Unshaded and Mike Pegram's Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner Captain Steve highlight a likely field of eight to 10 of America's top older horses in the 20th running of the 1 1/8-mile Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. II), which will be the racing centerpiece of the first "Stephen Foster Super Saturday" at Churchill Downs.
The festivities that day include four stakes with total purses of $1.3 million -- the second richest day of stakes competition in the history of the Louisville track exceeded only by Kentucky Derby Day. Along with the $750,000 Stephen Foster, the day's racing schedule includes the $300,000-added Fleur de Lis (GIII) for fillies and mares 3-&-up; the $150,000-added Regret (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies on the turf; and the $100,000-added Northern Dancer Handicap, an overnight handicap for 3-year-olds at a mile.
Unshaded, winner of the Travers (gr. I) completed his serious training Tuesday with a five-furlong workout in 1:02 4/5 under exercise rider Tracy Wilkes. Trainer Carl Nafzger that his 4-year-old gelded son of 1990 Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled, who was also trained by Nafzger, is ready for a big effort.
After the Travers, Unshaded went to the sidelines with a strained tendon. His only race since then was an impressive allowance win at 1 1/16-miles at Churchill Downs on May 17.
"He worked the way you're supposed to," Nafzger said. "We'll get a hundred percent on Saturday. You can train all you want to, but the horse has to carry you."Foster Notes:
William Clifton, Jr.'s Pleasant Breeze has dropped off the list of likely starters in the Stephen Foster. Trainer H. James Bond informed Churchill Downs officials that heavy rain at Saratoga has compromised the horse's training and he has decided against the trip to Louisville by the winner of the Saratoga Breeders' Cup (gr. II)...Stronach Stable's Milwaukee Brew is off the list of "possibles" for the Stephen Foster. Trainer Joe Orseno plans to run his horse in a handicap race in Maryland that day...Trainer Patrick Byrne said jockey Jon Court would ride Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) winner Duckhorn in the Stephen Foster...The likely field for the Stephen Foster now includes: Captain Steve, Unshaded, Brahms, Connected, Da Devil, Duckhorn, Graeme Hall, and Jadada. Possible entrants include American Halo and Chicago Six.