The $125,000 Dogwood Stakes will be run at seven furlongs for three-year-old fillies on the main track at Churchill Downs on Saturday. A field of six is expected to compete.
BELL’S THE ONE (#1) began her career with four straight wins with one coming on the synthetic track at Arlington Park, two on the dirt and one on the turf. She did nothing in the Ashland Stakes (G1) then was a distant second going this distance here on a sloppy track in the Eight Belles Stakes (G2). She was badly outrun in the Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park going a one-turn mile and now returns 105 days later. Twice, she has won off layoffs and seems to do better in these spots. Neil Pessin wins 15% off long layoffs and the daughter of Majesticperfections is working bullets for this.
TAKE CHARGE ANGEL (#2) broke her maiden by five lengths here a year ago going 6 1/2 furlongs as the 7-5 favorite in her well-bet career debut. She did nothing back here in a stakes race going a one-turn mile then was off for over five months. She came back in a key allowance race at Keeneland and was a game second behind the electric COVFEFE at level weights. The daughter of Will Take Charge did nothing in the Eight Belles but bounced back nicely with a good win here over two, next-out winners in fast time. She has good early speed and might try to break the race open early.
FREE COVER (#3) broke her maiden first time out here going six furlongs in fast time at 54-1. She took five starts to beat first-level allowance foes then was a good second going this distance on a sloppy track. Last out at Ellis Park, the daughter of Congrats relaxed beautifully and won going away by six lengths as the 4-5 favorite. She still needs to improve to have a chance in here but I like the fact that Bret Calhoun has not exposed her to stakes company until she used up her allowance conditions.
ISTAN COUNCIL (#4) was a good winner two starts back going from off the pace going seven furlongs on a sloppy track here then went to Ellis Park and dominated by 10 lengths when she gunned to the front and never looked back going a two-turn mile as the even-money favorite. She comes back here a month later and looks like a potent combination of speed and stamina for Larry Jones, who has excelled with sophomore fillies throughout his career.
CHAMPAGNE ANYONE (#5) won the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) back in March going two turns on the dirt when blinkers were added. She finished off the board in her last three starts against Grade 1 company going two turns and now turns back to a sprint while dropping down in class. Ian Wilkes wins 19% going long to short and 17% third start off the layoff. Regular rider Chris Landeros rides back.
COVFEFE (#6) is a speedball who broke her maiden by nine lengths as the odds-on favorite here going six furlongs 12 months ago. She was no match for the Frizette Stakes (G1) when she was bumped at the start and could not make the lead. Off for six months, she returned at Keeneland with a win over TAKE CHARGE ANGEL then won the Miss Preakness Stakes (G3) at Pimlico going six furlongs in outrageous time. She was bumped at the start again next out here in a similar stakes race and tired late but was sensational at Saratoga when she battled with Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Serengeti Empress down to the wire, prevailing by a half-length in good time. Her best race is better than any of these but she has to get away cleanly and make the lead.
Istan Council (#4)
Take Charge Angel (#2)
Free Cover (#3)
6 with 4
PHOTO: Istan Council (c) Coady Photography/Churchill Downs