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Trainer Dallas Stewart leads Seeking the Sould to the winner's circle after the Stephen Foster.
The third-richest race contested at Churchill Downs after the Kentucky Derby and Oaks is the $600,000 Stephen Foster Stakes (G2), featuring some of the top older horses in the country going 1 1/8 miles over the main track, with the winner earning automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) under the Win and You're In promotion. Conditions were excellent on Saturday night, with cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 80's, with the main track fast and the Matt Winn turf course firm. Santa Anita Handicap (G1) winner Gift Box was sent off as the 2-1 favorite off his 2nd place finish in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1). In to challenge him included 9-2 second choice Tom's d'Etat, 2nd in the Alysheba (G2), and 19-4 third choice Seeking the Soul, 3rd in the Alysheba.
Down the stretch with Seeking the Soul taking the lead.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 4 Seeking the Soul Velazquez 11.20 6.20 4.20 10 Quip Geroux 12.20 8.20 9 Tom's d'Etat Bridgmohan 4.80 Winning Time: 1:49.27 $2 Exacta 4-10 122.00 $1 Trifecta 4-10-9 377.50 $1 Superfecta 4-10-9-6 1,320.60
Seeking the Soul in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Dallas Stewart said, "We will definitely be in the Breeders' Cup Classic this year. This horse is so special to our entire barn. We have to thank Mr. Fipke for allowing us to train him. With family and friends here tonight, this is as good as it gets – we're in the Classic."
Right: Seeking the Soul gets cooled off before heading back to the barn. Winning jockey John Velazquez said, "He ran really well here the last time out, and we knew coming from Dubai he probably wasn't going to be 100 percent. He had the perfect timing to win (the Alysheba), just like this one. Today he was right back to where he normally is, high energy. As soon as I broke out there and got into the first turn, he was a little more aggressive than I want him to be. He's never been that close in the first part of the race. But I got him back to where I wanted him to be, got comfortable where he was, and then down the stretch, pulling out, he had it."
Left: Second place finisher Quip in the post parade. Jockey Florent Geroux said, "We were in a perfect spot tracking (Tom's d'Etat). He fought the entire way down the stretch and even when (Seeking the Soul) got to us, he tried to dig back in and rally. He ran great."
Right: Third place finisher Tom's d'Etat walks over before the race. Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan said, "It was kind of an interesting race shape. I didn't expect him to necessarily be on the lead."
Left: Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Gift Box in the paddock before the race. Jockey Joel Rosario said, "They went pretty slow up front and he just couldn't close into the leaders."
Right: The moon peeks through the clouds before the race.
The distaff counterpart to the Stephen Foster is the $200,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) for older fillies and mares also going 1 1/8 miles on the main track, a "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Distaff. Elate was sent off as the 9-10 favorite in the field of 6 off her third place finish in the Apple Blossom (G1). In to challenge her included 2-1 second choice She's a Julie, winner of the La Troienne (G1), and 3-1 third choice Blue Prize, 3rd in the La Troienne.
Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. sent 30-1 Skeptic to the lead first time by through fractions of 25.02, 49.70, nd 1:13.85 while pressed by She's a Julie and stalked by Blue Prize and Elate. Turning for home Skeptic tired badly as She's a Julie inherited the lead through 1 mile in 1:37.90. Jockey Jose Ortiz moved Elate 3 wide for room and the favorite rallied through to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Blue Prize in 1:50.33. It was a head back to She's a Julie third.
Full results chart from DRF
Left: Elate in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "Jose got the perfect rail trip and once he straightened her out in the lane she came running late. We thought the added distance makes a bit of difference with her and we like to have a goal to shoot for at the end of the year with the Breeders' Cup Distaff (GI). If she belongs, that's a race to definitely shoot for."
Right: Elate heads back to the barn after the race. Winning jockey Jose Ortiz said, "It was a very good race. I saw Javier had a lot of horse with Blue Prize so I didn't want to make a premature move. Once she saw the clear she just cruised home."
Kicking off the graded stakes quintet Saturday night was the $100,000 Matt Winn Stakes (G3) for three-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Pat Day Mile (G3) winner Mr. Money was sent off as the 3-5 favorite in the field of 7 over 3-1 Nolo Contesto, 4th in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), and 9-2 Signalman, 9th in the Preakness (G1)
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione sent 17-1 Knicks Go to the lead through fractions of 24.19, 47.80, and 1:11.35 while pressed by Mr. Money and stalked by 19-1 Proverb. At the top of the stretch Knicks Go tired allowing Mr. Money to inherit the lead through 1 mile in 1:35.85. Kept to task by jockey Gabriel Saez, Mr. Money drew off late to win by 6 1/2 lengths over Signalman in 1:42.28. It was another 2 lengths back to Proverb third.
Full results chart
Left: Mr. Money in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bret Calhoun said, "The way this horse was training after the Pat Day Mile, we had an idea he'd run a big race. Gabe rode him perfectly tonight and he's proving his talent, that's for sure."
Right: Mr. Money heads back to the barn after the race. Winning jockey Gabriel Saez said, "That was about as easy as you can do it. This horse has been so impressive all along and Bret and his team's hard work is paying off. I'm so thankful to Bred and Chester (Thomas) for letting me ride this horse. The 1 1/16-mile distance was a little test tonight. He certainly proved he can do it."
Closing out the stakes action on Saturday night a field of 11 three-year-old fillies went to post in the $150,000 Regret Stakes (G3) at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Breeders' cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) 5th place finisher Varenka was sent off as the 9-5 favorite over 3-1 Winter Sunset, 3rd in the Edgewood (G3), and 5-1 Princesa Carolina, 3rd in the Appalachian (G2).
Winter Sunset was quickest away through an opening quarter of 23.62 before 6-1 fourth choice Hard Legacy took over through a half in 48.06 and 3/4 in 1:12.94. Turning for home, Hard Legacy continued to lead through 1 mile in 1:36.53. Kept to task by jockey Julien Leparoux, Hard Legacy pulled away to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Winter Sunset in 1:48.22. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to late-running favorite Varenka third.
Full results chart from DRF
Left: Hard Legacy in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Norm Casse, celebrating his first stakes win said, "Churchill Downs is my home, Louisville is my home, to win my first stakes win here is so special. I thought today would be the day. Hard Legacy had been training very well, we had Julien up, it was time to get the first stakes win. Hopefully the first of many." Jockey Julien Leparoux added, "She can break a little slow sometimes. Today she broke really well. I left her along and got her in a good rhythm. I got her to relax on the backside and she had enough late to hold them off."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Varenka walks over before the race. The Graham Motion trainee improved her record to 1 win, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds in 6 starts, earning $152,500 for owner-breeder George Strawbridge Jr. (Augustin Stable).
The $250,000 Wise Dan Stakes (G2) featured a field of 13 older horses going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Dixie Stakes (G2) runner-up Admission Office was sent off as the 2-1 favorite over 5-1 First Premio, 4th in the Opening Verse, and 8-1 Bourbon Resolution, 7th in the Alysheba (G2).
Jockey james Graham sent 13-1 Siem Riep to the lead through fractions of 23.34, 46.88, and 1:10.70 while pressed by 27-1 Holiday Stone and stalked by First Premio abd 17-1 Get Western. Turning for home Siem Riep tired allowing First Premio to inherit the lead through 1 mile in 1:34.46. 10-1 March to the Arch, 9th early under Tyler Gaffalione, and 71-1 longest shot All Right, 5th early unde Adam Beschizza, rallied together in a duel to the line, with March to the Arch prevailing by a neck in 1;40.58. It was another neck back to late-running Admission Office third.
Full results chart from DRF
Left: March to the Arch in the winner's circle. David Carroll, assistant to winning trainer Mark Casse said, "It was just a super ride by Tyler. He saved ground all the way around, swung him out and he kicked hard. What a race. It was only his third start of the year. He ran at Tampa and got beat only five lengths to Bricks and Mortar. Hopefully he'll have a big year going forward. Not only is Tyler a tremendous rider, he's a tremendous person. He's very mature and it shows every time he rides for us."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Admission Office in the post parade. JHockey Joel Rosario said, "We were pretty far back but we were closing fast. We just didn't get there in time. He ran a good race and had a strong turn of foot."
The $100,000 President of the United Arab Emirates Cup (G1) featured a field of 8 Arabians going 1 1/16 miles. HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup Amethyst Jewel Stakes (G1) winner Easter Man was sent off as the even-money favorite over 2-1 Quick and Rich, winner of 3 straight in allowance company, and 11-2 Madjikman, 4th in the Amethyst Jewel Stakes (G1).
Jockey Gabriel Saez sent 8-1 RB Texas Hold Em to the lead first time by through fractions of 26.43 and 53.27 while pressed by 44-1 Mizzdora and stalked by 20-1 Thess Is Awesome. On the far turn Mizzdora gained a short lead through 3/4 in 1:20.38, but RB Texas Hold Em regained the lead at the top of the lane through 1 mile in 1:48.90. Kept to task by Saez, RB Texas Hold Em drew off late to win by 6 lengths in 1:56.45. It was 1/2 a length back to Madjikman third, and 3/4 more to favorite Easter Man fourth.
Full results chart from DRF
Left: RB Texas Hold Em in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Nicole Ruggeri said, "We rested him a lot since we got him and we got lucky with a good jock. He is such a fun horse. He is very feisty. He was ready and he knows that he is the best." Jockey Gabriel Saez added, "I was glad Nicole gave me the call on this horse. I was in a great spot and I felt like I was back in Delaware Park like from back in the day. In the post parade I got him loose from the pony and warmed him up well."
Right: Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Easter Man in the post parade. The Jerenesto Torrez trainee has a record of 14 wins, 11 seconds, and 4 thirds in 32 starts, earning $333,345 for owner-breeder Betty and Joseph Gillis.
Stephen Foster day is when the Kentucky Derby trophies are presented to the winning owner, trainer, and jockey after they have been engraved. This year it was done after the third race in the winner's circle. The trophies were on display to the public for viewing and photo ops until the presentation.
Left: Trainer Bill Mott and owners Mrs. J.V. Shields Jr., E. J. M. McFadden Jr. and Larry, Nancy and Jaime Roth's LNJ Foxwoods received their trophies.
Right: Celebrating with the trophy.
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