Classic Empire Head Shot

Rocket Dawg Explodes in Churchill Debut

Working well in the months leading up to his debut, Rocket Dawg (2c Classic Empire x Rever de Vous, by Distorted Humor) showed he was much more than a morning glory on Friday with a romp on debut.

Covering seven furlongs at Churchill Downs, the Classic Empire son broke well before settling widest of all in midpack. That proved to be an advantage for the colt, who circled the field late in the backstretch to put himself even with the leader as they left the turn.

There was no chance for anyone to stay with Rocket Dawg in the stretch with Florent Geroux putting the whip away in the final furlong to let him coast home by 5 ½ lengths.

The 15th winner for his sire, Rocket Dawg has always impressed those around him.

He was Classic Empire’s fifth most expensive weanling colt when selling to Enfuego Stables from Warrendale Sales for $185,000 at the 2019 Keeneland November Sale. One year later, he was the most expensive overall to sell by his sire when BSW/Crow purchased him for $375,000 from Gainesway at the Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase.

A Steven an Brandi Nicholson-bred, Rocket Dawg is out of the stakes-placed Rever de Vous, who has now produced four winners from four foals. That mare is a daughter of Grade III winner Dreaming of Liz, who is the dam of stakes winner Dreaming of Drew.

Rever de Vous also has a weanling full brother to the winner, who was born in May.

Champion juvenile Classic Empire’s 15 winners include five stakes performers and two stakes winners, led by stakes winner and Grade I fourth Fire Empire.