SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – LNJ Foxwoods’ Covfefe bounced back sharply from her first 2019 defeat to successfully outduel a very game Serengeti Empress in the stretch and win Saturday’s $500,000 Longines Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.
Breaking cleanly from post 3 under Joel Rosario at 3/1 odds, Covfefe forced the rail-breaking Serengeti Empress to hustle hard for the lead. Covfefe trailed just a length off of her through early fractions of :22.19 and :44.28, then went after the pacesetter as they rounded the far turn.
Set down for the drive, the two fillies fought nose to nose the length of the stretch. Serengeti Empress dug deep and refused to yield, but Covfefe had just a little bit too much left at the end. The Brad Cox trainee hit the wire a 1/2-length in front in a final time of 1:21.26 for the 7-furlong sprint over the fast main track.
“She was there for me the whole time,” Rosario said. “She galloped better and better going forward and that was a tremendous race. I know turning for home, I had the 1 on the inside, and at one point, she came back a little and was there all the time. It turned out to be a good race at the end.”
Running too good to lose, Serengeti Empress was 8 3/4 lengths clear of the 2/1 favorite Bellafina, who never seemed to find the footing necessary to advance from mid-pack. It was another 5 3/4 lengths back to Trenchtown Cat, who took fourth over Jeltrin by a 1/2-length. Royal Charlotte and Please Flatter Me completed the order of finish.
Covfefe’s win was her first at the Grade 1 level and her second stakes score overall, having broken the Pimlico track record while dominating the Miss Preakness Stakes (G3) in May. The 3-year-old daughter of Into Mischief now sports a record of 6-4-0-1 with $483,300 earned.
“Her last two works at Churchill were phenomenal,” Cox said. “I knew when we turned for home, we were going to get as good a Covfefe as we could get at this point of the year. I knew when she turned for home, she wasn’t going to give in today. If she was ever going to get 7/8 (of a mile), it was going to be today. She responded well and Joel gave her an excellent trip. To get a Grade 1 with her is huge. It was a super effort.”
Covfefe returned $8.50 to win, $5.10 to place, and $3.30 to show. Serengeti Empress brought back $5.50 to place and $3.30 to show, while Bellafina paid $2.80 to show.