The richest race on the calendar Saturday is the Stephen Foster Stakes, which has attracted a field of nine.
Churchill Downs hosts the 1⅛-mile event, which runs at 5:59 p.m. ET and is Race 11 on the card.
Online betting markets are available for the Stephen Foster Stakes, where Maxfield is the early choice.
Stephen Foster Final Field
A field of nine will run in the Stephen Foster Stakes, including the likes of Maxfield, Chess Chief, Silver Dust, and Warrior’s Charge.
- Chess Chief
- Empty Tomb
- Necker Island
- Silver Dust
- Warrior’s Charge
- South Bend
Stephen Foster Top Pick – Maxfield
Trainer: Brendan P. Walsh
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Post Position: 8
The unbeaten run of Maxfield ended when the 4-year-old colt finished third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, but he lost no admirers with the performance.
He had been 5-for-5 prior to the defeat behind Idol, but the son of Street Sense bounced back with a victory in the Grade 2 Alysheba at Churchill Downs.
“He’s doing great,” trainer Brendan Walsh told BloodHorse. “He came out of the Alysheba well. Everything has gone exactly to plan since. His works have been very good. Hopefully, we get a good trip on Saturday.”
— Churchill Downs (@ChurchillDowns) June 24, 2021
He didn’t have everything go his way in the Alysheba. Jockey Jose Ortiz settled him midfield and there was no pace up front. However, he got clear in the straight and he powered past race rivals Visitant and Chess Chief.
“That, I think, was the first time we really put him on the back foot,” Walsh said. “I think that helped him grow up. He had to face a lot of adversity.”
With six wins from seven starts on his record, the Godolphin colt looks the goods.
Stephen Foster Best Value – Chess Chief
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Jockey: John R. Velazquez
Post Position: 1
Chess Chief was no match for Maxfield in the Alysheba but battled on gamely for third and that’s no reason to drop him just yet.
The son of Into Mischief is experienced enough with 16 starts. It could be vital experience and he has faced top-quality fields throughout most of his career.
After a rough start to his career, which included an eighth on debut at Churchill Downs. It took him 13 starts to get off the mark, but he faced stakes company in seven of those attempts.
He ran second in the West Virginia Derby before running eighth in the Grade 1 Travers behind Code of Honor. He’s not up to that level, but his recent form suggests he is good enough to score an upset.
Chess Chief ran third in the Mineshaft Stakes before winning the Grade 2 New Orleans Classic. There is little wrong with that form and he’s a tough customer, so don’t leave it out.
Pick: Chess Chief
Stephen Foster Best Roughie – South Bend
Trainer: William Mott
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
Post Position: 7
South Bend won’t be the first runner of most bettors’ tickets, but he shouldn’t be forgotten about.
He’s a 4-year-old colt that was good enough to run in the Kentucky Derby last year, which followed a fourth in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes behind Tiz Now.
I’ve very proud of the runs Max Player & South Bend had in the Travers yesterday! There’s no shame in running 3rd & 4th to a horse like Tiz The Law. Now Max Player is qualified for the Kentucky Derby, and South Bend proved he can run with G1 company. Great run, boys! pic.twitter.com/euyRZ2I3E3
— ORBsession (@ORBsession) August 9, 2020
He won his first three day starts, including two at Churchill Downs. The son of Algorithms has won only one race since 2019, but he hasn’t dodged the top company.
The Blame Stakes could be a good form guide and he wasn’t far away when fifth behind Mighty Heart.
Bettors will get generous odds in racing betting markets, so he’s worth including to boost payouts.