Grade 1 victress Covfefe is the standout in Saturday’s $125,000 Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs. The seven-furlong feature on the opening Saturday of the fall meeting attracted just six sophomore fillies, and the morning-line choice looks like a formidable foe in the cast.

Trained by Brad Cox, the twice-beaten daughter of Into Mischief has put in two of the better one-turn races of the season for sprinting fillies, and her best performance will make her nearly unbeatable in the Dogwood Stakes. 

SCULLY: Race Preview - Covfefe faces five in Dogwood

The Kentucky-bred bay owns sharp gate presence and received a dream post draw outside of the compact field. Covfefe broke her maiden by 9 ¼ lengths at Churchill Downs last campaign and she comes into this assignment off of a pair of bullet morning drills on the surface. In addition, her recent Test victory came at today’s seven-furlong distance.

Turning a healthy profit on a short-priced favorite is no easy task, but I do like a pair of price runners that I feel will compete for runner-up honors.

Istan Council is coming on well for conditioner Larry Jones with four straight top-two finishes. The peaking daughter of Istan has a fine turn of foot, but she showed a new dimension last time out at Ellis Park when leading at every call in a 10-length allowance stroll.

Brereton Jones’ homebred went last-to-first in an allowance tally on this oval two prior and heads into the Dogwood with a pair of bullet morning moves in the interim. Chantal Suherland retains the mount atop the in-form bay lass.

The Neil Pessin-trained Bell’s The One also intrigues me at a solid number. A winner in her initial four lifetime assignments, the daughter of Majesticperfection has failed to break through the graded stakes ranks in three straight but lands in a nice spot to put her best foot forward today.

Bell’s The One is a two-time stakes victress who rallied for a clear second-place result in the Eight Belles Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs two races back. The bay filly sports a 4-3-1-0 in sprint races and she will save all the ground from the rail on Saturday. Corey Lanerie sticks with the late-running exotics contender.

An exacta playing Covfefe on top of Istan Council and Bell’s The One is the Free Pick of the Week.

Wager:

$10 Exacta 6 with 1,4 = $20

Divine Queen wins the 2018 Dogwood Stakes - Coady Photo/Churchill Downs