April 15, 2024

Covfefe flirts with track record in Dogwood warm-up for Breeders’ Cup

Covfefe and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan romp in the Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs on Saturday, September 21, 2019 (c) Coady Photography/Churchill Downs

LNJ Foxwoods’ Covfefe breezed through her final prep for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) in Saturday’s $125,000 Dogwood S. at Churchill Downs. By far the class of the field, the 1-5 favorite used Take Charge Angel as her lead horse, then drew off in near track-record time.

“She’s definitely the most talented horse LNJ has ever owned,” Jaime Roth said of the family stable operated in partnership with parents Larry and Nanci. “She’s so special to us and such a talent. She’s just very special.”

“We all knew how talented she is,” trainer Brad Cox said, “but to just simply dominate the race as she did today was awesome. She was going fast the entire way around there and just kept on going. She’s very special. On to the Breeders’ Cup.”

Breaking from the outside post 6 with Shaun Bridgmohan, Covfefe kindly let Take Charge Angel go on the inside through an opening quarter in :22.49 on the fast track. The favorite crept closer at the half in :44.95, put her blaze face in front leaving the far turn, and left her rivals standing. Covfefe opened up by 3 1/2 lengths in midstretch, clocking six furlongs in 1:08.32, and widened the margin to eight lengths at the wire.

By speeding seven furlongs – the distance of the Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita – in 1:20.51, Covfefe came just .07 off the track record set by two-time champion female sprinter Groupie Doll in the 2012 Humana Distaff (G1). She obliterated the stakes record of 1:23.02 hitherto owned by Super Majesty, ironically LNJ Foxwoods’ first graded winner.

Underscoring the power of Covfefe’s performance, runner-up Bell’s the One rallied from further off the pace to rank as best of the rest by daylight.

“We ran our race,” trainer Neil Pessin said of Bell’s the One, “but all credit goes to the winner for almost breaking the track record and winning as impressive as she did.”

Free Cover held third from Istan Council, while Take Charge Angel retreated to fifth and a lackluster Champagne Anyone never fired.

Covfefe sports a mark of 7-5-0-1 with $560,025 in earnings. The Into Mischief filly stamped herself a potential star when wiring her career debut beneath the Twin Spires by 9 1/4 lengths last September. Stretching out to a mile for the Frizette (G1) didn’t pan out as she tired to fourth, but she’s developed into a sprinting machine this season.

Covfefe moved forward from a winning comeback at Keeneland, where she beat Take Charge Angel, to dominate the Miss Preakness (G3) in a Pimlico track-record of 1:07.70 for six furlongs. She most recently added a Grade 1 laurel in the historic Test S. (G1) at Saratoga, besting Serengeti Empress.

In between came Covfefe’s lone loss of 2019, a third in the June 22 Roxelana at Churchill, which also happens to be her only try versus older distaffers. There was no disgrace in being outdueled by Mia Mischief, herself coming off a victory in the Humana Distaff, but could that be a harbinger of her Breeders’ Cup chances?

Aside from Covfefe’s possible physical strengthening since June, she’s also picked up tactical smarts. The Test represented an evolution to a tracking style, and she took the same page from the playbook here.

Bridgmohan, who’s ridden Covfefe in all three Churchill starts in addition to her morning works, commented on her growing maturity.

“The way she’s developed since she was young is what impresses me the most,” Bridgmohan said. “I’ve worked her since she was a two-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.”