Churchill Downs veteran horseman Greg Foley has run several horses on the undercard of the Kentucky Derby but he's yet to have his first starter in the race. Foley is hoping that could change this year with improving 3-year-old and $150,000 Matt Winn (GIII) contender Major Fed.
“I've been doing this my whole life and always dreamt I would one day have a starter in the Derby,” said 62-year-old Foley. “I grew up in the sport under my father (Dravo) and now my boys (Travis and Alex) are getting involved in the game. It's special to have a horse like this who gives us every sign he will get better with age.”
Major Fed, a 3-year-old son by Ghostzapper, is the seventh foal to hit the racetrack for his dam Bobby's Babe. Foley has trained five of Major Fed's siblings including stakes winner May Lilly and multiple stakes-placed Zapperini.
“(Major Fed) has shown us he has just as much, if not more, talent than his siblings,” Foley said. “They were all solid horses in their own right on the racetrack and we hope Major Fed is just a step above.”
“We drew the inside in the Louisiana Derby and we were what seemed like 20 lengths behind the second to last horse in the race,” Foley said. “To no fault of his own, he was the first horse to be loaded and completely missed the break. Now we drew the 12 hole.”
The full field for the Matt Winn from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Mystic Guide (Brian Hernandez Jr., Mike Stidham, 15-1); Pneumatic (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen, 4-1); Informative (John Bisono, Uriah St. Lewis, 20-1); Celtic Striker (Manny Franco, Ray Handal, 20-1); Flap Jack (Rafael Bejarano, Jack Sisterson, 20-1); Ny Traffic (Paco Lopez, Saffie Joseph Jr., 10-1); Necker Island (Tyler Gaffalione, Stanley Hough, 15-1); Crypto Cash (Corey Lanerie, Kenny McPeek, 20-1); Shake Some Action (Javier Castellano, Brad Cox, 12-1); Maxfield (Jose Ortiz, Brendan Walsh, 5-2); Attachment Rate (Velazquez, Romans, 4-1); and Major Fed (Joel Rosario, Greg Foley, 5-1).
Trainer Mike Stidham reported Friday that Mystic Guide would scratch in favor of an allowance race.
Saturday's Matt Winn is the first race on the revised Road to the Kentucky Derby schedule and will award the Top 4 finishers points on a 50-20-10-5 scale. The Matt Winn is the featured race on Saturday's program that has been dubbed “Stephen Foster Preview Day” and features four additional stakes events: the $100,000 Shawnee (Race 7), $100,000 Tepin (Race 8), $100,000 Blame (Race 9) and $100,000 War Chant (Race 11). First post is 1 p.m. (all times Eastern) and the Matt Winn is slated at 5:44 p.m.
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