Foster Upsetter Fine, Trainer Needs Break

(from Churchill Downs notes)
Lakeside Farm's Colonial Colony was reported to be doing well on the day after he shook the racing world with his stunning upset of favored Southern Image and an elite field in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) June 12 at Churchill Downs, but his trainer is worn out.

"I'm tired," trainer Walter Bindner said. "I need some sleep. I didn't get any last night. The phone kept ringing and people kept calling until my battery went dead."

Colonial Colony snapped a 12-race losing streak at odds of 62-1 and ended a five-race winning streak for Southern Image when Colonial Colony fought back under jockey Rafael Bejarano to win by a nose over a "sloppy" track.

Along with Pimlico Special (gr. I) winner Southern Image, who had earned three Grade I victories during his winning streak, Colonial Colony defeated such rivals as defending winner Perfect Drift, two-time grade I winner Peace Rules, Sir Barton Stakes winner Best Minister and Ben Ali (gr. III) winner and Pimlico Special runner-up Midway Road.

"He doesn't even know he ran," said Bindner of Colonial Colony. "He's feeling really good."

And Bindner, a jockey-turned-trainer who scored his first-ever grade I victory in the Stephen Foster, was feeling pretty good himself.

After the biggest moment of his career in racing, though, Bindner is wondering just what to do next.

"I don't really know what to do with him," said Bindner. He said he had been considering a trip to Arlington Park for the $75,000 Black Tie Affair Handicap before Colonial Colony significantly raised his profile. "It really did stun me. The move he made -- circling horses going four or five wide and just going by the best horses in America like they're cheap horses -- was amazing."

Despite his 3-for-28 record coming into the Stephen Foster, Bindner has always believed that the son of 1981 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Pleasant Colony was a horse with quality. He ran fifth to Perfect Drift in last year's Foster and was second to the now-retired Ten Most Wanted in the National Jockey Club (gr. III) in April at Hawthorne in his best 2004 outing prior to the Stephen Foster.

"We've raced him very sparingly -- we've raced him seven or eight times a year and we've put him away," said Bindner. "With some horses you just have to wait until they mature, and these Pleasant Colony's are that way. Thankfully, I've got an owner that's willing to do that."

Bindner said Equibase and Daily Racing Form have erroneously listed Colonial Colony as a gelding

"He is a horse," said Bindner. "It needs to be changed."

Runner-up Southern Image is headed back to Southern California later Sunday, trainer Mike Machowsky said.

"I'm happy with way he ran -- he ran great," said Machowsky. "I wish he had been left alone a little bit so he could get a little more comfortable trip, but I guess when you're the big fish everybody is shooting for you."

If nothing else, Machowsky was pleased to seen the Florida-bred son of Halo's Image handle the "sloppy" track in his first racing experience over wet footing.

"He's really getting better and better," he said. "Victor (jockey Victor Espinoza) said he really didn't like (the slop) too much. He was down inside the whole way, but he just sat and was relaxing, so he's doing all right."