By My Standards can join club of Kentucky Derby alumni to win Stephen Foster

Jun 21, 2020 Kellie Reilly/

If By My Standards extends his winning streak in Saturday’s $500,000 Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs, he’d join an exclusive club of Kentucky Derby (G1) participants who’ve gone on to win the spring meet’s highlight for older horses.

Last year’s Louisiana Derby (G2) hero, By My Standards wasn’t able to perform his best in the 2019 Kentucky Derby and wound up well behind the disqualified Maximum Security and Country House. Trainer Bret Calhoun gave him the rest of the season off to regroup, and By My Standards has come back better than ever. The Allied Racing Stable runner returned triumphant at Fair Grounds, using an allowance romp as a springboard to victories in the New Orleans Classic (G2) and Oaklawn H. (G2).
By My Standards looks to continue his stellar form in the Stephen Foster, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). His leading rivals are Tom’s d’Etat and Owendale, the respective top two from last fall’s Clark (G1) over this same 1 1/8-mile trip.
Aside from the fact that his Kentucky Derby loss shouldn’t be held against him, By My Standards can point to historical precedent. Three well-beaten Derby also-rans have captured the Stephen Foster – Mythical Ruler (1984), champion older horse Vanlandingham (1985), and Flashy Bull (2007).
Mythical Ruler, 17th behind Pleasant Colony in the 1981 Derby, took longer to earn his Foster laurel. Runner-up in 1982 and 1983, the gray finally won it as a 6-year-old. 
By My Standards has a profile closer to Vanlandingham, who was on the upswing going into the 1984 Derby, checked in 16th behind Swale, and headed to the sidelines. Resurgent in his 1985 comeback in an allowance, Vanlandingham prevailed in the Foster en route to victories in the Suburban H. (G1), Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), and Washington D.C. International (G1) on turf. By My Standards’ connections hope that the parallel extends as far as an Eclipse Award. 

More recently, Flashy Bull, 14th behind Barbaro in the 2006 Derby, came back to earn a career high in the 2007 Foster.

Derby alums who are far more prominent on the Foster honor roll, however, had all placed in the Run for the Roses the prior year.
Victory Gallop had played second fiddle to Real Quiet in the 1998 Derby and Preakness (G1) before famously denying him the Triple Crown in the Belmont S. (G1). As a 4-year-old, Victory Gallop ran away with the 1999 Foster in a track-record time of 1:47.28. He added the Whitney (G1) next out and that ended up clinching champion older horse honors.
Perfect Drift, third to War Emblem in the 2002 Derby, became a regular presence in the Foster. After upsetting eventual Horse of the Year Mineshaft in the 2003 edition, Perfect Drift placed third in 2004 and 2005, and missed by a nose in 2006. The venerable gelding retired two years later with career earnings of more than $4.7 million. 

Hall of Famer Curlin, third to Street Sense in the 2007 Derby, had progressed mightily by the time he reappeared at Churchill to land the 2008 Foster. A two-time Horse of the Year, Curlin is arguably the best Stephen Foster winner with a career resume including the Preakness, two Jockey Club Gold Cups, the Dubai World Cup (G1), and a Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Gun Runner, third to Nyquist in the 2016 Derby, developed into the 2017 Horse of the Year. The Foster was the start of his five-race winning spree culminating in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup (G1) in his career finale.
No Derby winner has added the Foster, but Hall of Famer Silver Charm came close when second to Awesome Again in 1998. That forecast the result of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, also at Churchill, where Awesome Again and Silver Charm again furnished the exacta. (Silver Charm did not come close in his next Foster try, winding up fourth behind Victory Gallop in his final start.)
Silver Charm is not the only Hall of Famer to miss in the Foster. Soon-to-be-enshrined Wise Dan went down by a head to Ron the Greek in the 2012 edition, never ran on dirt again, and focused on turf for the rest of a storied career punctuated by back-to-back wins in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).
In addition to Awesome Again and Gun Runner, three others have turned the Foster-Breeders’ Cup Classic double in the same year – Black Tie Affair (1991), Saint Liam (2005), and Blame (2010). Fort Larned won each race in different years, the Classic (2012) preceding his Foster (2013) (the same order Curlin followed in 2007-08). Black Tie Affair and Blame achieved the double when Churchill hosted the Breeders’ Cup, Blame more memorably by staving off the furious rally of Zenyatta. 
Zenyatta’s sire, Street Cry, starred in the 2002 Foster, but his U.S. racing career remains a tantalizing what-might-have-been. The Godolphin homebred missed the 2001 Derby due to injury, and his career ended before he could attempt the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Otherwise Street Cry could have factored in the earlier discussion of Derby alums, or possibly even among those Foster heroes doubling up in the Classic. 
  • Ticket Info

    Sign up for race updates and more