Betting with, and against, Mandaloun in the Stephen Foster Stakes
A fantastic field of seven will travel 1 1/8 miles on the Churchill Downs main surface in Saturday’s lucrative $750,000 Stephen Foster S. (G2). 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner #6 Mandaloun (2-1) is the deserving morning-line choice in the field for conditioner Brad Cox.
The son of top sire Into Mischief capped his three-year-old season with a victory in the Haskell Invitational S. (G1) at Monmouth Park, and the Juddmonte homebred picked up where he left off with a sharp Louisiana S. (G3) score at Fair Grounds to commence 2022. In his latest assignment, the bay was empty late when contesting the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1).
Mandaloun likes Churchill, he comes in fresh after posting an octet of well-spaced morning drills, and the colt also landed a fine post near the outside which will allow him and pilot Florent Geroux to stalk the pace to his inside. The obvious win contender will be ranging up to the leaders approaching the turn for home.
As much as I respect Mandaloun, I have some concerns about him in this spot, led by the quality of opposition that he will face on Saturday. The four-year-old, in my opinion, has to prove himself over a deep field of elders before I can back him with total confidence at a short price.
I have tabbed #3 Olympiad (5-2) on numerous occasions and will continue to do so until he proves me wrong. Trained by Bill Mott, the budding superstar is four-for-four by a combined 14 lengths in 2022, which includes a stout tally in the New Orleans Classic S. (G2) at the nine-furlong distance. The Speightstown colt still has room to improve with nine races under his belt to this stage of his development, and his versatile running style also makes him a formidable foe. Junior Alvarado retains the mount atop the surging four-year-old.
#5 Proxy (9-2) might be the value of the race from an exotics standpoint. The consistently good Michael Stidham trainee has run some of the better races in his career at the distance, and he tuned up for Saturday with a fine runner-up finish in the Blame S. on the oval.
Cigar Mile (G1) star #2 Anamericanrevolution (7-2) is obviously talented, but I simply don’t love him in this spot. The Constitution colt could prove me wrong, but I will limit his inclusion to the lower rungs of the trifecta.
Mandaloun – With
- $30 exacta: 6 with 3 ($30)
- $10 trifecta: key 6 with 3, 5 ($20)
Mandaloun – Against
- $8 trifecta: 3 with 5, 6 with 2, 5, 6 ($32)
- $3 trifecta: 3 with 5 with all ($15)