Klein’s Pinch Hit Delivers ‘Special’ Dogwood Stakes Victory

Richard Klein’s Pinch Hit rallied to grab the lead in mid-stretch and held off a late surge by Champagne Problems to win Saturday night’s 42nd running of the $100,000 Dogwood Stakes Presented by GE Appliances (Listed) at Churchill Downs by a neck.

Pinch Hit, the 5-1 third-betting choice in the field of nine 3-year-old fillies, relaxed nicely in sixth under jockey Jon Court as No More Babies set a swift opening quarter mile in :22.56 with Student Body and Covenant in close pursuit. After a half mile in :45.80, Pinch Hit rolled five-wide on the turn and was closing fast on the leaders at the head of the stretch before she took command with an eighth of a mile to run. Champagne Problems, who raced near the rear early on at odds of 13-1, stayed along the inside rail under Calvin Borel and just missed catching Pinch Hit, who held her off in the final stages.

“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.”

Farrell, the three-time Grade II winner who made her first start since a 14th-place finish at odds of 4-1 in the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I), chased the pace early on and faded in the stretch to disappoint as the 2-1 favorite.

Pinch Hit ran seven furlongs over a fast track in 1:23.27 for trainer Brad Cox.

“She had been training so well into this race,” Cox said. “She definitely loves it here at Churchill Downs.”

Pinch Hit returned $12.20, $7.20 and $4.60 to her backers. Champagne Problems, paid $12.80 and $6.40. Jordan’s Henny, ridden by Corey Lanerie, was another 3 ½ lengths back in third and returned $5.

Covenant, Farrell, Nineteenth Street, No More Babies, Student Body and My Sweet Stella completed the order of finish. Tequilita, Too Much Tip, Cara Blythe, Minnie Blip and Perfect Wife were scratched.

The victory was worth $59,520 and boosted Pinch Hit’s earnings to $146,450.

Pinch Hit has won four of nine starts but this was her first stakes win. In her prior start, she finished fourth in the $100,000 Groupie Doll (GIII) on Aug. 13 at Ellis Park.

“In the Groupie Doll she got herself into a hot pace but she sat a much better trip tonight,” Cox said. “I know this is a special horse for Richard so I’m glad we were able to get her a stakes win tonight.”

Bred in Kentucky, Pinch Hit is a 3-year-old daughter of Harlan’s Holiday out of Klein’s Distorted Humor mare Change Up.

“This horse is so special to me,” Klein said. “My father (Bert) bred this horse and she broke her maiden the day before he passed away earlier this year. Then, she won on my birthday and again on my (late) mom (Elaine)’s birthday. I think there are angels watching over her. To win a race like this, it is more special than I can really explain.”

The post Klein’s Pinch Hit Delivers ‘Special’ Dogwood Stakes Victory appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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