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Image for Brian Zipse Brian Zipse - Updated October 14, 2022

Stephen Foster Stakes: Caddo River Is a Horse Who Flashed Plenty of Potential

Stephen Foster Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
R Santana Jr B Cox
L Saez T Pletcher
J Alvarado W Mott
B J Hernandez Jr D Stewart
5 PROXY 9/2
J Rosario M Stidham
F Geroux B Cox
J Court D W Lukas

Stephen Foster Picks and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($50 in total)

$20 Win – Caddo River = $20

$10 Exacta box – Caddo River and Olympiad = $20

$5 Exacta box – Caddo River and Proxy = $10

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top upset pick Caddo River (10/1).

Check out our Horse Racing Calculator to ensure your bets!

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Stephen Foster Stakes Ricardo Santana Jr

Moved up to first in last year’s Kentucky Derby, Mandaloun returns to Churchill Downs to headline a strong field of seven older males set for Saturday’s $750,000 Stephen Foster.

The morning line 2/1 choice is a son of Into Mischief who won last year’s Derby following the disqualification of Medina Spirit. He finished ninth most recently in the $20 million Saudi Cup.

The four-time graded stakes winner was a determined winner over a good field in the Grade 3 Louisiana to start the year. Saturday’s Grade 2 tilt at Churchill Downs will be his first race since his overseas disappointment in late February.

Mandaloun may wind up the favorite, but the streaking Olympiad might be the one to beat. Trained by Bill Mott, the talented son of Speightstown is perfect in four starts this year and is listed as the 5/2 second choice.

Promising earlier in his career he has turned things up a notch as a 4-year-old. After a romping allowance win in Florida, he has reeled off decisive graded stakes wins in the Mineshaft, New Orleans Classic, and Alysheba.

Grade 1 winner Americanrevolution is next on the morning line at 7/2. The son of Constitution has made only one start this year after closing out 2021 with a win in the Cigar Mile.

The 1 1/8-mile Stephen Foster is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on Saturday, November 5.

Stephen Foster Predictions and Race Analysis


Generally speaking, this son of Into Mischief has been a very consistent runner, having done well in eight of his ten career starts. Twice, though, he threw in a clunker. The first happened last year in the Louisiana Derby and he was able to bounce back with a big effort in the Kentucky Derby.

This time he comes to the Foster off a poor effort in Saudi Arabia. Based at Churchill Downs, there is good reason to believe he can bounce back like he did in the Derby, but this time it will come after a trip overseas and a better than four month layoff.

The grade 1 performer is certainly classy, but I am getting mixed signals in a very tough return race. Enough so to lay off him here as the morning line favorite.


After a disappointing effort when fourth in the Cigar Mile behind Americanrevolution, this son of Speightstown has looked unstoppable in winning four straight. That loss at Aqueduct can be excused, as well, as he had a tough trip.

In winning an allowance race big and then three consecutive graded stakes for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, he has used the same stalk and pounce trip to take over and cruise home. The most recent of his wins came at Churchill Downs when he turned away Happy Saver.

There is plenty to like overall with this one as he faces his toughest test yet. Another performance like his recent ones could well be enough to run his winning streak to five. In a tough heat, he looks like the one to beat.


I’m not sure how important this stat is, but this son of Constitution has yet to win outside of New York. Unbeaten in five starts in the Empire State, he is now 0-for-3 elsewhere after running third in last month’s Blame Stakes.

The local prep for the Stephen Foster was not all bad, considering it was his first start in six months, but he will need to step up his game if he wants to win this. He is eligible to do that, having closed out his 3-year-old campaign with a very nice win in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile.

This spot is even tougher, though. Trained by Todd Pletcher, I do look for another solid effort on Saturday, but my feeling is that the New York-bred is more likely to finish third or fourth rather than winning the Foster.


A winner of his last three against non-stakes competition, this well-bred son of Tapit has yet to break through in seven tries against stakes company. He continues to be competitive against very good competition, hitting the board each time, but has only four runner-up finishes to show for his efforts.

He comes into the Stephen Foster off another very solid performance, finishing second behind Dynamic One, and ahead of Scalding and Americanrevolution, in the local Blame Stakes.

He’ll need a career best to win on Saturday, but his current form suggests he’s in with a shot. He also figures to sit a nice trip at a track and trip that suits him.

Last Samurai

The son of Malibu Moon was clearly a cut below the best last year, but slowly but surely has been developing into a very nice horse. In four consecutive races at Oaklawn Park starting in December, he has two nice wins and a solid second.

His most recent, a decisive victory in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap was his best yet. He’s recently changed hands from trainer Dallas Stewart to D. Wayne Lukas as he looks to show he belongs with the best.

Perhaps he has gotten this good, but he will need to prove it to me against a field like this. He’s certainly not out of it, but I do prefer a few others.

Caddo River

A winner of three straight, this is a horse who flashed plenty of potential early on in his career. A ten-length winner of the Smarty Jones to begin his 3-year-old season, he also finished second in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby before a few disappointing efforts.

Trained by Brad Cox, the Hard Spun colt seems to be turning things around. His three consecutive wins have all come in allowance company, but there were some good horses in those fields. Last time he showed his liking for the Churchill Downs main track, winning easily in 1:33.52 for a mile.

This will be a big test to be sure, but I love the way he has been running of late and I believe he fits in with this solid group. Considering the 10/1 morning line odds, I am willing to take a shot on him here. He is the top pick.

Title Ready

The longshot of the field has turned in some solid performances over the years, but still has recorded only one stakes victory in his 31-race career. His recent form has been spotty, but the 7-year-old did run a pretty good race when third behind Olympiad in the Alysheba.

A deserving longshot, he’ll try to rate in mid-pack early before making his move. Trained by Dallas Stewart, he’s a possibility to hit the board at big odds, but overall it’s hard to rate him any better than seventh of seven.

How to Watch the Stephen Foster

Stephen Foster Race Information
What Stephen Foster (Grade 2)
Location Churchill Downs
Time Saturday, July 2 — 5:47pm Eastern time
How to Watch NBC
Purse $750,000

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Brian Zipse

237 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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