July 16, 2024

Cogburn establishes new North American record in Jaipur romp

Cogburn winning the Jaipur (G1) at Saratoga (Photo by Coglianese Photos)
Cogburn winning the Jaipur (G1) at Saratoga (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

After opening the season with a dominant win in the TwinSpires Turf Sprint (G2), Cogburn continued to impress in Saturday’s $500,000 Jaipur S. (G1) over Saratoga’s turf, establishing a new North American record while turning 5 1/2 furlongs in :59.80. Irad Ortiz Jr. was up on the rising turf sprinter for Steve Asmussen.

“He’s unbelievably impressive,” said Asmussen, who trains the five-year-old for the partnership of William and Corrine Heiligbrodt and Clark Brewster. “He’s an absolutely different horse since being switched to the turf. Absolutely.”

Cogburn has elevated his game to a new level and shown high speed in both 2024 starts, blasting to a clear lead from the Jaipur starting gate and establishing blistering splits (:21.33 and :43.07) while traveling comfortably. The outcome was never in doubt as he cruised to the finish line, scoring by 3 1/2 lengths as the 2.15-1 favorite.

“So fast, I can’t believe it,” said Ortiz, who notched his third stakes win on the Belmont S. (G1) undercard. “He was a rocket ship (out of the gate). After that, I just sit on him and relax. When it was the time to go, turning for home, I felt like he was loaded. I asked him to go and he responded really well. I asked him and he gave me what he go, all the way to the wire. That was nice.”

North America’s all-time winningest Thoroughbred trainer, Asmussen was amazed by the new course and North American record.

“I’ve had some of the fastest horses in the world, some of the fastest horses of all time, and he’s still the first one I’ve ever had run five-and-a-half furlongs in under a minute,” the Hall of Famer said. “Five and a half furlongs in under a minute. That’s not five-eighths five, that’s five-and-a-half. That’s basically a sixteenth of a mile faster than a fast horse.”

The bay horse was more of a stalker when moving to turf nearly 13 months ago, reeling off three consecutive stakes wins from off the pace, including the Troy (G3) at Saratoga, before concluding 2023 with a close fifth at Kentucky Downs. Now 5-for-6 on turf, Cogburn pushed his career earnings past the $1 million mark and his career ledger reads 14-8-2-0.

“We moved him to the turf because I didn’t feel that he had met his potential the way that he had trained,” Asmussen said. “He’d run solid on the dirt, but we expected better from him. Then, we moved him to the turf and he had some success but did it a little too late in the year last year. We gave him a freshening and he’s come back an absolute monster.”

Arzak rallied from near the back of the 12-horse field to be a non-threatening second as the 7.40-1 fourth choice, a neck better than Star of Mystery at 4.80-1. It was another nose to Coppola, and Mischief Magic, Dancing Buck, Filo Di Arianna, Thin White Duke, Alogon, Big Invasion, Sosua Summer, and No Nay Mets came next under the wire.

Bred in Kentucky by Bellary Bloodstock, Cogburn was last sold for $150,000 as an OBS April juvenile. By Not This Time, he was produced by the stakes-winning Saintly Look mare In a Jif.

“We want to go back to Kentucky Downs with him,” Asmussen said of upcoming plans. “The purse money there, with him being a Kentucky bred. We’d like to use that as a stepping-stone to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).”