LNJ Foxwoods' Covfefe was drawn on the rail for Saturday's Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, but jockey Joel Rosario didn't let the post position affect his game plan. Instead of sending the 3-year-old daughter of Into Mischief hard from the gate, Rosario let her settle into stride before asking her to move up into third position, sliding out to the three-path with clear racing room at the five-eighths pole. From there, Covfefe had things her way and overwhelmed her rivals in the stretch, fending off a late run from Bellafina (9-2) to win by three-quarters of a length. Sent to post at odds of 3-2, the Brad Cox-trained filly ran seven furlongs over Santa Anita's fast main track in 1:22.40.
It was the second Breeders' Cup win on the weekend for trainer Cox, who won the Juvenile Fillies on Friday with British Idiom.
“She's a champion, hopefully,” said Cox. “I feel like championship honors were on the line for champion filly and mare sprinter. I hope she locked that up. Two Grade 1s; two very prestigious races. She overcame a lot today too. I know this race hasn't been around a long, long time but I think eight Test winners maybe have tried this and not been able to break through. One, two and three were all holes horses hadn't performed well from, 3-year-olds hadn't performed well in the race. The list went on of all these things which hadn't been done. But I didn't waiver. I thought there was no shot of her not running her race. I knew she was going to run her race. You just stay optimistic and know your horse is doing well and the rest will take care of itself.”
Danuska's My Girl and Heavenhasmynikki were the quickest out of the gate, racing off down the chute while chased by Spiced Perfection on the outside. Covfefe wasn't as quick into stride, but she moved up the inside through the first furlong and into third by the time the field joined up with the main track on the backstretch.
Rosario moved Covfefe off the rail into the three-path, maintaining clear racing room while Danuska's My Girl led through fractions of :22.13 and :44.78. Spiced Perfection was right alongside Covfefe, followed by Selcourt, Lady Ninja, Come Dancing, Bellafina, and Dawn the Destroyer trailed in the early stages.
“Coming out of the one hole, there were a couple horse that showed more speed out of there,” said Rosario. “I was able to work my way out and get her in the clear. After that, she did all the work.”
Rounding the far turn Covfefe ranged up alongside the leaders and easily pulled away into the stretch, dispatching a rally from Spiced Perfection. Bellafina came flying from the back of the field but was unable to run down the winner, cutting Covfefe's margin at the wire to three-quarters of a length.
“I think Flavien (Prat, jockey of Bellafina) didn't make the right move at a vital point,” said Bellafina's trainer Simon Callaghan. “I think if he goes outside (instead of inside on the backstretch), I think she wins. She ran great. It's disappointing.”
It was another 7 3/4 lengths back to Dawn the Destroyer in third, while Spiced Perfection held fourth.
The remaining order of finish was: Danuska's My Girl, Come Dancing, Selcourt, Lady Ninja, and Heavenhasmynikki was eased under the wire but walked off the track under her own power.
Regarding second choice Come Dancing, jockey Javier Castellano said: “I don't think she liked this track surface. I was in the perfect spot behind the leaders, and they were going fast. It was just like I handicapped it. But at the three-eighths pole when I asked her, there was nothing. She never got into the bridle. She is such a consistent filly, this just wasn't her.”
Bred in Kentucky by Alexander-Groves Thoroughbreds, Covfefe is out of the unraced Unbridled mare Antics, making her a half-sister to the Japanese-raced millionaire Albiano. The $250,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale won on debut but finished fourth when stretched out to two turns in the G1 Frizette. Cut back to sprint distances, Covfefe has thrived in 2019 with wins in the G3 Miss Preakness and G1 Test. Overall, the filly has won six of her eight lifetime starts for earnings of over $1.1 million.
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