LOUISVILLE, KY – Klein Racing’s homebred Pinch Hit rallied to the lead in the final furlong and then dug deep to hold off a late challenge from Champagne Problems to win Saturday’s $100,000 Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Unhurried out of the inside post under Jon Court, Pinch Hit watched as No More Babies set early fractions of :22.56 and :45.80. Fanning into the five path in the far turn, Pinch Hit rallied into the lane, splitting horses as she made her way to the front. Inching clear near the 1/8 pole, Pinch Hit held off a late bid from Champagne Room to nail the wire first by a neck in a final time of 1:23.27 for the 7-furlong main track event.
“She was definitely on her game tonight,” Court said. “We sat a really good trip behind the speed and she responded perfectly when I asked her. I was very impressed with her effort.”
Jordan’s Henny made an initial bid in the stretch but hung midway through the run and took third, 4 1/4 lengths ahead of Covenant. Farrell, Nineteenth Street, No More Babies, Student Body, and My Sweet Stella completed the order of finish. Cara Blythe, Minnie Blip, Perfect Wife, Too Much Tip, and Tequilita were all scratched (Tequilita was also entered in – and won – Saturday’s Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks).
The win was Pinch Hit’s first in two starts against stakes company after finishing fourth last out in the Grade 3 Groupie Doll at Ellis Park on August 13. The Brad Cox-trained daughter of Harlan’s Holiday increased her career earnings to $158,050 with a record of 9-4-2-0.
“She has been training so well into this race. She definitely loves it here at Churchill Downs,” Cox said. “In the Groupie Doll she got herself into a hot pace but she sat a much better trip tonight. I know this is a special horse for Richard (Klein) so I’m glad we were able to get her a stakes win tonight.”
Pinch Hit returned $12.20 to win, $7.20 to place, and $4.60 to show. Champagne Problems brought back $12.80 to place and $6.40 to show, while Jordan’s Henny paid $5 to show.