Close menu
Churchill Downs Picks | Stephen Foster Stakes 2024
First Mission (McCarlee Perkins)

Churchill Downs Picks | Stephen Foster Stakes 2024

Aaron previews the 2024 Stephen Foster Stakes (G1) from Churchill Downs & gives his top win pick from this “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

After splashing home victorious in the Alysheba Stakes (G2), will First Mission finally win his 1st top-level race & punch his ticket to the biggest hosre race at the World Championships?

Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments!

SMASH the *Thumbs Up* ~ HIT *Subscribe* ~ RING the *Notification* bell

The press release:

Godolphin’s talented homebred First Mission, an impressive winner of the Alysheba Stakes (Grade II) on the Kentucky Oaks undercard, headlines a competitive field of nine older horses that entered next Saturday’s 43rd running of the $1 million Stephen Foster Stakes (GI) at Churchill Downs.

Carded as Race 11 of 12, the Stephen Foster is the highlight of a stakes-filled program at Churchill Downs that also includes:

  • The $500,000 Fasig-Tipton Fleur de Lis (GII)
  • The $500,000 Wise Dan (GII)
  • The $250,000 American Derby (Listed)
  • The $250,000 Kelly’s Landing (Listed)
  • The $250,000 Tepin (Listed)

First post is 12:45 p.m. (all times Eastern) and the field for the Stephen Foster will go to post at 6:03 p.m.

Churchill Downs Full Card Plays Available Now

There’s a reason we’re the #1 trusted source for premium racing picks & info.

Run at 1 1/8 miles, the Stephen Foster is the marquee race of the Churchill Downs Spring Meet following Kentucky Derby Week. The Stephen Foster also is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and is a “Win and You’re In Classic Division” race. The winner will earn a spot in the starting gate for the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) at Del Mar with a free automatic entry to the race.

First Mission, a 4-year-old son of Street Sense, is based locally for trainer Brad Cox. The five-time winner has an impressive resumé with other graded stakes scores in the Lexington Stakes (GIII) at Keeneland and Essex Handicap (GIII) at Oaklawn Park. First Mission will be ridden in the Stephen Foster by Florent Geroux out of post No. 2.

Another talented runner in Saturday’s race is Daniel Alonso’s eight-time winner Skippylongstocking, who enters the Stephen Foster following a two-length score in the Oaklawn Handicap on April 20. Trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., Skippylongstocking was highly regarded from a young age. As a 3-year-old, the son of Exaggerator won the West Virginia Derby (GIII) and Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (GIII). Last year, Skippylongstocking tallied graded stakes scores in the Challenger Stakes (GIII) and Charles Town Classic (GII).

To begin his 5-year-old season, Skippylongstocking had a troubled journey in the Pegasus World Cup (GI) and pulled up halfway through the race. However, Skippylongstocking returned six weeks later and defended his title in the Challenger Stakes before his victory in the Oaklawn Handicap. Jockey Jose Ortiz will have the mount in the Stephen Foster from post 9.

Also entered in the Stephen Foster is the talented Pyrenees, the winner of the Pimlico Special (GIII) for owner Blue Haven Farm and trainer Cherie DeVaux. The son of Into Mischief enters the Stephen Foster following four-consecutive victories. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. rides from the rail.

The Stephen Foster field also includes trainer Todd Pletcher’s duo of 2023 Louisiana Derby (GII) winner Kingsbarns and Pennsylvania Derby (GI) runner-up Dreamlike; Winchell Thoroughbreds’ 2023 Travers (GI) runner-up Disarm; Alexandres’ multiple graded stakes winner Il Miracolo; and Gulfstream Park Mile (GII) winner Steal Sunshine.

Here is the complete field for the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs from the rail out (with jockey and trainer):