Game Coast Line Nips Offlee Wild in Stakes Debut

(from Laurel Park report)
In his first try against stakes company, Overbrook Farm's even-money favorite Coast Line held off graded stakes winner Offlee Wild by a neck for his fifth win in a row in the $125,000 John B. Campbell Breeders' Cup Handicap at Laurel Park Saturday.

The Todd Pletcher trainee shot to the lead in the 1-1/8 mile test under jockey John Velazquez and dueled down the stretch with Offlee Wild, who drew even coming out of the far turn with jockey Edgar Prado in the irons.

They battled head-to-head for the next furlong, but then Coast Line resurged to take the lead in the closing strides, winning in 1:50.09 for the 1 1/18 miles over a fast main track.

Ole Faunty, last year's Campbell winner, tracked the top two throughout but could never gain on them and finished third, 7-1/4 lengths behind.

Coast Line, a 4-year-old Boston Harbor gelding returned $4, $2.40 and $2.20. The favorite exacta paid $9, with Offlee Wild returning $2.60 and $2.10 in his first start in more than seven months. Ole Faunty ($2.40) was also coming off a layoff of more than seven months.

"He was really gusty today," Velazquez said. "He was really determined to win."

"I didn't want to go too fast early" said Prado. "I'm proud of this horse running so well off the long layoff. He came back and gave it a good try. From the five-sixteenths pole to the wire we were moving along pretty good."

Coastline pumped his earnings up to $173,900 for his fifth lifetime win in six starts. Coastline has won five straight since missing 16 months following a fourth-place finish in his maiden debut at Saratoga July 30, 2003.

(Chart, Equibase)