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LOUISVILLE, KY – Saturday’s Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) undercard at Churchill Downs is filled with 6 strong stakes ranging from juveniles on dirt to veterans on turf.
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St. George Stable’s multiple Grade 1 winner Letruska, widely regarded as the nation’s top filly or mare, headlines a compact field of six in Saturday’s 46th running of the $300,000 Fleur de Lis (G2) at Churchill Downs.
The Fleur de Lis, at 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares 4 years old and up, is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race for the $4 million Longines Distaff (G1) on November 6 at Del Mar. The winner will receive an all entry fees paid berth to the season ending championship event.
Trained by Fausto Gutierrez, Letruska scored a front-running victory in the $500,000 Ogden Phipps (G1) earlier this month on the Belmont Stakes (G1) undercard. The 5-year-old Super Saver mare has 14 wins from 18 lifetime starts including a victory in the $1 million Apple Blossom (G1) in April where she re-rallied against multiple champion Monomoy Girl.
“She’s in a good condition to run,” Gutierrez said. “This is a very important race. We’re going step by step for now and this is the next race we had in mind. I know it’s just 21 days from the (Ogden Phipps). When a horse wants to run and they’re ready to run, we have to let them run. She’s at Keeneland training and we’re looking forward to getting her to Churchill.”
Letruska Romps in Ogden Phipps
Gutierrez, who was a top trainer in his home country of Mexico, has been primarily training in the U.S. in 2021. Letruska’s only blemish in her 5-year-old campaign was a runner-up effort to Shedaresthedevil in the $350,000 Azeri (G2). Jose Ortiz has the mount in the Fleur de Lis from post position 6.
Among Letruska’s challengers in the Fleur de Lis is Walking L Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm’s Grade 2 winner Envoutante. Trained by Kenny McPeek, Envoutante cruised to a 4 1/4-length victory in last month’s $150,000 Shawnee Stakes, the local prep for the Fleur de Lis on May 29.
Envoutante, a 4-year-old filly by Uncle Mo, finished 2 1/4 lengths behind Letruska in the Azeri. Arguably the biggest win in Envoutante’s career was a 6-length win in last year’s $200,000 Falls City (G2) at Churchill Downs.
Her regular pilot Brian Hernandez Jr. will be in the saddle from post 4.
Envoutante Wires Falls City
Another top filly that entered the Fleur de Lis is Robert and Lawana Low’s $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff Match Series (G3) winner Spice Is Nice. The Curlin filly is a 4-time winner for trainer Todd Pletcher and is out of Pletcher’s former Grade 1-winning mare Dame Dorothy. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez has the mount from post 5.
Also entered in the Fleur de Lis is Kueber Racing, Barlar LLC, Madaket Stables, and Little Red Feather Racing’s recent $200,000 Ruffian (G2) winner Vault. The Brad Cox trainee will attempt to get her first victory at 1 1/8 miles. The 7 time-winning mare will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione from post 3.
The complete field for the Fleur de Lis from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Point of Honor (Javier Castellano, Shug McGaughey); Antoinette (Florent Geroux, Bill Mott); Vault (Gaffalione, Cox); Envoutante (Hernandez, McPeek); Spice Is Nice (Velazquez, Pletcher); Letruska (Ortiz, Gutierrez).
Stephen Foster Preview: Maxfield Outclasses Field
Juddmonte’s multiple stakes winner Set Piece along with Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable’s 2-time Grade 2 winner Somelikeithotbrown lead a field of 10 older horses entered in Saturday’s $300,000 Wise Dan (G2).
Set Piece, trained by Brad Cox, enters the Wise Dan on a 2-race win streak. The 5-year-old gelded son of Dansili cruised to a dominating 4-length victory in last month’s $85,000 Douglas Park Overnight Stakes, the local prep for the Wise Dan. In his previous start, Set Piece defeated a field of eight in the 1-mile $105,000 Opening Verse. Set Piece was formerly under the care of Hugo Palmer in Europe prior to Juddmonte shipping him to the U.S. in 2020. Overall, Set Piece has recorded 8 wins from 15 starts with earnings of $257,044. Florent Geroux has the return call from the rail.
Two posts to the outside of Set Piece is 7-time winner Somelikeithotbrown. Trained by Mike Maker, Somelikeithotbrown won the $200,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park in 2019. More recently, the son of Big Brown recorded a 1-length win in the $250,000 Dinner Party Stakes (G2) at Pimlico on the Preakness Stakes (G1) undercard. Jockey Jose Ortiz will have the call.
Set Piece Romps in Inaugural Douglas Park
Other accomplished horses entered in the Wise Dan are Three Diamonds Farm’s 3-time Grade 3 winner Field Pass and John Oxley and My Meadowview Farm’s $175,000 Kennedy Road (G2) winner and $300,000 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) runner-up Ride a Comet.
The complete field for the Wise Dan from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Set Piece (Geroux, Cox); Mutakatif (Mitchell Murrill, Alberta Davies); Somelikeithotbrown (Ortiz, Maker); Super Sol (Gabriel Saez, Juan Cano); Hierarchy (Adam Beschizza, Joe Sharp); Kentucky Ghost (Rafael Bejarano, Vicki Oliver); Ride a Comet (Tyler Gaffalione, Mark Casse); Field Pass (Ricardo Santana Jr., Maker); Spooky Channel (John Velazquez, Jason Barkley); and In Love (Joe Talamo, Paulo Lobo).
Robert Masterson’s 2 1/2-length debut winner Glacial, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ 1 3/4-length victor Red Run, and Willis Horton Racing’s 1 1/2-length first-out winner Lansdowne top a field of 11 2-year-olds entered in Saturday’s 120th running of the $150,000 Bashford Manor (Grade 3) at Churchill Downs.
Glacial, trained by Norm Casse, won his first career start under jockey Joe Talamo. The son of Frosted completed 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.99 and earned an 80 Brisnet Speed Rating. The gray colt will break from post 4 under Talamo.
Five posts to the outside of Glacial is Red Run. Trained by record 6-time Bashford Manor winner Steve Asmussen, the homebred rallied from 3 lengths off the early pace in his debut win over the sloppy surface at Churchill Downs at odds of 3/5 under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. Red Run is by the former Asmussen-trained champion Gun Runner. Santana will have the return call for Saturday’s Bashford Manor.
Lansdowne was a minor 5/1 upset winner in his debut for trainer Dallas Stewart. The Super Saver colt recorded a front-running score in a 5-furlong maiden special weight contest on May 22. Veteran jockey Jon Court will have the mount from post 2.
The complete field for the Bashford Manor from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Vodka N Water (Jose Ortiz, Asmussen); Landsdowne (Court, Stewart); Tapped Off (Drayden Van Dyke, Darrin Williams); Glacial (Talamo, Casse); Whatstheconnection (Marcelino Pedroza, John Ennis); Knocker Down (Cindy Murphy, Travis Murphy); Whislewhileyoumow (Gabriel Saez, Jon Arnett); Double Thunder (John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher); Red Run (Santana, Asmussen); Rising Outlaw (Rafael Bejarano, Jimmy Chapman); Shesgotattitude (James Graham, Ennis).
Deuce Greathouse and Cindy Hutson’s Churchill Downs debut winner Ontheonesandtwos tops a field of 10 2-year-old fillies entered in Saturday’s 120th running of the $150,000 Debutante beneath the historic Twin Spires.
Trained by Norm Casse, Ontheonesandtwos cruised to a 1 3/4-length debut victory on May 13 at Churchill Downs at odds of 6/1. The Jimmy Creed filly earned a stout 89 Brisnet Speed Rating for her victory. Jockey Florent Geroux has the return mount from post position 8.
Another potential star filly entered in the Debutante is Corinne and Bill Heiligbrodt and Spendthrift Farm’s Tizplenty. Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the Speightstown filly broke her maiden in her second start by 1 3/4 lengths under Ricardo Santana Jr. Her victory earned a 90 Brisnet Speed Rating. Santana will ride Tizplenty from post 3.
The complete field for the Debutante from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Wicked Halo (Jose Ortiz, Asmussen); Cartel Queen (Colby Hernandez, Tom Amoss); Tizplenty (Santana, Asmussen); Classiness (Gabriel Saez, Jason Barkley); Catchusifyoucan (Adam Beschizza, Bret Calhoun); Mollie Kate (James Graham, John Ennis); Behave Virginia (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Ontheonesandtwos (Geroux, Casse); Compressed Energy (Fernando De La Cruz, Genaro Garcia); and Mi Estrella (Marceleno Pedroza, Garcia).
Adventuring Wins Bourbonette Oaks
Godolphin’s stakes-winning homebred Adventuring will attempt turf for the first time in Saturday’s wide-open second running of the $150,000 Tepin Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Brad Cox, Adventuring was the 2-length winner of the $150,000 Bourbonette Oaks in late March at Turfway Park. The daughter of Pioneerof the Nile is out of the former Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Questing. The 4 time-winning mare also produced 2-time winner Romantic Pursuit, who finished second in last year’s $150,000 The Very One Stakes (G3) on the turf at Gulfstream Park. Adventuring will be ridden by John Velazquez from post 7.
Other top contenders entered in the Tepin are Terry Hamilton, Brian Lynch and Gary Barber’s 2-time stakes winner Tobys Heart; Barry and Carol Conrad’s stakes winner New Boss; Michael Ryan, Jeff Drown and Team Valor International’s 4-time stakes runner-up Invincible Gal; and Miacomet Farm and Michael Pietrangelo’s $300,000 Edgewood (G2) second-place finisher Barista.
The complete field for the Tepin from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Invincible Gal; Sylvia Q (Ricardo Santana Jr., Phil Bauer); Fairchild (Gabriel Saez, Mark Casse); Town Avenger (Drayden Van Dyke, Brian Lynch); Navratilova (Brian Hernandez Jr., Rusty Arnold II); Bullseye Beauty (Julie Burke, Andrew McKeever); Adventuring (Velazquez, Cox); Tobys Heart (Javier Castellano, Lynch); Malloy (Joe Talamo, Wayne Catalano); New Boss (Adam Beschizza, Bret Calhoun); Commanders Palace (Florent Geroux, Mark Casse); Barista (James Graham, Jimmy Baker); and Arm Candy (Tyler Gaffalione, Steve Asmussen).
D. J. Stable’s $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Helium will attempt turf for the first time as the headliner in Saturday’s $150,000 War Chant Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Mark Casse, Helium finished eighth in the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1). Helium broke his maiden over the Tapeta surface at Woodbine and won the $100,000 Display Stakes prior to making his first start on dirt in the Tampa Bay Derby. He is by multiple turf graded stakes winner Ironicus and out of the dam Thundering Emilia, who ran 17 times on turf with a record of 2-4-2. Helium’s half-sister Mighty Scarlett is Grade 3-placed on the turf. Churchill Downs leading rider Tyler Gaffalione was named to ride Helium from post 7.
Helium Upsets Tampa Bay Derby
The War Chant field also includes Steve Landers Racing’s 2-time stakes winner Royal Prince. Trained by Brad Cox, the Cairo Prince colt finished third in his last start in the $150,000 Audubon, the local prep race for the War Chant on May 29. Jockey Florent Geroux has the mount from post 5.
The complete War Chat field from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Accredit (Sophie Doyle, Pavel Matejka); Starrininmydreams (Jose Ortiz, Dallas Stewart); In Effect (Adam Beschizza, Jack Sisterson); Dyn O Mite (Brian Hernandez Jr., Keith Desormeaux); Royal Prince (Geroux, Cox); El Kabong (James Graham, Rusty Arnold II); Helium (Gaffalione, Casse); and Next (John Velazquez, Wesley Ward).
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