2020 Stephen Foster Stakes (Churchill Downs) - Predictions & Betting Odds
“If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick, Tom’s d’Etat.”
Post Position and Odds – Stephen Foster
Check out our predictions and odds for the 2020 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs!
|J R Velazquez||T Pletcher|
|M Smith||G Forster|
|D Cannon||D Peitz|
|T Gaffalione||P Miller|
|M Mena||A Stall Jr.|
|6||BY MY STANDARDS||5/2|
|G Saez||W B Calhoun|
|A Beschizza||W B Calhoun|
|F Geroux||B Cox|
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One of the strongest fields of older males assembled so far in 2020 will square off on Saturday at Churchill Downs in the Grade 2, $500,000 Stephen Foster.
Serving as a “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 7, the 1 ⅛-mile Stephen Foster has attracted three of the best horses in the nation, and each enters the test in winning form.
At an advanced age, Tom’s d’Etat looks to be in the best shape of his career, and on Saturday he will be looking for a fourth consecutive stakes victory. Among his recent wins include a powerful victory in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs to close out last season and a stirring victory over Improbable in the Oaklawn Mile earlier this year.
His chief rivals in the Foster are By My Standards, who has been perfect in three impressive starts this season, and Owendale who returned from a second in last November’s Clark to win the recent Blame Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Stephen Foster Race Information
|What to watch||Stephen Foster (G2)|
|When||Saturday, June 27 — 5:50 pm Eastern time|
|How to watch||TVG and Fox Sports 1|
It’s been a long road to the top for the 7-year-old son of Smart Strike, but now finally completely healthy, he looks to be a serious contender for the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. He finished 2019 in absolute style, romping in both the Fayette (G2) at Keeneland and the Clark (G1) at Churchill Downs. His only race this year wasn’t easy, but equally impressive in running down Improbable with a strong late rush. The 9 furlongs of the Foster seems ideal, and his tactical running style is adaptable to any race set up. The only possible negative I see could be the rider to change to Miguel Mena, replacing Joel Rosario, who is committed to ride the champion Uni at Belmont Park. Mena is a good rider, but all of Tom’s d’Etat’s recent success has come under Rosario. Still, I like his chances.
By My Standards
As much as I like Tom’s d’Etat, it’s hard to discount what this 4-year-old son of Goldencents has become in 2020. A promising winner of the Louisiana Derby last year, he has taken things to a new level of late. Each of his three wins this season have utilized strong early speed to put him right there on the backstretch, before a quick strike to take over the race in early stretch. He will get first jump in the Foster, so it’s up to Tom’s d’Etat or Owendale to prove that they are good enough on this day to run him down. Off his recent form, he is a big threat to add another victory to his growing resume.
Trained by Brad Cox, the son of Into Mischief has put together a real nice record of 3:2-1-0 at the Foster’s 9 furlong distance, including wins in the Ohio and Oklahoma Derbies. His only loss at the trip came when second to Tom’s d’Etat in the Clark. All three are solid performances, but just a cut below the top two. The question then becomes has the handsome colt improved enough from 3-to-4 to be able to win a race like this? It’s certainly possible, as his return win in the Blame was strong, but I am not quite ready to believe his late run gets by both of the top two, until he actually gets it done on the track.
After the top three, this one looks to have the most potential to be a real player in the division this year. The improving Ghostzapper gelding comes in off a sharp allowance victory at Churchill last month for trainer Todd Pletcher. It will be a big jump up in class on Saturday, and like Owendale, he’ll be behind the favorites early. I believe this will prove a little too much for him at this stage of his career, but a big performance would not shock me either.
Has certainly upped his game since being shipped out west to the barn of Peter Miller this winter. Still, he has not won a race in a long time, and this seems like a very tough spot to prove that he can carry his Southern Californian form back east. The likes of Tom’s d’Etat, By My Standards, and Owendale are stronger even than what he faced in his surprising performance in the Big Cap, where he ran second at odds of 33-1.
Joining By My Standards as the other entrant from trainer Bret Calhoun, he will be a longshot on Saturday, and I do not consider him a big threat to win the Foster. Having said that, he has good tactical speed and runs nothing but good races. In other words, the gray is likely not quite good enough for the win, but he’s certainly an interesting play to hit the board and fill out the exotics at attractive odds.
Very similar to Silver Dust in past performances and running style, he gets an interesting jockey change in the Foster with Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith hopping aboard. For that reason, his odds will probably drop a bit, but maybe his chances will also improve. He’s probably the most likely in the field to grab the early lead, but it’s a good bet that the Calhoun runners will be breathing down his neck, which seems a daunting overall task.
The outsider of the field, he’s never been able to handle this class of horse before. He does come in off a very nice win last time against allowance foes, but it’s still hard to imagine him completely turning around his 18-length defeat in this race last year.
Best Bets For the Stephen Foster
Here are my plays ($32 in total)
$5 Trifecta Part Wheel – Tom’s d’Etat over By My Standards and Owendale over By My Standards, Owendale and Silver Dust = $20
$3 Trifecta Part Wheel – By My Standards over Tom’s d’Etat and and Owendale over Tom’s d’Etat, Owendale and Silver Dust = $12
If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Tom’s d’Etat.