Cox Confident Owendale Will Take ‘Next Step Forward’ In Stephen Foster

Rupp Racing’s multiple Grade III winner Owendale (by leading sire Into Mischief) will attempt to take a step forward to become one of the top older horses in the country in Saturday’s $500,000 Stephen Foster (GII) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

“He’s only had one start this year (in the $100,000 Blame) but his victory was visually very impressive for us,” trainer Brad Cox said. “It’s only one race but we’re hoping he keeps showing that positive progression from a 3-year-old to an older 4-year-old. The Blame was a one-turn race, which is not his preferred distance and a distance he hasn’t run at in several starts. The 1 1/8-mile distance in the Stephen Foster should definitely suit him better and we’re confident he can take that next step forward to becoming one of the top handicap horses in the country.”

Saturday’s Stephen Foster is the marquee race of the 2020 Spring Meet at Churchill Downs with the winner receiving an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) on Nov. 7 at Keeneland.

The Stephen Foster has had a strong influence on the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Horse of the Year honors. Four horses used victories in the Stephen Foster as part of their résumés in Horse of the Year campaigns: Black Tie Affair (1991), Saint Liam (2005), Curlin (2008) and Gun Runner (2017). In addition, two runner-ups were crowned Horse of the Year: Mineshaft (2003) and Wise Dan (2012). Also, Awesome Again (1998) and Blame (2010) completed same-year Foster-Classic doubles. Fort Larned won the Classic in 2012, and won the Foster the following year prior to a fourth-place run in his bid for a second Classic win.

Owendale was made the 4-1 third choice on the morning line for Saturday’s Stephen Foster and his regular pilot Florent Geroux will be in the irons. The Stephen Foster is carded as Race 10 of 11 with a post time of 5:47 p.m.

The complete field for the Stephen Foster (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Fearless (John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher, 12-1); Pirate’s Punch (Mike Smith, Grant Forster, 15-1); Alkhaatam (Declan Cannon, Danny Peitz, 30-1); Multiplier(Tyler Gaffalione, Peter Miller, 10-1); Tom’s d’Etat (Miguel Mena, Al Stall Jr., even-money); By My Standards (Gabriel Saez, Calhoun, 5-2); Silver Dust (Beschizza, Calhoun, 10-1); and Owendale (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox, 4-1).

The post Cox Confident Owendale Will Take ‘Next Step Forward’ In Stephen Foster appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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