Review of Stephen Foster Stakes, (G2), at Churchill Downs on June 15

The Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs on June 15 is  a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

Race 8. Stephen Foster Stakes (G2). For three-year-old and up at 1 1/8 miles on dirt. Purse $600,000.


PP Horse Jockey Trainer M/L
1 Thirstforlife Miguel Mena Wesley E. Hawley 15/1
2 Rated R Superstar Rodney A. Prescott Cipriano Contreras 20/1
3 Runaway Ghost Julien R. Leparoux Todd W. Fincher 20/1
4 Seeking the Soul John R. Velazquez Dallas Stewart 4/1
5 Alkhaatam Channing Hill Daniel C. Peitz 30/1
6 Gift Box Joel Rosario John W. Sadler 3/1
7 Tenfold Ricardo Santana, Jr. Steven M. Asmussen 12/1
8 King Zachary Javier Castellano H. Graham Motion 12/1
9 Tom’s d’Etat Shaun Bridgmohan Albert M. Stall, Jr. 5/1
10 Quip Florent Geroux Rodolphe Brisset 10/1
11 Exulting Tyler Gaffalione Michael J. Maker 20/1
12 Yoshida Jose L. Ortiz William I. Mott 7/2

Thirstforlife watched a speed duel between American Anthem and Conquest Tsunami and both of the leaders run out of “gas”. He was able to pass the empty leaders for a win. He will need to do much more than wait against this field for a spot on the board. He will need help to find a spot on the board.

Rated R Superstar finished sixth in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2), but two starts ago he won the Essex Handicap over the same track. Three back, he finished a closing third in the Razorback Handicap (G3). He had a more performance in a recent outing over a sloppy track. He will need a very fast pace to have a chance of using his closing kick for a spot on the board. Should finish in top six.

Runaway Ghost ran well in all his Sunland Park races this year, but had poor outing away from Sunland. He finished last by over 26 lengths in the Commonwealth Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. He needs to prove that he can be competitive away from Sunland. He should not be a factor.

Seeking the Soul has the talent but when will he prove his ability. If he shows up for this race , he has a chance on finishing in top three. But if he runs like he did  in the Dubai World Cup (G1) and last year’s Woodward Stakes (G1) then he will not be a factor. If everything goes well, he could finish in top four. 

Alkhaatam acts like a horse trying to decide where he likes to be in a race. He ran  fourth in the 2017 Remsen Stakes (G2). He came back this year in razor-sharp form, breaking his maiden by more than seven lengths and taking a local allowance by more than three. He should finish in the top three. 

Gift Box won the San Antonio Stakes (G2) and Santa Anita Handicap (G1) before a close second in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita to Vino Rosso. He is great form and should be in the top two. 

Tenfold won the Pimlico Special. He will need to improve against this field to finish in the top three.

King Zachary won the Matt Winn Stakes (G3) last summer over this course. He has not repeated that winning performance. His return this year resulted in a third  in an allowance race. He should not be factor at the wire.

Tom’s d’Etat showed little in the Alysheba Stakes (G2), but that was behind McKinzie. The distance will not be an issue, he won going of nine furlongs at Saratoga.  He will try to set the pace and should be near the leaders at the wire. 

Quip won the Oaklawn Handicap over the slop. He ran third in the Hal’s Hope Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream two back, although it came off the layoff. He needs race on a on fast dirt against lower level competition. He should finish in top six. 

Exulting won the Oaklawn Mile but looks over classed in this race. He was a win at  nine-furlong victory. He should not be a factor.

Yoshida two 2019 starts have been weak. He finished sixth in both the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) and Dubai World Cup. He has the class to be competitive against this field. He finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and won the Woodward last year. His chances to be on the board increase if the pace is fast. He should finish in top four.

Our Top Three Picks: 

  • Tom’s d’Etat
  • Alkhaatam
  • Gift Box

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