Stephen Foster Night winners doing well
Edited Press Release
All five stakes winners on Saturday evening’s card at Churchill Downs exited their wins in good shape, according to their connections.
Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) winner Bradester walked away from his first Grade 1 triumph “better than he had ever come out of a race,” according to trainer Eddie Kenneally’s assistant Ronan Quinn.
“Last night after the race you would have never even thought he had run,” Quinn said. “Sometimes it takes a bit more out of him. He’s an experienced race horse and he’s 100 percent this morning.
“I told Eddie when we were coming back that he wasn’t even blowing so it’s good that way. We walked him this morning and there are no issues there either, which is awesome for this older horse. He finished his feed and he’s back in the routine a lot quicker than most of these things after they run.
“Fingers crossed but everything is positive right now.”
Bradester, who scored the fifth graded win of his career in the Stephen Foster, was victorious in wire-to-wire fashion and set modest fractions of :23.64, :47.58 and 1:11.69 before holding off a rally from late-closing Eagle and Majestic Harbor, who finished a respective second and third.
“The race really just went his way,” Quinn said. “The fact that they left him alone and let him do his thing was a big plus and then he just dug in at the end. But he ran his race at the end. I’m really happy with the way he came home last night. We were pleased after last night but I’m even happier this morning.”
Trainer Al Stall Jr. reported that Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) heroine Paid Up Subscriber, who is now a spotless three-for-three over the Churchill Downs main track, was doing well the morning after her first graded score and is likely to see stakes action at Saratoga next time out.
“Everything seems good,” Stall said. “The way she had been training here really gave me a lot of confidence. Her last few works she was really training like she was somebody.
“I imagine she’ll go to Saratoga. I know that they have a couple races up there. The Spinster ([G1] at Keeneland) maybe would make sense later in the fall. She’s done well at Keeneland before and she has run a couple of really good races up there before.”
Grade 2 victor and Kentucky Derby (G1) third-place finisher Gun Runner is all systems go for the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) on July 31 at Monmouth Park following his effortless victory in the Matt Winn Stakes (G3), according to trainer Steve Asmussen.
“All is good and we’re aiming at the Haskell,” Asmussen said. “We were pleased with his race last night and his confidence level should be exactly where it needs to be to face a Grade 1 field next time.”
Meanwhile an hour down the road in Lexington, Keeneland-based stakes winners Pleuven and Auntie Joy, who scored their first graded wins Saturday night, were doing well Sunday morning, according to their trainers.
Pleuven, winner of the Wise Dan Stakes (G2), is possible to face grades company at Arlington Park next out.
“We’re just kind of taking it in right now,” trainer Phil Sims said by phone from his Keeneland base. “Arlington has some nice stakes coming up so there’s a good chance we’ll end up going there. He came out of (Saturday’s) race great and has been training real well at Keeneland.”
The Wise Dan was only Pleuven’s third start off a 13-month layoff; in his other two starts, the son of Turtle Bowl was a close fifth in an allowance race at Keeneland and a half-length second in the Opening Verse Overnight Stakes on May 20 under the Twin Spires.
“We got him at the first part of the year after his extended layoff and he doesn’t have any trouble,” Sims said. “He had a bad trip in his start at Keeneland, but he was beaten by Vyjack, who is a good horse. He’s gotten better with each start.”
Trainer Brendan Walsh reported that Auntie Joy, who won the Regret Stakes (G3) from gate-to-wire, is a possibility for the $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) on July 9 at Big Sandy.
“Obviously that’s the next logical spot,” Walsh said. “We’ll just have to see how she comes out of this one the next few days. It’s definitely a possibility. It looked like she came out real good. We were delighted with the performance.”
Bradester, Paid Up Subscriber & Gun Runner photos courtesy of Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos