris Hartman.
A Step Ahead, an Illinois-bred son of Giant's Causeway, exits a second in the restricted Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity at Hawthorne. Francisco Torres will pick up the mount on the Brian Williamson trainee. Denali Rahy Ruler and Whyruawesome also possess stakes experience.
Son of a Preacher will make his stakes debut following a runner-up against the well-regarded Gold Hawk in an optional claimer at Fair Grounds, and Fire Starter steps up to test winners after recording a 10-length maiden special weight victory at Laurel Park. Tanzanite Cat is another last-out maiden scorer, posting a four-length, wire-to-wire victory at Fair Grounds. Unstoppable Colby is still a maiden, but he ran well when second most recently at Churchill Downs and shows several fast works over the track in preparation for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.