Off at odds of 33-1 on the tote board, Spendthrift Farm's Cover Song was the surprise victor in Saturday's G3 Autumn Miss Stakes at Santa Anita, surviving both a steward's inquiry and a jockey objection to hold onto her nose-length of a win. The sophomore daughter of Fastnet Rock, ridden by Kent Desormeaux in his third win of the day, covered a mile over the firm turf in 1:33.73 for trainer Carla Gaines.
“I was watching the replay with Kent and let's just say that I thought the Stewards made the right decision,” said Gaines. “She's been training well but we did come close to scratching her and running her down the hill. I'm glad we decided to stay with our first choice of race.”
Cover Song may have been the quickest out of the starting gate, but she was quickly overtaken by the speedy Great Page and Belvoir Bay. Belvoir Bay stuck her head in front heading into the first turn, and scooted out to a two-length lead entering the backstretch to move over to the inside rail. Great Page tracked from second through a first quarter in :22.89 before moving closer to press the leader through a half in :45.83. While Lady Valeur helped set up the pace scenario from the third position, Cover Song was moving well in fourth up against the rail.
Into the turn, Great Page closed the gap to a half-length on Belvoir Bay, but the leader responded by opening the margin back up to 1 1/2 lengths. Lady Valeur moved up into second, a length off the lead, while the heavy favorite Danilovna began her rally three-wide. Into the stretch, Cover Song moved up along the rail, then angled out at the head of the lane alongside Danilovna. Those two exchanged bumps as they rallied toward the wire, passing Belvoir Bay in the last 100 yards, with Cover Song prevailing by a very game nose at the finish. Barleysugar was rolling late to gain third over Lady Valeur.
“She broke like a Quarter Horse,” Desormeaux said. “I was fearful that I was going be 20 in front, but she made the lead and then checked herself and got into a nice rhythm. She carried me around the track very, very well and even had a horse stop right in her face and I thought, ‘no, no she doesn't need this.' I re-directed and turning for home I was trying to pick a spot. I thought I had a line chosen and the horse on the outside (Danilovna) started pushing on us so I thought, ‘Ok. If you're going to initiate contact, I'm gonna hold my ground.'
“I ‘m not even sure I left my line. I'll have to watch the replay, but it became a horserace at that point. My filly ran her heart out. I could feel her turning it on. She would not lose.”
Bred in Kentucky by the Misty For Me Syndicate, Cover Song was a $450,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September Sale. The Autumn Miss is only her second career win, and her first graded stakes win, bringing the filly's career earnings to over $110,000 from eight starts.
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