E.P. Taylor Stakes
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Jockey Joel Rosario celebrates after Covfefe's Filly and Mare Sprint victory.
The first championship race on Saturday was the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1), featuring a field of 9 older fillies and mares sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. Miss Preakness (G3) and Test (G1) winner Covfefe was sent off as the 3-2 favorite off her win in the Dogwood at Keeneland. In to challenge her included 2-1 second choice Come Dancing, winner of the Ballerina (G1) and Gallant Bloom (G2), and 9-2 third choice Bellafina, winless since the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and 4th in the Cotillion (G1) last out.
Covfefe draws off in the stretch.
Jockey Geovanni Franco sent 58-1 longest shot Danuska's My Girl to the front exiting the chute through fractions of 22.13 and 44.78 while pressed by 37-1 Heavenhasmynikki and stalked by Covfefe. Turning for home Covfefe took over the lead, opening up by 2 1/2 lengths through 3/4 in 1:09.58. Bellafina rallied late from 5th but Covfefe, confidently ridden by Joel Rosario, held her off to win by 3/4 length in 1:22.40. It was a long 7 3/4 lengths back to late running 22-1 Dawn the Destroyer third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 1 Covfefe Rosario 5.00 3.60 3.00 6 Bellafina Prat 5.00 3.60 8 Dawn the Destroyer Gaffalione 6.60 Winning Time: 1:22.40 $1 Exacta 1-6 10.40 $1 Trifecta 1-6-8 94.10 $1 Superfecta 1-6-8-9 343.80Results chart
Left: Covfefe in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Brad Cox said, "She's a champion, hopefully. 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."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Filly and Mare Sprint. Winning owner Jamie Roth said, "I think as most people know, I got into sport as a fan of Rachel Alexandra. So to have a horse that's now a Breeders' Cup champion that so many people love, and it just means the world to share a really special horse with fans. And for them to get to see the performance, especially in California, and a lot of people don't get to see her often because she's on the East Coast, it's pretty cool."
Left: Covfefe in the post parade. Winning jockey Joel Rosario said, "Coming out of the one hole, there were a couple horse that showed more speed out of there. I was able to work my way out and get her in the clear. After that, she did all the work."
Right: Covfefe heads back to the barn with her new winner's blanket. Cox added, "She is so push-button. Leading her last three races, trained her exactly the same way, leading in all three races. She was telling us the whole time she was ready, and just training so well. And her works are just fantastic."
Left: Second place finisher Bellafina heads out to the track. Trainer Simom Callaghan said, "I think Flavien didn't make the right move at a vital point. I think if he goes outside (instead of inside on the backstretch), I think she wins. She ran great. It's disappointing." Jockey Flavien Prat added, "The filly broke just OK and I got squeezed out of the break. I decided to drop in. From there she was traveling well. She made a good move, I thought, turning for home. I thought I was going to catch him, but as soon as the winner saw me she re-engaged."
Right: Third place finisher Dawn the Destroyer returns after the race. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione said, "It was a great effort by the filly today. She settled nicely. She put in a good run. The speed just got away from her." Roger Horgan, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin added, "She ran fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. Those are two fabulous fillies who ran one-two. She was the best of the rest. We're proud of her."
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