coletti experiencing the year of a lifetime

By Dick Jerardi

Ed Coletti, Jr., has had some very good years training racehorses. This year is going to be his best.

He is closing fast on his first year with $1 million in purse earnings. And on July 8, Dixie Serenade, a Pennsylvania-Bred filly based at Parx Racing, came from out of the clouds at Belmont Park to win the Grade III Victory Ride Stakes at 47-1. It was Coletti’s first graded stakes win.

“It was amazing, such a high,” Coletti said. “You feel like you accomplished something.”

Parx jockey Mychel Sanchez brought Dixie Serenade from last to win the race by a neck. The Victory Ride was an all-in-the-family win. Dixie Serenade’s sire, Uptowncharlybrown, stands at Diamond B Farm north of Reading. The three-year-old filly is owned by the Uptowncharlybrown Stud LLC, a partnership managed by Bob Hutt.

If she recovers well enough from her taxing effort in the Victory Ride, Dixie Serenade will be pointed for the Grade I Test Stakes on Aug. 4 at Saratoga, America’s premier sprint race for three-year-old fillies.

After Dixie Serenade’s win, Coletti was 20-for-85 in 2018 with $774,438 in purse earnings. His stable was 27-for-115 in 2017 with $844,874 in earnings. In all, Coletti has won 461 races with $10.6 million in purses.

“We’ve got a bunch of young horses, overturned maidens, got conditions,” Coletti said in explaining the stable’s recent success. “Since they started breeding Uptowncharlybrown, we’re just getting more and more mares and more action.”

The late Alan Seewald trained Uptowncharlybrown, who was on the Triple Crown trail in 2010 after winning the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and finishing third in the Coolmore Lexington at Keeneland. Sadly, Seewald passed away that year and the decision was made to send the colt to Kiaran McLaughlin’s barn in New York. Uptowncharlybrown ran fifth in the Belmont Stakes, beaten just three lengths by winner Drosselmeyer.

But Uptowncharlybrown was disqualified back to 12th in the Belmont after it was determined that he did not carry the correct weight when a lead weight fell out during the race. Ownership group Fantasy Lane Stable – now rebranded as Uptowncharlybrown Stud LLC – appealed, but did not win the judgement. Unfortunately, Uptowncharlybrown suffered a bowed tendon that was discovered shortly after the Belmont, and was then off for more than year. The horse was not quite the same after the layoff and was retired to stud.

Horses are the family business for the Colettis. Ed’s father and grandfather also were trainers. Ed, Sr., who trained Uptowncharlybrown at the end of his career, won 379 races, including two Grade III stakes at Suffolk Downs. Ed, Jr., was always kind of destined to be in the horse business. He grew up around it and knew it from a very young age.

“I tried to get away,” Coletti, Jr., said. “I went to college for like a year and a half.”

Luckily that brief life detour didn’t last. Now, with 26 horses in the barn, including another highly accomplished three-year-old filly in Smokinpaddylassie, Coletti won’t be getting away anytime soon.

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