Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Thank You Marylou commenced a winning move on the turn for home, grabbed the lead at the quarter pole and widened her advantage down the stretch to easily win Saturday’s 39th running of the $112,000 Dogwood (Grade III) at Churchill Downs by 6 ½ lengths over Henny Jenny. Fiftyshadesofgold, the Eight Belles (GIII) winner who was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies, struggled while racing down on the inside and faded to fifth.
Trained by Mike Maker and ridden for the first time by Miguel Mena, Thank You Marylou covered the seven furlongs on a fast main track in 1:23.19 and paid $11.80, $6 and $6.80 as the 9-2 third betting choice. Henny Jenny, a 24-1 outsider with Leandro Goncalves up, returned $17.40 and $17.40. Milam, the 7-2 second choice, was another half-length back in third under Corey Lanerie and paid $6.40.
Bird Maker, Fiftyshadesofgold, Mizzen Mast, Enjoy the Family and Platinum Lady completed the order of finish. Honey’s Ryan and Kiss to Remember were scratched.
Mizzen Mast was rushed to the lead from the outside stall with Platinum Lady, Fiftyshadeofgold and Enjoy the Family in close pursuit. Thank You Marylou, who added blinkers for the race, relaxed nicely in the clear behind the quartet through fractions of :22.83 and :45.79 before drawing even with Mizzen Mast at the head of the stretch. After grabbing the lead in 1:10.30 without much urging, Mena shook the reins with an eighth of a mile to run and Thank You Marylou responded with authority.
"I had a perfect trip on the outside and I called on her a little bit turning for home and she went pretty easy,” Mena said. “I had never been on her before but my guess is the blinkers made a big difference. She ran great.”
The victory was worth $67,357 for the Ramseys, who collected their record-extending 396th victory at Churchill Downs.
Thank You Marylou, who won the $75,000 Any Limit at Gulfstream Park in March and finished third in the $500,000 Ashland (GI) at Keeneland in April, won for the third time in eight career starts. Overall, she was banked $275,457.
Bred in Virginia by Mr. and Mrs. C.W. McNeeley III, Thank You Marylou is a daughter of Birdstone out of the Menifee mare Menifeeque.
MIGUEL MENA, jockey of Thank You Marylou (winner) – “They put blinkers on her for a reason I guess, because from the get-go she took me in a perfect position. I had a perfect trip on the outside and I called on her a little bit turning for home and she went pretty easy. I had never been on her before but my guess is the blinkers made a big difference. She ran great.”
MIKE MAKER trainer of Thank You Marylou (winner) – “That was perfect. She prefers an outside post position. So she put herself in a good spot and she really ran the way we’ve been thinking she could run for a while. It’s hard to say the impact of the blinkers. She had the inside post last time out and she only got beat a couple lengths, but she was pretty intimidated. So I’m not sure if the blinkers did a whole lot for her here being on the outside.”
Q: On the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint being run at the same distance – “I’m aware.”
Q: On if he could talk owner Ken Ramsey into going to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint – “I don’t think I’d have to twist his arm too hard; you never know.”
BILL CONNELLY, trainer of Henny Jenny (runner-up) – “I thought she’d run good. I didn’t know if she was good enough, but I knew she was ready to run a good race. She only ran on the dirt one time, and that was at Penn National on kind of a muddy track. She went to the lead, and that’s not her style. She’s a come-from-behind sprinter and she’s become a pretty good filly.”
LEANDRO GONCALVES, rider of Henny Jenny (runner-up) – “She ran great. Billy (Connelly) just told me there was a lot of speed in the race and to just let her break and make one run. It worked out pretty good. The winner went fast and she was just not good enough to win.”
COREY LANERIE, rider of Milam (third) – “My filly broke good and I got her outside – she didn’t like the dirt (hitting her) too much. I was a little wide, but I was only one path outside the winner. She ran a winning race. She hadn’t run in a while, so I think she moves up a little bit.”
IAN WILKES, trainer of Bird Maker (fourth) – “She ran a good fourth. If she had run second or third it would have been good, but the winner ran a big race.”
Q: She made a nice move on the turn. Did you think at any point she might get the win? “She ran good, but she just flattened a little bit down the lane. That’s my job to figure that out and improve her there.”
SHAUN BRIDGMOHAN, rider of Bird Maker (fourth) – “She was trying. She tried the whole way for me. You can’t ask for much more. The winner ran a good race and mine kept trying”
ROBBY ALBARADO, rider of favored Fiftyshadesofgold (fifth) – “She kind of got bottled up in there and she wasn’t real comfortable there, but she didn’t have any option to get her out at any point. She just kind of stayed in there and didn’t give any effort.”