by Jeremy Plonk
June 23, 2021
Saturday’s Grade 2 $600,000 Stephen Foster Stakes at Churchill Downs attracted 9 entrants, led by once-beaten Maxfield, who looks to top the $1 million mark in career earnings. The Foster is one of seven stakes in Louisville on Saturday with first post 12:45 pm ET on a 12-race card.
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Late-running Maxfield (pictured) drew post 8 and can improve his local record to 4-for-4, having won at Churchill in 2019, 2020 and earlier this year in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes. Red-hot trainer Brendan Walsh has won with 8 of his last 19 starters at Churchill Downs and again will employ the services of jockey Jose Ortiz.
Leading the opposition will be front-running Warrior’s Charge, who likely sets the tone from post 6. The early mix also should include Visitant (post 9), who led the Alysheba nearly all the way before giving way to Maxfield last time out. The outside draw for Visitant could increase the tempo and set the table nicely for the favorite Maxfield.
Silver Dust (post 5), last year’s Foster third-place finisher, exits a hard-fought victory in Keeneland’s Ben Ali over the same mile and one-eighth distance. Like Maxfield, both Warrior’s Charge and Silver Dust could top the $1 million lifetime mark in the Foster as a multiple Grade 3 winners.
The Saturday lineup also includes the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis (featuring star 2021 Distaff division leader Letruska), Grade 2 Wise Dan, Grade 3 Bashford Manor and the listed Debutante, Tepin and War Chant.
CHURCHILL DOWNS // RACE 11 (5:59PM ET) // G2 STEPHEN FOSTER STAKES // 1 1/8 MILES (DIRT)
1. Chess Chief (John Velazquez)
2. Empty Tomb (Rafael Santana Jr.)
3. Necker Island (Mitchell Murrill)
4. Sprawl (Brian Hernandez Jr.)
5. Silver Dust (Adam Beshcizza)
6. Warrior’s Charge (Florent Geroux)
7. South Bend (Tyler Gaffalione)
8. Maxfield (Jose Ortiz)
9. Visitant (James Graham)