Four Graces Proves Best In Dogwood At Churchill Downs In Stakes Debut

Whitham Thoroughbreds LLC’s 3-year-old homebred filly Four Graces, a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner McCraken, led every step of the way and turned back a challenge from Edgeway in the stretch to win Saturday’s 45th running of the $100,000 Dogwood (Grade 3) by 2 ½ lengths at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Ridden by Julien Leparoux and trained by Ian Wilkes, Four Graces ran seven furlongs over a fast track in 1:22.28, which was the second-fastest Dogwood in history, only behind eventual Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Covfefe’s 1:20.51 last September.

“She’s a very classy filly and takes after all of her siblings,” Leparoux said.

Four Graces, who made her stakes debut, banked $60,140 and 20 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. By sprinter stallion Majesticperfectionout of the productive Seeking the Gold mare Ivory Empress, Wilkes may opt to keep Four Graces around one turn and target a race like the $100,000 Beaumont (G3) over seven furlongs at Keeneland on July 10 (which also offers Top 4 points of 20-8-4-2 on the extended road to the Sept. 4 Kentucky Oaks).

“This entire family is extremely talented so it was very rewarding to get her a stakes win today,” Wilkes said.

Breaking from post position No. 2 in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies, Four Graces set a contested pace from the inside through fractions of :22.27 and :44.84. Early on, four others – Ain’t No Elmers, Magic Dance, Lady Glamour and Edgeway – pressed her down the backstretch. Off the turn, Four Graces widened her lead and repelled a challenge from 8-5 favorite Edgeway.

“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,” Wilkes said. “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 improved her record to three wins in four starts with total earnings of $134,450.

Sent off as the 2-1 second betting choice, Four Graces paid $6.60, $3.20 and $2.60. Edgeway, ridden by Tyler Baze, returned $3 and $2.80. Bayerness, with Florent Geroux up, was another 5 ¾ lengths back of the runner-up in third and paid $4.60 to show.

Lady Glamour, Ain’t No Elmers, Clivetty, Magic Dance and Naughty Dance completed the order of finish.

Kentucky Oaks leaderboard

The post Four Graces Proves Best In Dogwood At Churchill Downs In Stakes Debut appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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