06/10/2013 10:51AM

Churchill Downs: Fort Larned works in mud for Stephen Foster Handicap

Tom Keyser
Fort Larned finished fifth in the Oaklawn Handicap on April 13, his last start.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Fort Larned had his final workout toward the Stephen Foster Handicap when breezing five furlongs in 1:01.40 early Monday over a muddy Churchill Downs surface.

Regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. was aboard Fort Larned for the work, which was his seventh since his last race, a fifth-place finish in the April 13 Oaklawn Handicap. He is one of six older horses expected Saturday night for the Grade 1, $500,000 Foster.

“He went great, finished up real well,” Hernandez said. “He’s happy, I’m happy.”

Fort Larned, trained by Ian Wilkes for owner-breeder Janis Whitham, has raced twice since winning the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic last November. He threw Hernandez at the start of his 5-year-old debut, the March 9 Gulfstream Park Handicap, before disappointing as the 1-2 favorite at Oaklawn.

The Foster is one of four graded stakes set for Saturday night; the others are the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis, Grade 3 Matt Winn, and Grade 3 Regret. Entries for all Saturday race will be drawn Wednesday.

With weights and jockeys, this is the projected Foster lineup: Fort Larned, 121, Hernandez; Successful Dan, 121, Julien Leparoux; Ron the Greek, 120, Jose Lezcano; Take Charge Indy, 119, Rosie Napravnik; Golden Ticket, 117, Joel Rosario; and Pool Play, 115, Miguel Mena.

First post Saturday is 6 p.m. Eastern. Each of the last three Saturdays at the spring meet will be Downs After Dark programs.