Covfefe and Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress battled the length of the Saratoga Race Course stretch in a thrilling renewal of the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Test, but it was the former who bested her foe in notching her first Grade 1 victory in the seven-furlong event for sophomore fillies.
The LNJ Foxwoods-owned Into Mischief bay filly, who drew post 3, broke sharply under Joel Rosario, but Serengeti Empress was under heavy urging by jockey Jose Ortiz coming out of the gate and went to the lead while recording an opening quarter-mile in 22.19 seconds and a half-mile in 44.28 seconds on the fast main track.
Rosario urged Covfefe into gear around the far turn and she responded by moving up to even terms with Serengeti Empress. The two fillies separated themselves from the rest of the field and were nip and tuck in the final furlong. Covfefe had a narrow advantage while Serengeti Empress continued to dig down to her inside, but Covfefe would not be denied and scored by a half-length in 1:21.26 to Serengeti Empress, who was 8 ¾ lengths better than three-time Grade 1-winner Bellafina, who finished third.
Covfefe entered her Saratoga debut off of a hard-fought third-place effort against elders in the Roxelana at Churchill Downs, where she was three-quarters of a length behind Mia Mischief. She recorded a 107 Beyer Speed Figure in her prior start in the Grade 3 Miss Preakness at Pimlico, which she won by 8 ½ lengths.
Cox spoke volumes of the effort his filly put on display.
“It was up to Joel where he wanted her to be,” Cox continued. “They sent the filly [Serengeti Empress, No. 1] from the inside and it worked out well. We sat a good trip. I think if you were to ask our filly, she could probably be in front of that filly, but she’s a smart filly and was able to sit off. We had to get by a Kentucky Oaks winner. That’s a Grade 1 winning filly on the inside and now we have a Grade 1 winner. It was a big effort and I’m super proud of her. I’m very thankful for LNJ Foxwoods to give us an opportunity like this.”
Favored in all of her five prior efforts, Covfefe returned $8.50 for a $2 win wager as the third-choice. She banked $275,000 in victory and brought her lifetime earnings up to $483,300.
Bred in Kentucky by Alexander-Groves Thoroughbreds, Covfefe is out of the Unbridled broodmare Antics, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner and champion producing sire Arch as well as Grade 1 winner Acoma. Covfefe was consigned by Gainesway Farm and sold at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $250,000.
Gainesway was a leading yearling consignor in 2018 by GI victories, with 8 yearlings becoming Grade I winners, including Breeders’ Cup Distaff and 3-Year-Old Champion Filly Monomoy Girl, and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Jaywalk.