A fine field of eight will compete in the lucrative $500,000 Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs on Saturday. In addition to a hefty payday, the winner will also earn a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) as part of the “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series event.

Stephen Foster Analysis

#2 Pirate’s Punch is the inside speed of the field and will be sent at the break by Mike Smith. The Shanghai Bobby gelding will be prompted to go fairly quick in the early stages of the race.

Longshot #3 Alkhaatam and #7 Silver Dust will be forcing the pacesetter along the backstretch, with #5 Tom’s d’Etat and #6 By My Standards never far back. The others in the cast will be making runs from well off the tempo.

When searching for value in the field, I continue to come back to Bret Calhoun’s Silver Dust. The Tapit gelding might have a bit less upside than his more lightly raced foes, but the 6-year-old figures to receive a very good trip while getting first run on the favorites.

Silver Dust has run well from four starts in 2020, which includes a very good third on the oval most recently which will serve as a nice prep for this endeavor. Gray has won or placed six times from eight assignments at Churchill Downs, and one of his top performances came in the Lukas Classic (G3) at nine furlongs in September. Adam Beschizza will be in the stirrups.

Tom’s d’Etat and By My Standards have both impressed in 2020 in going a combined four-for-four. The former was a smart third in the race in 2019, has impeccable form, as well as a great string of morning drills leading up to the event.

The latter has progressed in fine fashion from three to four. Calhoun pupil is tactical and possesses a big late punch, too. Goldencents colt looms a menacing figure with his best showing.

#8 Owendale is a very talented contender who figures to improve in his second start of the season. Bay colt is mostly a one-run closing type, and he faces a tall task to pass some excellent horses en route to victory. But, the Brad Cox charge will be on most of my tickets.

Stephen Foster Wagers

  • $2 Exacta Key Box: 7 with 5,6,8 ($12)
  • $3 Trifecta: 5,6 with 7 with 5,6,8 ($12)
  • $3 Trifecta: 7 with 5,6 with 5,6,8 ($12)
  • $.50-cent Superfecta: 7 with 5,6 with 5,6,8 with all ($10)
  • $.50-cent Superfecta 5,6 with 7 with 5,6,8 with all ($10)