Cox Confident Mandaloun Will 'Be On A Much Preferred Surface' In Stephen Foster - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Cox Confident Mandaloun Will ‘Be On A Much Preferred Surface’ In Stephen Foster


It was likely the final day of training for all of the participants in Saturday's $750,000 Stephen Foster (Grade 2). All seven contenders took to the Churchill Downs track to gallop Friday morning.

Juddmonte's Mandaloun, the 2-1 morning line Foster favorite, had a strong 1 ½-mile gallop around 7 a.m. The 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner was ridden by regular exercise rider Edvin Vargas. As the Into Mischief colt galloped past the wire, Vargas had his hands full as Mandaloun appeared to want to chase a fellow galloper about 10 lengths in front of him.

“We couldn't be more pleased with his training into this race,” trainer Brad Cox said. “He's really done well in his lead up to the Foster at home here at Churchill. He's worked several times after the Saudi Cup and I think he'll be on a much preferred surface Saturday.”

Cox also trained Shortleaf Stable's five-time winner Caddo River in the same set at Mandaloun. Caddo River galloped 1 ½ miles and was installed as the second longest priced horse in the 1 1/8-mile race at odds of 10-1.

Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stable, and LNJ Foxwoods' multiple Grade 2 winner Olympiad was on the track early Friday. The son of Speightstown has trained for three days over the surface under the watchful eye of trainer Bill Mott's longtime assistant Kenny McCarthy. Mott has won 751 races at Churchill Downs and one of them was the Stephen Foster when Ron the Greek scored a 9-1 upset victory over eventual Hall of Famer Wise Dan in the 2012 edition.

Godolphin's multiple graded stakes-placed colt Proxy schooled in the Churchill Downs paddock Thursday and has been galloping over the main track for the past several days. Trainer Mike Stidham's chief assistant T.C. Stuckey has been stationed at Churchill Downs with the 4-year-old colt for about a week. Proxy finished second to Dynamic One in last month's $200,000 Blame Stakes.

It's been 35 years since Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas won the Stephen Foster with Red Attack. He hopes his new trainee Last Samurai can break that streak. Owned by Willis Horton, Last Samurai made the short walk from trainer Dallas Stewart's Barn 38 to Lukas' Barn 44 a few weeks ago. Stewart previously campaigned Last Samurai to a 12-1 upset win in the $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2). He'll be ridden in the Stephen Foster by 62-year-old jockey Jon Court.

“Anytime you have live mounts it's a little easier to get going,” Court said. “I always try to keep myself both physically and mentally prepared to compete with some of the younger riders in the room.”

Court has never won the Stephen Foster.

Saturday's Stephen Foster Day at Churchill Downs will get underway at 12:45 p.m. (all times Eastern) and feature the Stephen Foster along with a quartet of supporting stakes: the $350,000 Fleur de Lis (GII), $200,000 American Derby (Listed), $200,000 Tepin and $160,000 Kelly's Landing Overnight Stakes. Post time for the Stephen Foster is 5:47 p.m.

Here are the full fields for each of five stakes events from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds):

  • $750,000 Stephen Foster (Race 10, 5:47 p.m.): Caddo River (Ricardo Santana Jr., Brad Cox, 10-1); American Revolution (Luis Saez, Todd Pletcher, 7-2); Olympiad (Junior Alvarado, Bill Mott, 5-2); Title Ready (Brian Hernandez Jr., Dallas Stewart, 15-1); Proxy (Joel Rosario, Mike Stidham, 9-2); Mandaloun (Florent Geroux, Cox, 2-1); and Last Samurai (Jon Court, Wayne Lukas, 8-1)
  • $350,000 Fleur de Lis (G2) (Race 8, 4:35 p.m.): Super Quick (Joe Talamo, Norm Casse, 2-1); She's All Wolfe (Francisco Arrieta, Donnie K Von Hemel, 5-1); Ava's Grace (David Cohen, Robertino Diodoro, 6-1); Pauline's Pearl (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen, 5-2); and Shedaresthedevil (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox, 9-5)
  • $200,000 American Derby (Listed) (Race 7, 3:55 p.m.): Fowler Blue (Sonny Leon, Doug O'Neill, 15-1); Jr's Gift (Tiago Canuto, Hugo Andrande, 30-1); Search Engine (Edgar Morales, Tom Amoss, 12-1); Kitodan (Gerardo Corrales, Eric Foster, 12-1); McLaren Vale (Luis Saez, Rodolphe Brisset, 4-1); Double Clutch (Corey Lanerie, Rusty Arnold, 6-1); Red Run (Tyler Gaffalione, Steve Asmussen, 5-1); Kuchar (Florent Geroux, Brisset, 5-1); Rattle N Roll (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek, 3-1); War Campaign (Colby Hernandez, Phil Sims, 15-1); and O P Firecracker (Ricardo Santana Jr., Robert Medina, 10-1).
  • $200,000 Tepin (Listed) (Race 6, 3:23 p.m.): Hearty Constitution (Luis Saez, Joe Sharp, 7-2); Patna (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox, 3-1); Verylittlecents (Jon Court, Randy Morse, 8-1); Wicked Halo (Tyler Gaffalione, Steve Asmussen, 9-5); Zawish (Edgar Morales, Helen Pitts-Blasi, 10-1); Runaway Wife (Julien Leparoux, Kenny McPeek, 6-1); and Sandsone (Brian Hernandez Jr., Wayne Catalano, 8-1).
  • $160,000 Kelly's Landing Overnight Stakes (Race 9, 5:16 p.m.): Awesome Gerry (Gerardo Corrales, Saffie Joseph Jr., 8-1); Heart Rhythm (Giovani Franco, Trisha Duncan, 15-1); Kneedeepinsnow (Ricardo Santana Jr., Matt Shirer, 8-1); Aloha West (Joel Rosario, Wayne Catalano, 2-1); Bango (Tyler Gaffalione, Greg Foley, 5-2); Bob's Edge (Gabriel Saez, Larry Jones, 6-1); Startdfromdabottom (Rafael Bejarano, John Ennis, 30-1); A C Expressway (Florent Geroux, Norm Casse, 12-1); and Miles Ahead (Joe Talamo, Paul McGee, 6-1).

The 1 1/8-mile Stephen Foster is a Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” event toward the $6 million Classic held at Keeneland on Saturday, Nov. 5. The winner of the Stephen Foster will receive their entry fees paid to the Classic along with a travel stipend if they are located outside the state of Kentucky.

The Stephen Foster will be televised on NBC from 4-6 p.m. The two-hour broadcast also will feature the $160,000 Kelly's Landing and $350,000 Fleur de Lis (G2) in Races 8-9, respectively.

Wagering is available on, the official ADW of Churchill Downs Incorporated and the Kentucky Derby.

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