This weekend's graded stakes action is highlighted by the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on Saturday evening. The night's card will also feature a parade by recent Triple Crown winner Justify, as well as the presentation of the Kentucky Derby trophies to his connections.
Leading the field for the Stephen Foster is Chad Brown trainee Backyard Heaven, an easy winner last time out in the Alysheba. Jockey Irad Ortiz is in to ride the son of Tizway, who will take on a group of eight others in the Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” Challenge race. Top contenders are Irish War Cry, Pavel, Honorable Duty, and fan-favorite Patch.
Earlier on Churchill's card, the G2 Wise Dan features a matchup between champion World Approval and Divisidero, usually a force on the Louisville lawn. Also in the field are Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Shining Copper and locally-trained star Mr. Misunderstood.
In the G2 Fleur de Lis, Farrell is the slight favorite on the morning line, though her front-running speed may leave her vulnerable to Blue Prize and Valadorna.
At Santa Anita on Saturday, the G2 Summertime Oaks features East Coast invader Chocolate Martini for trainer Tom Amoss. The six-horse field also includes a Bob Baffert-trained sophomore filly, Thirteen Squared, who has been knocking on the door in recent starts and could be poised for a big effort.
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