An excellent field of 12 will go 1 ⅛ miles on the Churchill Downs main track in Saturday’s $600,000 Stephen Foster Stakes (G2). The cast boasts a trio of Grade 1 winners, two millionaires and a slew of up-and-coming contenders.
Here is the field in post position order:
Career Racing Stats:
Total Career Earnings: $393,170
Owner: Wesley Hawley
Breeder: Camas Park Stud
Trainer: Wesley Hawley
Jockey: Miguel Mena
Sire: Stay Thirsty
Dam: Promenade Girl
Top BRIS Speed rating: 100 for a fourth in 2018 Cornhusker Handicap (G3) and 2019 allowance win
Analysis: Five-year-old was a superb allowance winner going one-mile under the Twin Spires last time out. The Kentucky-bred is four-for-seven lifetime at Churchill Downs and would be a contender at a price with any improvement off his latest.
#2 RATED R SUPERSTAR
Rated R Superstar Career Racing Stats:
Total Career Earnings: $784,517
Owner: Crystal Racing Enterprises and Contreras
Breeder: Thorndale Stable LLC
Trainer: Cipriano Contreras
Jockey: Rodney Prescott
Sire: Kodiak Kowboy
Dam: Wicked Wish
Top BRIS Speed rating: 103 winning the 2016 Carry Back Stakes (G3)
Analysis: One-run closer bagged the Essex Handicap in game fashion two back before finishing fifth in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) in advance of Saturday. Longshot will need both a career best and a perfect voyage to impact this field late.
#3 RUNAWAY GHOST
Runaway Ghost Career Racing Stats:
Total Career Earnings: $744,224
Owner/Breeder: Joe Peacock
Trainer: Todd Fincher
Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Dam: Rose’s Desert
Top BRIS Speed rating: 107 winning the 2019 Ft. Bliss Stakes
Analysis: Sunland Park dynamo is a wild card in arguably his toughest assignment to date. Four-year-old colt flopped in his prior trip to the Bluegrass State when well back in the Commonwealth (G3), but he deserves another chance exiting another dominant stakes win. The move to get Leparoux is a positive one.
#4 SEEKING THE SOUL
Seeking the Soul Career Racing Stats:
Total Career Earnings: $2,989,842
Owner/Breeder: Charles Fipke
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Jockey: John Velazquez
Sire: Perfect Soul
Dam: Seeking the Title
Top BRIS Speed rating: 108 for a second in 2018 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1)
Analysis: Hard-trying six-year-old is as classy as any in the cast and recorded his lone Grade 1 victory, the 2017 Clark, over the track. Runner-up in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) earlier this year, the homebred smoked a bullet five furlongs in preparation to signal his readiness. He is the most logical contender among the group.
Alkhaatam Career Racing Stats:
Total Career Earnings: $133,848
Owner/Breeder: Shadwell Farm
Trainer: Daniel Peitz
Jockey: Channing Hill
Top BRIS Speed rating: 95 in 2019 maiden win
Analysis: Budding star takes a massive class hike from the first-level allowance ranks in his stakes debut. Four-year-old was a sharp winner in a local debut last time and has fired three bullets on the strip in the interim, as well. Colt seems to have a bright future regardless of his result in this demanding assignment.
Giftbox Career Racing Stats:
Total Career Earnings: $979,160
Owner: Hronis Racing, LLC
Breeder: Machmer Hall, Carrie Brogden and Craig Brogden
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Sire: Twirling Candy
Dam: Special Me
Top BRIS Speed rating: 110 for a second in a 2017 allowance
Analysis: Grade 1 winner was game in defeat when second in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) most recently. Peaking six-year-old makes his Churchill Downs debut in a deep field in just his third outing in 2019, so improvement is probable on Saturday. The accomplished Kentucky-bred retains Rosario and will be forwardly placed from the onset.
Tenfold Career Racing Stats:
Total Career Earnings: $895,890
Owner/Breeder: Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana, Jr.
Color: Dark Bay
Top BRIS Speed rating: 102 for fifth in 2018 Belmont Stakes (G1)
Analysis: Last-out Pimlico Special (G3) victor is a two-time graded stakes winner and poised for a strong second half of 2019. Four-year-old colt has been inconsistent but is full of talent, and colt might thrive in his first run beneath the Twin Spires. Win contender will be rallying from midpack under Santana.
#8 KING ZACHARY
King Zachary Career Racing Stats:
Total Career Earnings: $303,650
Owner: Thomas Conway
Breeder: Waymore, LLC
Trainer: Graham Motion
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Dam: On My Way
Top BRIS Speed rating: 101 for fourth in 2018 Travers Stakes (G1)
Analysis: Four-year-old romped home in the Matt Winn Stakes (G3) here a year ago and will make his second start since joining the Graham Motion barn. Curlin colt didn’t have a great prep race last time out but will improve second off the break for these connections. Chestnut should benefit from picking up Castellano for the voyage.
#9 TOM’S D’ETAT
Tom’s d’Etat Racing Stats:
Total Career Earnings: $606,092
Owner: GMB Racing
Breeder: S F Bloodstock, LLC
Trainer: Albert Stall, Jr.
Jockey: Shaun Bridgmohan
Sire: Smart Strike
Dam: Julia Tuttle
Top BRIS Speed rating: 107 in 2017 allowance win at Saratoga
Analysis: Win contender has a lot of pace and is capable of carrying his speed a route of ground, too. Well-bred son of Smart Strike was a sharp second behind a star last time in the Alysheba Stakes (G2), and even slight improvement will put him right there inside the final furlong here. Lightly raced sort could be the one to catch at the top of the lane.
Quip Career Racing Stats:
Total Career Earnings: $942,500
Owner: WinStar Farm et al’s
Breeder: WinStar Farm, LLC
Trainer: Rodolphe Brisset
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Sire: Distorted Humor
Dam: Princess Ash
Top BRIS Speed rating: 98 winning the 2018 Tampa Bay Derby (G2)
Analysis: Dual grade 2 hero was game in his Oaklawn Handicap (G2) score most recently and should move forward in just a third race in 13 months. It’s worth noting the Kentucky-bred broke his maiden on debut at Churchill Downs. Talented four-year-old wouldn’t be a surprise with another forward move.
Exulting Career Racing Stats:
Total Career Earnings: $458,292
Owner: Michael Hui et al’s
Breeder: Peter Blum Thoroughbreds, LLC
Trainer: Michael Maker
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
Dam: Magical Feeling
Color: Dark Bay
Top BRIS Speed rating: 99 in 2018 allowance win at Saratoga
Analysis: Longshot is ambitiously placed in his second showing off the claim for Mike Maker. Six-year-old gelding did take the Oaklawn Mile most recently, but he will need to prove it against a better caliber of horses from a tough post position Saturday.
Yoshida Career Racing Stats:
Total Career Earnings: $2,179,648
Owner: China Horse Club et al’s
Breeder: Northern Farm
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
Sire: Heart’s Cry
Dam: Hilda’s Passion
Top BRIS Speed rating: 104 for a fourth in 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1)
Analysis: Classy five-year-old is a Grade 1 winner on both turf and the dirt. An even sixth in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1) in March, he makes his first run since for conditioner Bill Mott. The Japanese-bred was a close fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic over the track last fall and his best will make him tough to deny beneath Ortiz.