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LOUISVILLE, KY – Whitham Thoroughbreds homebred Four Graces went all the way around on the lead to score a big W in Saturday’s $100,000 Dogwood Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs.
Breaking from post 2 under Julien Leparoux as the 2/1 second choice on the tote, Four Graces went straight to the front but faced immediate pressure from Ain’t No Elmers, Magic Dance, Lady Glamour, and Edgeway. Leading the five-wide wall down the backstretch, Four Graces posted narrowly-controlled fractions of :22.27 and :44.84 heading into the far turn.
Despite running outside of four foes, Edgeway powered her way forward through the corner and straightened for home eye to eye with Four Graces, but Leparoux had much more left in the tank. Repelling the 8/5 favorite’s bid, Four Graces widened the gap with every step before crossing 2 1/2 lengths clear.
The Ian Wilkes trainee completed the 7-furlong fast dirt sprint in 1:22.28, the race’s second-fastest time ever recorded behind Covfefe, who eventually won the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1).
“She sat back a little bit in the gate right before it sprung, so she came out of there a little late,” Leparoux said. “She moved real comfortably throughout the race, and at the head of the lane, when I asked her for her best run, she responded right away. She’s a very classy filly.”
Edgeway’s failed bid was still good enough to keep her 5 3/4 lengths clear of Bayerness, who finished third by that same distance over Lady Glamour. Ain’t No Elmers was a 1/2-length back in fifth, while behind her came Clivetty, Magic Dance, and Naughty Thoughts to complete the order of finish.
The Dogwood is part of the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Four Graces earned 20 points for the win, with Edgeway receiving 8 for second, Bayerness 4 for third, and Lady Glamour 2 for fourth.
Four Graces’ win was her second straight and improved her overall record to 4-3-0-0, with her lone defeat coming in her second career start. The 3-year-old Majesticperfection filly increased her bankroll to $134,450 and is out of the mare Ivory Empress, which makes her a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner McCraken and multiple graded stakes placed Bondurant.
“This entire family is extremely talented, so it was very rewarding to get her a stakes win today,” Wilkes said. “I thought she was going to have to go faster to get the lead but it ended up working out for us with the early pace scenario. We had no other choice but to show speed because of her post on the inside. I felt really confident when she came off the turn and Julien started asking her to run and she put away (Edgeway) on her outside. There were some very nice fillies in this race that she beat.”
Four Graces returned $6.60 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.60 to show. Edgeway brought back $3 to place and $2.80 to show, while Bayerness paid $4.60 to show.
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