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Coil goes out a winner in San Pasqual

In his final career start, Coil (outside) got the best of Ultimate Eagle (Benoit Photos)

Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman's Coil was already scheduled to enter stud duty at Magali Farms near Santa Ynez, California, prior to Saturday's Grade 2, $150,250 San Pasqual, but the five-year-old refused to retire without adding one more win to his already impressive resume. With jockey Martin Garcia aboard, the chestnut son of Point Given battled with pacesetter Ultimate Eagle in the lane to prevail by a head as the 6-5 favorite.

Ultimate Eagle was making just his second start in the San Pasqual off a break and immediately jumped to his favored leading position when the gates opened. Martin Pedroza allowed the Mizzen Mast five-year-old to float Coil wide through the first turn before settling down in splits of :23 2/5, :47 3/5 and 1:11 1/5. Coil, meanwhile, was patiently tracking in second while John Scott bided his time in third down on the rail.

Ultimate Eagle attempted to shake loose from Coil rounding the turn, but the Bob Baffert trainee refused to go away. Coil ground his way up to run in tandem with Ultimate Eagle in late stretch and just got in front to hit the wire first in a final time of 1:42 2/5 for 1 1/16 miles over the fast Santa Anita dirt.

"I had a really good horse inside of me (Ultimate Eagle), and I just tried to follow the way he was going," Garcia said. "When I asked (Coil) to go, he just responded, and that was it. He has been a really good horse for a long time."

"He's got so much heart. That was all Coil," Baffert remarked.

Coil paid $5.60, $3 and $2.20 for his swan song triumph. It was another 6 1/4 lengths behind Ultimate Eagle to John Scott, who just had a head to spare on Tres Borrachos. Bank the Eight came next while Jaycito was eased under the wire. Hoorayforhollywood, Key Decision and Golden Itiz were all withdrawn.

"The race went very well but it's hard when you have three Bafferts -- one chasing you and the other two setting it up for the other one," Pedroza noted. "He ran very well though -- second race off the layoff, I couldn't ask for more. He feels really good, he can only get better."

"He ran his race, he just got beat by a better horse today," said Ultimate Eagle's trainer, Mike Pender. "This was going to be nice prep for some other spots, the (Grade 1) Big 'Cap.

"He came out of it great today, he wasn't breathing (hard), couldn't blow out a match. But I know him, he's a big 1,200 pound animal and he definitely needed this race, it was his second race off the layoff and now we've got him set."

Coil broke his maiden in his second career outing in November 2011, then put together a winning effort for his belated three-year-old debut, taking a six-furlong allowance/optional claiming race at Hollywood nearly six months later. He posted a length win next out in his stakes debut, the Grade 3 Affirmed at 1 1/16 miles, before just missing by a head in the Grade 2 Swaps.

The versatile colt then captured his first really big score, gutting out a neck triumph in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, but made only two more appearances last season, recording a subpar 10th in the Grade 1 Travers before a third in the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes. Coil didn't reappear in 2012 until July 26 and wouldn't stretch out beyond seven furlongs until a third in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile last out on November 24.

His other four starts last season saw the horse take a seven-furlong optional claimer, run second in the seven-furlong Grade 2 Pat O'Brien, conquer the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship while going six furlongs and suffer his only off-the-board run of the year when seventh in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at that same distance.

"He's had some issues that I just didn't want to run him this year," Baffert explained. "I'd have to run him sparingly. In the Breeders' Cup, I should have run him in the (Dirt) Mile (instead of the Sprint) so it was sort of a waste of a race there. I ran him in the Cigar Mile and he ran a good race, but two turns is his game.

"He won Grade 1s short and long and he's by Point Given, and he's one of my favorite horses, so it's good that he's (standing in stud) here (in California). I think he deserves to be retired. He's good; he's very healthy right now, but it was time to send him to stud."

With Saturday's $90,000 payday, Coil will head to the breeding shed having banked $1,154,360 from a 14-7-2-3 career line.

Bred in Florida by Glen Hill Farm, Coil is the second registered foal from the winning Theatrical mare Eversmile, a half-sister to Possibly Perfect, the champion turf mare of 1995 who captured six Grade 1 races and earned more than $1.3 million. Possibly Perfect is herself the dam of Grade 3 winner Promontory Gold. Eversmile is also a half-sister to English Group 3 victor Makhlab.

Coil's third maternal dam is Grade 2 heroine Sandy Blue, and he hails from the female family of French Group 1 hero Miserden and Grade 1-winning millionaire Eddington.

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