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Wise Dan, the winner of last fall’s Clark Handicap (Grade I) at Churchill Downs who recently broke a track record at Keeneland in his 10 ½-length romp in the Ben Ali (GIII), was reported to be full of himself Thursday morning and trainer Charlie Lopresti said his star is ready for Saturday’s $400,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI).
In one of the most essential developments in the storied history of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs Racetrack will abandon the graded stakes earnings criteria it has used since 1986 to determine which 20 horses get into the starting gate for the 1 ¼-mile classic on the first Saturday in May and institute a point system to qualify for America’s Greatest Race.
Champion Royal Delta, Hilltop Winner Coup, Peter Pan Runner-Up Right to Vote Top Trio of Graded Stakes on Stephen Foster Handicap Undercard
Royal Delta, champion 3-year-old filly of 2011; Right to Vote, runner-up to Mark Valeski in the Peter Pan (Grade II); and Hilltop winner Coup headline the entries for the trio of graded stakes to be run under the lights Saturday at Churchill Downs as part “Downs After Dark” Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka
Morton Fink’s homebred Wise Dan, winner of the Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (Grade I) at Churchill Downs last fall, and Pin Oak Stable’s homebred Alternation, the top-rated horse in the latest NTRA poll off his narrow victory in the Pimlico Special (GIII), head a stellar field of nine entered f
Catesby Clay’s Rogue Romance could be one of the longest shots on the board for the $400,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I) on Saturday evening at Churchill Downs, but trainer Ken McPeek hopes for a top effort from his 4-year-old colt when he faces a group of some of the best older horses in training.
NATES MINESHAFT CONFIRMED FOR SATURDAY’S STEPHEN FOSTER – Trainer Austin Smith has confirmed Tuesday that Windy Hill Farm’s Nates Mineshaft, a 7 ¼-length winner of both the Lone Star Park Handicap (Grade III) in his most recent start and the New Orleans Handicap (GII) earlier at Fair Grounds, will compete in Saturday night’s 31
NEHRO, ASTROLOGY LIKELY STRONG DUO FOR ASMUSSEN IN GRADE I FOSTER – Trainer Steve Asmussen said Monday that he has “mixed emotions” about running the “two best horses” in his stable against an imposing field in the $400,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I), but he expects to have a double-barreled threat in the starting gate for Saturday
Morton Fink’s homebred Wise Dan, a 10 ½-length winner of the Ben Ali (Grade III) in track-record time on Keeneland’s synthetic Polytrack surface, has been named the 123 pound high weight by Churchill Downs’ Racing Secretary Ben Huffman for Saturday’s $400,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI).
Michael Bruder’s Guys Reward, a horse that has run some of his finest races over Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course, collected his first stakes victory over that course at the historic track when he rallied from last in a field of six to win the $73,392 Opening Verse Overnight Stakes by a half-length over favored Se
Peter Callahan’s Scotus will make his fifth career start beneath the Twin Spires in Saturday’s $73,600 Opening Verse at Churchill Downs, but it will be his first visit to the Matt Winn Turf Course. In fact, it will be his first race on the turf anywhere.
Churchill Downs will join its fans in celebrating the historic Triple Crown bid by I’ll Have Another, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum!
Morton Fink’s homebred Wise Dan completed his major training preparations for the June 16 $400,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I) at Churchill Downs with a bullet five-furlong work in :59.40 for trainer Charlie Lopresti on Thursday over the synthetic Polytrack surface at Keeneland.
Morton Fink’s high-powered homebreds Wise Dan and Successful Dan join Pimlico Special (GIII) 1-2 finishers Alternation and Nehro atop a glittering roster of 16 older stars nominated to compete in the $400,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I), the main event on a spectacular night of racing at Chu
Very few people have the opportunity to live out their childhood dreams, but trainer Brad Cox counts himself among the lucky ones. The 32-year-old Cox grew up just blocks from the Twin Spires and always desired to become a successful trainer at Churchill Downs.
With seven wins at the Spring Meet from just 17 starters, Cox’s dreams have become reality.
Catesby Clay’s Bizzy Caroline charged furiously down the Matt Winn Turf Course and gave trainer Ken McPeek his 300th career win at Churchill Downs when she got up in the final jump to take the 36th running of the $111,000 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (Grade III) by a neck over pacesetter Heavenly Landing.
Padua Stables’ homebred Rothko made his first start in three months and dominated six rivals to win Saturday night’s 24th running of the Grade III, $109,400 Aristides at Churchill Downs by 2 ½ lengths over Will’s Wildcat.
Robert T. Manfuso’s Island Bound, ridden by Leandro Goncalves, rallied from the outside and edged clear late to win the ninth running of the Grade III, $110,100 Winning Colors by 1 ¼ lengths over Beat the Blues on Friday night at Churchill Downs.
WISE DAN DEFINITE FOR STEPHEN FOSTER, SUCCESSFUL DAN POSSIBLE – One would be hard-pressed to find a duo of older males in better form than Morton Fink’s homebreds Wise Dan and Successful Dan and it’s possible the talented half-brothers could battle for barn bragging rights in the $400,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (
Calhoun Trio Heads Winning Colors; In Foal Ravi's Song Seeks First Graded Stakes Victory in Early Times Mint Julep
The Bret Calhoun-trained trio of Beat the Blues, Speedacious and Gleaming – all multiple stakes winners with 28 victories and earnings of more than $1.1 million among them – head the field of eight fillies and mares entered for Saturday’s $100,000-added Winning Colors (Grade III) at six furlongs on the main track.
Bert, Elaine and Richard Klein’s 3-year-old filly Good Deed will bid on Saturday to both improve off a runner-up effort to the impressive Contested in the Eight Belles Presented by Xerox (GIII) on Kentucky Oaks Day and become the first of her age group to defeat her elders in the $100,000-added Winning