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Cogburn Upsets Caravel in Troy

Heading into the $300,000 Troy Stakes (G3T), there were few who would bet against Caravel , the prohibitive favorite for the 5 1/2-furlong grass contest Aug. 5. 

But a relative newcomer to the grass had different plans Saturday on the Mellon Turf Course at Saratoga Race Course. Cogburn  took the lead 70 yards from the wire to capture the contest for older horses, defeating runner-up Nobals , show finisher Thin White Duke  and fourth-place Caravel.

It was just Cogburn’s third race on turf after eight previous runs on dirt. He is now perfect in a trio of starts on the lawn.

“I think obviously he has excelled on the turf, being undefeated, and gave me a great feel today,” Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen said. “We put him on the turf honestly because he wasn’t performing as well as he trained on the dirt. He would run solid, but not as special as he seemed training.”

Caravel came in the 1-2 favorite for a reason. The daughter of Mizzen Mast  has rarely lost over the last two years, with an 8-0-0 mark from 11 starts over that time period coming into the Troy, including a win in the Jaipur Stakes (G1T) last time out and one last fall in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1T). 

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Entering the race, there was a sense of fait accompli—the race itself was just a necessary protocol. But the heavy rains that forced the cancellation of most of the previous day’s card may have had a hand in taking Caravel out of her game. 

Her trademark early speed flashed briefly at first, but she fell behind and struggled to keep pace with the leaders over the soft going. 

“It was (the yielding turf),” said her trainer, Brad Cox. “She’s never traveled like that in her life. We’ll regroup. I don’t know where we’ll go from here.”

Jockey Tyler Gaffalione said early pressure from the speed Nobals did not help matters.

“She didn’t handle it at all,” he said. “She was struggling from the get-go. She always breaks fast, but we were having a little pressure from the outside and he was pushing us down inside and it just kept getting deeper the further in we went. She was all spread out the first half and just never got a chance to get under herself and even when she did, she just couldn’t get a hold of anything.”

After wins in the Chamberlain Bridge Stakes and Grand Prairie Turf Sprint Stakes, both at Lone Star Park, getting a graded stakes victory opens up possibilities for Cogburn. 

Asmussen said he’s “thinking big” with what lies ahead for the 4-year-old son of Not This Time  

“Hopefully. We had one Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner in the past (Regally Ready  in 2021). Hopefully we have another one,” he said.

Cogburn paid $17 on a $2 win ticket. Nobals and Thin White Duke  finished second and third. He was timed in 1:03.70 under Ricardo Santana Jr.

Bred in Kentucky by Bellary Bloodstock out of the stakes-winning Saintly Look mare In a Jif , Cogburn is owned by Clark Brewster and William and Corinne Heiligbrodt. Brewster purchased the colt at the 2021 Ocala Breeders’ Sale Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training for $150,000 out of the Pick View consignment.

The mare has four foals, three of which have started. All three have won. 

Not This Time stood the 2023 breeding season at Taylor Made Stallions in Central Kentucky for $135,000.

Video: Troy S. (G3T)

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