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A happy Robby Albarado and Macho Again after winning the Stephen Foster
The second-richest race contested at Churchill Downs after the Kentucky Derby is the $600,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (G1), featuring some of the top older horses in the country going 1 1/8 miles over the main track. In this year's edition, a field of 8 went to post on a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon, with Einstein sent off as the 6-5 favorite off a 2-race winning streak, the Santa Anita Handicap in March and then the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the turf on Kentucky Derby day. In to challenge him included 7-2 second choice Researcher, winner of the Charles Town Classic in April and 5-1 third choice Asiatic Boy, making his North American debut after finishing a well-beaten 12th in the Dubai World Cup.
The cavalry charge down the stretch from the rail out: Researcher, Einstein, Bullsbay, Macho Again, and Asiatic Boy.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 2 Macho Again Albarado 17.40 6.20 3.60 7 Asiatic Boy Garcia 7.00 3.80 3 Einstein Leparoux 2.10 Winning Time: 1:49.75 $2 Exacta 2-7 140.20 $2 Trifecta 2-7-3 372.20 $2 Superfecta 2-7-3-4 981.40 (dead heat $2 Superfecta 2-7-3-6 909.80 for 4th)
Left: Macho Again in the winner's circle. His co-owner Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds said, "He's not a big, imposing horse but he's well balanced. He's a sound horse, obviously. He's danced a lot of dances. For a horse like this you've got to be a Grade I winner to be a Kentucky stallion. That was the reason we brought him back this year. We fully intend, if everything stays on track. We're in the racing business and we love the game. We really think that in 2010, if everything stays on track, we'd love to come back and defend our title in the Stephen Foster." Finley added that the Jockey Club Gold Cup and ultimately the Breeders' Cup Classic are the goals.
Right: Macho Again heads back to the barn after the race.
Left: Macho Again returns after the race. Winning jockey Robby Albarado said, "The race set up great for us today. We had an outside trip and got a clear run. It's not by design that I wanted to go around that wide, but I just put him in a path where he can run around horses. That's just where he wants to be. You just hope that you don't have to go too wide. He just prevailed to be the best today." Albarado won 5 races on the card, and has won the last 3 Stephen Foster Handicaps, including Flashy Bull in 2007 and Curlin in 2008.
Right: Macho Again in the paddock before the race. Winning trainer Dallas Stewart said, "He ran great, you know. He's a great horse. We had a great rider. We put it all together today. You know he's not an in and out horse like most people think. He got the money today on a dry track today at Churchill. He proved himself. I think we've got a lot of good things ahead of us. He's won major races on major tracks from down in New Orleans to Saratoga to here. He's all dirt horse is what he is." Stewart said Macho Again will go next in the Whitney Handicap.
Left: Second place finisher Asiatic Boy returns after the race. The 5-1 third choice was allowed to settle back in sixth under new jockey Alan Garcia, challenged for the lead out 4 wide into the stretch, bumped Einstein at the 3/16 pole and kept on to nose him out for second money. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee improved his record to 7 wins, 4 seconds, and 2 thirds in 16 starts, earning $3,196,130 for owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum.
Right: Third place finisher Einstein in the post parade. His trainer Helen Pitts-Blasi said, "He ran huge, it was just bad racing luck. They did all they could to get him beat, but that's just part of racing I guess. He gallops out in front. What can you do?" Jockey Julien Leparoux added, "I'm on the horse to beat, so of course they're trying to beat me. I had nowhere to go; I just had to wait. I was in a pretty good spot, but I had nowhere to go. So I just waited and when he got room at the eighth pole, he finished strong. He was probably the best horse, but that's horse racing. Sometimes you get a tough trip and that's that."
Undercard stakes results and photos, includes the Jefferson Cup, Northern Dancer Stakes, Fleur de Lis Handicap, and Regret Stakes.
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