A field of eight in the handicap division line up in Saturday’s $500,000 Stephen Foster (G2) with the winner stamping his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
The Al Stall trained Tom’s d’Etat is the even money favorite. The seven-year-old is coming off a victory in the Oaklawn Mile in his 2020 debut on April 20 which was off a 4 ½ month break.
“He has a history of running well off layoffs,” Stall said. “He’s never really left form even after he was freshened at Fair Grounds this winter when we were getting him ready for the second half of the year. We had talked about the (one-mile) Blame as a prep but when the schedule was shuffled around, we just decided to stick with the plan to run him in the Foster.”
The seven-year-old ran third in last year’s Foster, beaten two lengths. He won the Clark (G1) last November which was his third win in seven trips under the Twin Spires.
Among his foes are By My Standards (5-2), who won the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) in his last outing. The colt has won five of his nine career starts.
Oaklawn Handicap Replay
Owendale (4-1) won the Lexington (G3), Ohio Derby (G3) and Oklahoma Derby (G3) last year. The Brad Cox trainee comes into the Foster off a victory in the Blame over the main track here at a mile on May 23, his first start since running second in the Clark last November.
The Foster is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” race. The winner earns a fee-expenses paid trip to Keeneland for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Today’s $200,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) serves as a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). Midnight Bisou, who ran second in the Distaff last year is the 3-5 morning line favorite.
Among her foes is last year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Serengeti Empress (2-1) and Go Google Yourself (8-1) who was seventh in the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) in her last start. She won the Locust Grove (G3) over the Churchill Downs main track last November and was fourth in this race last year.
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The two Breeders’ Cup Challenge races will be televised on NBC. The one hour telecast starts at 5:00 ET.
Let’s head out to Churchill Downs for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Churchill Downs Race 10 The Stephen Foster G1 (5:47 ET)
#8 Owendale 4-1
#6 By My Standards 5-2
#5 Tom’s d’Etat 1-1
#4 Multiplier 10-1
This colt came off nearly a six-month layoff with a smart win in the Blame, rallying from last to first at a one turn mile. It was his first start since running second to Tom’s d’Etat in the Clark ‘Cap (G1) last fall over the main track here. While that foe has earned triple digit Beyers in seven straight starts, our top pick has yet to reach that plateau. However, he earned a career top 99 last out and he has earned between a 96 and a 99 in seven of his last eight starts. He had a solid three-year-old campaign winning 4 of 9 starts and running third in the Preakness (G1). He won twice at nine furlongs last year and he should move forward second off the bench here for the Cox barn. The colt is going to get a good pace set up as there is plenty of early speed signed up and among the top three is likely going to offer the best value for the top spot.
By My Standards
The four-year-old chased the early pace and finished gamely to win the Oaklawn ‘Cap (G2) last out and earned a career top speed fig. The Calhoun trainee has now landed in the exacta in 7 of his 8 starts and has won three in a row. He has matured as a four year after his three-year-old campaign ended after a 11th in the sloppy Kentucky Derby. He looks capable of running back to his last outing and should get a good trip sitting just off what likely is a sharp pace.
The short priced favorite returned off the bench last out winning the Oaklawn Mile at 4-5 over a wet fast surface. The runner up Improbable came back to win the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) in his next outing on June 6. The Stall trainee won the Clark ‘Cap two back and has landed in the exacta in 5 of 7 trips over the main track here. Last year he was second in the Alysheba (G2) and then third in this race. He is now seven, is going to be a light price and picks up a new jock in Mena as Rosario is committed to ride at Belmont Park today. He is going to be tough to beat but at even money or less we will take a stab we can beat him for the top spot.