The Grade II, $500,000 Stephen Foster Stakes highlights the closing Saturday card at Churchill Downs. A field of eight, including top-flight handicap horses TOM’S D’ETAT and BY MY STANDARDS, will contest this 1 1/8-mile race. Post time for the Stephen Foster, Race 10 on an 11-race program, is 5:47 p.m. ET. The winner will receive an automatic berth to November’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland.
#5 TOM’S D’ETAT (EVEN, morning-line favorite) enters the Stephen Foster on a three-race win streak, all graded stakes. That includes his Grade I Clark score over this course two starts ago. The seven-year-old son of Smart Strike can handle any kind of going and is 8-5-0-1 at this distance. The only knock on TOM’S D’ETAT is that Joel Rosario did not come down from Belmont for the call. However, he’s aboard Breeders’ Cup Mile winner UNI in the Grade I Just A Game for Chad Brown. Al Stall names Miguel Mena as the replacement rider.
#6 BY MY STANDARDS (5-2) also puts a three-race win streak on the line in the Stephen Foster. He crushed allowance foes at the Fair Grounds before stepping up to score in the Grade II New Orleans. Then he went to Oaklawn and took the Grade II Oaklawn Handicap in decisive fashion. BY MY STANDARDS will once again have Gabriel Saez in the irons.
#8 OWENDALE (4-1) should be rolling late under Florent Geroux in this one. He closed into a fast pace to score in the Blame Stakes to prep for the Stephen Foster. OWENDALE will have to turn the tables on the top choice, who beat him handily in the Clark two-back.
#7 SILVER DUST (10-1) was well-beaten by BY MY STANDARDS two starts ago before being caught late by OWENDALE. Prior to those efforts, he won two straight Grade IIIs at the Fair Grounds. SILVER DUST is talented enough to land a share on Saturday and may be up close to a slow pace under Adam Beschizza.
The play: $4 exacta 5/6,8, $2 exacta 5/7, $2 exacta 6/5 ($12)
Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking