Grade I Test winner Covfefe easily dismissed five rivals Saturday in the 44th running of the $125,000 Dogwood (Listed) at Churchill Downs as the speedy 3-year-old filly rolled to an eight-length win over Bell's the One in a stakes record 1:20.51.
Covfefe, owned by Larry, Nanci and Jaime Roth's LNJ Foxwoods, just missed champion Groupie Doll's 2012 track record of 1:20.44 for seven furlongs by .07. Shaun Bridgmohan rode the winner for trainer Brad Cox.
“She's definitely the most talented horse LNJ has ever owned,” Jaime Roth said. “She's so special to us and such a talent. She's just very special.”
Take Charge Angel was tardy leaving the gate but quickly took over to set the pace with Covfefe tracking in the clear from the outside. After a first quarter-mile in :22.49 and a half-mile in :44.95, Covfefe poked her head in front while leaving the far turn and ascended to the front. Inside the final three-sixteenths of a mile, she was in a different class and widened the margin with overwhelming authority.
The previous Dogwood stakes record was held by LNJ Foxwoods' 2015 winner Super Majesty, who stopped the teletimer in 1:23.02 – :02.51 slower than Covfefe's clocking.
Next up for Covfefe is the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (GI) over seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
“We all knew how talented she is but to just simply dominate the race as she did today was awesome,” said Cox, who also won the 2017 Dogwood with Pinch Hit. “She was going fast the entire way around there and just kept on going. She's very special. On to the Breeders' Cup.”
Bell's the One was a decisive enough “winner” of the separate race for second, 2 ¼ lengths clear of third-place finisher Free Cover. It was another length back to Istan Council, who was followed by Take Charge Angel and Champagne Anyone.
“We ran our race but all credit goes to the winner for almost breaking the track record and winning as impressive as she did,” said Bell's the One's trainer Neil Pessin.
Sent off as the odds-on 1-5 favorite, Covfefe paid $2.40, $2.20 and $2.10. Bell's the One, ridden by Corey Lanerie, returned $4.60 and $3.60. Free Cover, with Robby Albarado up, paid $4.
The $76,725 first prize jumped Covfefe's earnings to $560,025 from a record of 7-5-0-1.
“The way she's developed since she was young is what impresses me the most,” said Bridgmohan, who won the Dogwood twice before with Miss Matched (2005) and Hightap (2009). “I've worked her since she was a 2-year-old and she's developed into a very special filly. What is most spectacular about her is how smart she has become. She is able to sit off the pace even with her natural speed. It's a lot of fun being the passenger on one like this.”
The Dogwood was Covfefe's first start since defeating Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner Serengeti Empress in the $500,000 Test over seven furlongs at Saratoga on Aug. 3.
Covfefe is a daughter of Into Mischief out of the Unbridled mare Antics and was bred in Kentucky by Alexander-Groves Thoroughbreds. She was purchased for $250,000 at Keeneland's 2017 September Yearling Sale.
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