Champion Will Take Charge, winner of the Clark H. (G1) on this oval in the fall, will lead a strong cast postward in Saturday’s $500,000 Stephen Foster H. (G1). Trained by D Wayne Lukas, the burly son of Unbridled’s Song was not at his best last time in the Alysheba S. (G2) on Derby Day but caught a tough surface to work with at a trip less than his ideal, and he still looms the one to beat in this encounter. The superb chestnut will be tough.
2013 Super Derby (G2) star Departing was an allowance winner in his 2014 bow on this surface most recently and should be very fresh for conditioner Al Stall, Jr. The gelded four-year-old son of War Front has been training very well and could be set for a big second half of the season. Revolutionary was a very game winner from last to first in the Pimlico Special (G3) and could be the main danger for Todd Pletcher. The dark bay colt by War Pass will be relaxed early and getting into gear nearing the top of the stretch.
The streaking Moonshine Mullin has rolled home in four straight wins, including the Alysheba S. (G2) most recently, and might be the one to catch for conditioner Randy Morse. The rising son of Albert the Great is getting better with age and we wouldn’t ignore him on this strip. Multiple Grade 1-placed Golden Ticket comes off a nice try in a prep for this event and gives trainer Ken McPeek a big chance at a nice payday with his top performance. Multiple Grade 1 victor Alpha, Prayer for Relief, who just missed in the Pimlico Special, should have value once again for Steve Asmussen.
Multiple stakes hero Long River, Oaklawn H. (G2) third Carve and swift allowance winner Bellarmine, are also set for this fine race.
A trio of graded stakes races are on the Foster undercard, including the $200,000 Fleur de Lis H. (G2). La Troienne S. (G1) starlet On Fire Baby has been razor-sharp against top competition in her last two runs on this campaign and rates as the one to beat in here for trainer Gary Hartlage. The five-year-old mare by Smoke Glacken is 3-for-5 on this strip and could surely be the one with a top showing.
Recent Ruffian S. (G2) victress Fiftyshadesofhay, Flashy American last seen taking the Sixty Sails H. (G3) at Hawthorne, La Troienne S. (G1) runner-up Molly Morgan, stakes winner Ondine and Vicky Oliver’s Frivolous, are also signed on for this affair.
Grade 3 winner Tapiture will make his first run since a try in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and tackle a decent field in the $100,000 Matt Winn S. (G3). Trained by Steve Asmussen, the sophomore son of Tapit has shown a lot of ability this campaign and the cut back in distance might do the trick for the capable colt.
Almost Famous was a sensational allowance winner here to prepare for the race and could be ready to put it all together for trainer Pat Byrne. The dark bay son of Unbridled’s Song loves this oval with a 3-for-4 local mark and could be ready to peak after the short layoff. 2013 Iroquois S. (G3) star Cleburne, Holy Bull S. (G2) second Conquest Titan and Baffert’s The Admiral, look like the main dangers to the standout filly.
Capping the stakes action at Churchill is the $100,000 Regret S. (G3), with Grade 3 winner Tepin, Fantasy S. (G3) runner-up Kiss Moon, Appalachian S. (G3) vixen Daring Dancer, Grade 3 heroine Aurelia’s Belle, Edgewood S. queen A Little Bit Sassy, among the top draws for this grassy affair.