06/12/2013 2:45PM

Churchill Downs: Fort Larned, Successful Dan to meet in Stephen Foster Handicap

Tom Keyser
Fort Larned, last year's Breeders' Cup Classic winner, most recently was fifth in the Oaklawn Handicap in April.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Six older horses are entered in the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap, the Grade 1 race that has become the signature leadoff event for the post-Triple Crown half of the racing season in North America.

Fort Larned and Successful Dan are the co-highweights in the 1 1/8-mile race, which also figures to have Ron the Greek and Take Charge Indy among the top wagering choices. Golden Ticket, a dead-heat winner of the Travers Stakes last summer, is one of the two outsiders, along with Pool Play.

“Obviously, it’s a tough race, but that’s okay,” said Ken McPeek, the trainer of Golden Ticket. “We felt it was good timing and a good spot, with it being on our home court. If he’s ever going to beat this kind, maybe this is it.”

The Foster is the first “Win and You’re In” event of the year in North America for the Nov. 1-2 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, with the Foster winner getting an automatic, expenses-paid berth into the $5 million BC Classic.

From the rail, with weights and jockeys, this is the field: Golden Ticket, 117 pounds, Joel Rosario; Fort Larned, 121, Brian Hernandez Jr.; Ron the Greek, 120, Jose Lezcano; Take Charge Indy, 119, Rosie Napravnik; Pool Play, 115, Miguel Mena; and Successful Dan, 121, Julien Leparoux.

The Foster, one of four graded stakes on the night, anchors the first of three straight Saturdays for the Downs After Dark program at Churchill. First post is at 6 p.m. Eastern, with the Foster, the eighth of 11 races, set for 9:39 and the 11th race for 11:10. HRTV will have extensive on-site coverage. Ontrack fans are encouraged to wear all-white attire in keeping with the “White Party” theme for the night.

In the supporting Saturday features:

◗ Grade 2, $175,000 Fleur de Lis (race 6, 8:30): Royal Delta will be a huge favorite when facing just four other fillies and mares in this 1 1/8-mile race. The 5-year-old mare will have Mike Smith aboard when starting from the outside post and spotting the opposition 10 to 11 pounds.

The Fleur de Lis lineup is Funny Proposition, 114, Rosario; Ice Cream Silence, 115, Napravnik; Wine Princess, 115, Shaun Bridgmohan; She’s All In, 114, Ricardo Santana Jr.; and Royal Delta, 125.

Royal Delta will be making her first appearance since finishing 10th against males in the March 30 Dubai World Cup. Last year, she won the Fleur de Lis by eight lengths in her first post-Dubai start en route to an Eclipse Award as the year’s top older female.

◗ Grade 3, $100,000 Matt Winn Stakes (race 7, 9:05): A terrific field of 11 3-year-olds was entered in this 1 1/16-mile race, with Sunbean, Uncaptured, Code West, Treasury Bill, and Bellarmine ranking among the favorites.

◗ Grade 3, $100,000 Regret Stakes (race 9, 10:11): Kitten’s Dumplings, the winner of the Edgewood Stakes on the Kentucky Oaks undercard, gets Rosario back as the likely favorite in a field of 11 3-year-old fillies in this 1 1/8-mile turf race.

A rare Churchill race restricted to Arabians is on the program (race 10, 10:42). It’s the Grade 1, $100,000 President of the United Arab Emirates Cup, just the second Arabian race in track history. A field of eight is entered.

Orb’s connections to get trophies

Rosario and trainer Shug McGaughey will be among the connections of Orb on hand Saturday night to receive their engraved trophies for their victory in the May 4 Kentucky Derby.

Rosario and McGaughey will be joined by Daisy Phipps Pulito, the daughter of Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps, who bred and owns Orb in partnership with his cousin, Stuart Janney III. Also present will be Walker Hancock of Claiborne Farm, where Orb was foaled and raised.

The ceremony will take place in the winner’s circle shortly after the fourth race, which is set for 7:26 p.m.

aaronrayk More than 1 year ago
Fort Larned needs to go to the lead.
J.L. Boey More than 1 year ago
Why does Successful Dan, the only non-G1 winner in field, have to carry the highest weight? Is Churchill Downs admitting that he shouldn't have been taken down in the 2010 Clark?
Ricky Williams More than 1 year ago
WOW! wish i could be there in person. Go F.L x G.T boxxx.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
The field may be small, but it's wide open. Good luck, everyone!
D More than 1 year ago
People complaining about short fields at CD... lol when will you realize this is the way Churchill Inc. wants it!! They love having reasons to complain that "we need slots" "we need slots to survive". Please you have the Derby Week that survives CD all year simple as that. NO RACINOS in KY... Keep the rude slot players where they belong over the bridge at Horseshoe... Can you imagine what Derby week will look like with a Casino there. People have talked about horse racing no making it since I been coming to the track and that was 30 years ago. Does the sport need to make improvements? YES But a huge casino on the site isn't the tell all, end all answer to the mess the sport is in. I think TCI will bounce from his last race btw.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Slot players = brain dead
Robert More than 1 year ago
sucessful danny boy nuf said and the kd 1454545v connections recieve their hardware..good nite for all....thanks shug
Dan Cronin More than 1 year ago
They need a headstart to beat Successful Dan, even with the Kentucky Strangler aboard.
B More than 1 year ago
Never been intrigued at all by either Fort Larned or Ron the Greek, though they have had their moments and I've been surprised every time, especially with Larned. I think this is between Successful Dan and Take Charge Indy. Prefer the latter, but he has never turned out to be quite the horse that I thought he would be.
Steve More than 1 year ago
Pat Byrne, the most underrated trainer on Earth. I hope TCI goes off at 4 - 1 or higher.
Steve Lonberger More than 1 year ago
Hate to say it but that will never happen. He is going to be second choice. I wish bigger field then maybe.
Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
I have to agree. I'll be happy with 3 to 1 in a six horse field though.
Steven Rolf More than 1 year ago
Tci won't hit the board. To much early speed.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
david g. , i am a little puzzled. why do you wan him retired. i am assuming you have been playing him at short odds,thus sucking the money out of you. if that is the case,keep him in the game and let him take more money from the pidgeons that continue to play him.