Coffeewithchris started the stakes action on the rescheduled Christmastide program at Laurel Park on Friday, Dec. 30 with a 16-1 upset win in the Heft Stakes for 2-year-olds.
The card was originally scheduled for Monday, Dec. 26, but was moved due to bitterly cold temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic over the prior few days. Coffeewithchris, who hadn’t won since breaking his maiden at Pimlico in May, was one of the longshots in the six-horse Heft field. He broke alertly from the outside post and was sent straight to the lead by Jaime Rodriguez, but quickly encountered a challenge from New York shipper Full Moon Madness from the inside. Not wanting to get into an exhausting duel, Rodriguez backed Coffeewithchris off the lead a little bit, letting Full Moon Madness get a slight lead while applying pressure on the outside. The two raced through a first quarter in :22.71 and the half in :46.24.
As they rounded the far turn, Coffeewithchris moved to engage the leader and the two raced heads apart, while odds-on favorite Prince of Jericho was ready to pounce.
Entering the stretch, Coffeewithchris dismissed Full Moon Madness and struck the front. Although Prince of Jericho had looked menacing, he proved unable to get by, and Coffeewithchris was never in serious danger of losing the lead in the last eighth. He hit the wire two and a half lengths in front while running seven furlongs in 1:24.96.
Coffeewithchris improved his career record to 2-1-2 from eight starts, for earnings of $121,850. He’s trained by John Salzman Jr., who co-owns him with Fred Wasserloos and Anthony Geruso.
Bred by Thomas Rooney at his family’s Shamrock Farm, Coffeewithchris sold for $2,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearling Sale in 2021. After breaking his maiden in his second career start, he picked up a stakes placing when third in the Maryland Juvenile Championship Stakes at Laurel in early December. The Heft marked his fourth appearance in stakes company.
A son of Preakness Stakes-G1 runnerup Ride On Curlin, Coffeewithchris is out of Andiemac (by Outflanker), a fifth-generation homebred mare, all winners, for the Rooney family. Coffeewithchris is the lone winner to date from two starters for Andiemac. The 10-year-old mare has an unnamed yearling colt by Paynter and was bred to Galawi (Ire) for this year.