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Kueber’s Coach takes Pippin

Oaklawn Park stakes recap (Coady Photography photos):

HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, Jan. 8, 2021) – Kueber Racing LLC’s Coach collected her second straight win and gave Kentucky-based trainer Brad Cox his second straight victory in the $150,000 Pippin Stakes with her front-running victory in Saturday’s one-mile race. Cox won last year’s Pippin with Getridofwhatailesu.

Kueber Racing is the nom de course of Louisvillian Rick Kueber of Planet Fitness, Sun Tan City and Buff City Soap fame.

Ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., Coach, the 8-5 favorite, took command soon after the break and led the field through opening fractions of :23 2/5 and :47 3/5 for the first half mile. Miss Bigly, the 9-5 favorite, moved up from third to grab the lead by head around the turn, but the winner fought back and drew off to win by three lengths in a final time of 1:37 2/5 over a sloppy track. W W Fitzy was third.

“I thought, given the track condition, Ricardo obviously, did a fantastic job of getting her involved,” Cox said when reached by phone after the race. “Right away, I loved the position she was in. Once they turned up the backside, she’s a hard-trying filly. I was pretty confident that she would kick on from there and she responded well. She did a fantastic job. She was ready to roll and we’re very proud of her.”

Coach, a 4-year-old Commissioner filly who was wheeling back after winning an allowance race at Oaklawn Dec. 17, improved her record to 5-1-2 in 10 career starts and has now earned $387,840. She returned $5.20, $2.80 and $2.60.

Live racing resumes Sunday with a 12:30 p.m. first post.

Stakes Quotes:

Winning trainer Brad Cox, Coach: “I thought, given the track condition, Ricardo (Santana Jr.), obviously, did a fantastic job of getting her involved. Right away, I loved the position she was in. Once they turned up the backside, she’s a hard-trying filly. I was pretty confident that she would kick on from there and she responded well. She did a fantastic job. She was ready to roll and we’re very proud of her.”

Winning jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., Coach.: “She improved today a lot. I had a lot of horse on the lead. She relaxed really well today, too. I didn’t want to be on the rail and when I saw (Miss Bigly) go inside, that’s where I wanted to be. She was much the best today.”

Jockey Martin Garcia, second on Miss Bigly: “I had a really good position and was right behind the speed and that’s where she likes it. She ran her race.”

Trainer Phil D’Amato, second with Miss Bigly: “I just think we got outrun today. That’s going to happen. I thought the other filly was the best.”

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.