Betting With, and Against, First Mission in the Stephen Foster Stakes

June 27th, 2024

Stephen Foster Stakes Picks

First Mission – With

$1 superfecta 2 with 4,5 with 1,4,5,9 with all ($36)

First Mission – Against

$.50-cent superfecta 4,5 with 2,4,5 with 1,2,4,5,9 with all ($36)

Stephen Foster Stakes Analysis

A very talented field of nine will travel 1 1/8 miles on the Churchill Downs dirt in Saturday’s $1 million Stephen Foster S. (G1). The feature on a huge day of racing is led by recent Alysheba (G2) romper #2 First Mission (6-5) for trainer Brad Cox. The Godolphin homebred was a good three-year-old but has taken his game to a new level in his previous two efforts this year. 

ANDERSON: Grade 1 Stephen Foster Stakes trends and field analysis

First Mission was a five-length winner of the Essex (G3) two back and has earned his two best Brisnet Speed figures on this surface. A strong second in the Clark (G2) in November, the Street Sense colt comes in with a pair of swift five-furlong morning drills and he will be in the race from the start. Florent Geroux retains the mount atop the formidable four-year-old. 

I loved the progression of #4 Disarm (8-1) last season and fully expect him to be a major player in his division this campaign for Steve Asmussen. The Gun Runner chestnut, who came home a fine second in the Travers S. (G1) to cap his three-year-old year, was a measured allowance winner to commence his 2024 season. The colt rated kindly on the lead through dawdling splits and closed well in that triumph, and horses from this barn often improve second time off the layoff, in general. The Winchell homebred will have Joel Rosario in the controls. 

#5 Dreamlike (10-1) is the lone horse in the cast to have never won a graded race but he is long on talent and his day will come sooner rather than later. Also a son of Gun Runner, the Todd Pletcher pupil will have the blinkers back on and he’s a candidate to peak while making his third run of the year. He was inconsistent as a sophomore, but the colt also ran some huge races, most notably a fine runner-up effort in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1). If he can be in range at the top of the lane, then I envision him being right there at the wire. Irad Ortiz Jr. riding adds to his appeal.