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Unified Alliance Scores in Coronation Cup

Reagan Jack Racing’s Unified Alliance  made every pole a winning one in the July 14 $150,000 Coronation Cup for sophomore fillies at Saratoga Race Course.

The Coronation Cup was originally scheduled for 5 1/2 furlongs over the Mellon turf but was moved to the main track due to stormy weather late in the day Thursday that softened the Spa lawn. Unified Alliance, who made her first start for trainer Tom Morley after six outings in the care of John Servis, was hoping to make her turf debut but parlayed her past main-track experience for a third career score. 

“We were sitting at the table with claps of thunder and bolts of lightning (last night), and I said, ‘I could really do with this going on for four more hours just to really knock it on the head,'” Morley said. “It didn’t last four hours, but we got enough (rain). She actually worked really, really well on the grass at Belmont, so we were definitely going to roll the dice and see if she could turf today, but obviously it cut up into an easier race when it came off.”

The Unified   dark bay broke alertly under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano and led the compact field of four through splits of 22.48 and 45.63 over the fast main track with main-track only entrant L Street Lady , who bested Unified Alliance by one length last out in the six-furlong Jersey Girl Stakes at Belmont Park, tracking from the outside in second position.

The Florent Geroux-piloted Anna’s Arabesque  was in tight approaching the turn and saved ground until the head of the stretch before tipping out to take a run at the leader as L Street Lady failed to fire. Unified Alliance opened up by 2 1/2 lengths at the top of the lane and had plenty in the tank to secure the 1 1/2-length win in a final time of 1:03.80. 

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Anna’s Arabesque completed the exacta by 6 3/4 lengths over L Street Lady with Wildhawk  rounding out the order of finish. My Sweet Affair , Love Appeals , Love Reigns , Violet Gibson , and Bosserati  were scratched.

Castellano said a quick break this time around made all the difference after a troubled start in the Jersey Girl.

“She stumbled out of the gate last time,” Castellano said. “She’s still learning a little bit. Today, it was only five and a half (furlongs)—she broke sharp out of the gate. I let her dictate the pace and she was sharp today. I really like the way she did it today. She was very professional and I think she’s going to be a very good filly in the future.”

Castellano captured two-thirds of the Triple Crown this year, taking the Kentucky Derby (G1) in May with Mage  and the Belmont Stakes (G1) June aboard Arcangelo . He is off to a flying start at Saratoga, having captured Thursday’s featured Schuylerville Stakes (G3) with Becky’s Joker  to kick off the stakes action on opening day of the 40-day summer meet.

“I’m thankful and thank God everything is going in the right direction. I just hope we keep doing well and keep our momentum going,” Castellano said.

Unified Alliance, a $60,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale purchase, was a 10 1/4-length winner of a seven-furlong allowance optional claiming sprint on April 3 at Parx Racing. She followed with a pair of stakes efforts in New York, finishing a distant fourth in an off-the-turf edition of the one-mile Memories of Silver Stakes on April 29 over a sloppy and sealed main track at Aqueduct Racetrack ahead of her effort on June 11 in the Jersey Girl.

“She shipped in to me when she ran at Belmont, and she was a little warm with us that day when I saddled her for John,” Morley said. “I think it was just the fact that she shipped in from Monmouth in the morning and then she went straight into the paddock and got quite warm and nervous. Then she went out on the track and definitely calmed down. Today, the energy was right—it was just a really good energy in there (the paddock). She wasn’t too hot, but she was on her toes and she was ready to do her thing.”

Morley said he would like to get the ultra-consistent dark bay onto the grass.

“We’ll talk about it,” Morley said. “She was entered on the turf today and Javier is still adamant that we should explore that option with her, but obviously we’ve had her for one start on the dirt and she’s won a stake up here. We’ll get her home, make sure she’s OK and see where we’re at.”

Rigney Racing’s Anna’s Arabesque, trained by Philip Bauer, entered from an off-the-turf maiden score with Geroux aboard traveling 5 1/2 furlongs over a sloppy and sealed main track on June 29 at Ellis Park.

“Broke good, tried to make the pace for a little bit but was overtaken by the winner,” Geroux said. “From there, just sat chilly and tried to catch them at the end but they just kept on running away from me.”

Bred in Kentucky by Calvin and Shane Crain, Unified Alliance banked $82,500 in victory while improving her record to 3-2-1 from seven starts. She returned $7.50 for a $2 win bet as the 5-2 third choice.

Video: Coronation Cup S. (BT)

This press release has been edited for content and style by BloodHorse Staff.

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