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June 24, 2021 55 min
The “King” of Louisville, Byron King, is here to discuss the season under the Twin Spires in 2021. The Blood-Horse’s Associate Editor will join John to handicap the stakes-laden card. Saturday’s closing day stakes spectacular has an 11-race program and scheduled to be headlined by Godolphin’s GI winner Maxfield in the featured $600,000 Stephen Foster (GII) – one of seven stakes events on the card. Maxfield, trained by Brendan Walsh, enters the Stephen Foster following a convincing 3 ¼-length win in the $400,0000 Alysheba (GII). The talented son of Street Sense is slated to be joined in the gate by fellow graded stakes winners Chess Chief (Dallas Stewart), Silver Dust (Bret Calhoun) and Warrior’s Charge (Brad Cox). All three horses completed their major Stephen Foster preps Saturday at Churchill Downs. The Stephen Foster is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race for the $6 million Longines Classic (GI) on Nov. 6 at Del Mar. Here are the other probable runners for the undercard races to the Stephen Foster we will handicap the $300,000 Fleur de Lis (GII), run at 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares 4-year-olds and up, Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Distaff Division: Dreamalildreamofu (Brad Cox); Envoutante (Kenny McPeek); Point of Honor (Shug McGaughey); Singita Dreams (Phil Bauer); SpiceIs Nice (Todd Pletcher); and Vault (Brad Cox). · $300,000 Wise Dan (GII), run at 1 1/16 miles on turf for 4-year-olds and up: Field Pass (Mike Maker); In Love (BRZ) (Paulo Lobo); Ride a Comet (Mark Casse); Set Piece (GB) (Brad Cox); and Somelikeithotbrown (Mike Maker). Possible: Spooky Channel (Jason Barkley). Hugh Drexler, the Racing Secretary at Thistledown will make his first appearance on the show as he lends his insights to Ohio’s biggest day of racing, anchored by the $500,000 GIII Ohio Derby. Drexler was born into racing as his father was a jockey and his grandfather and great-grandfather were trainers in Puerto Rico. A graduate of the Racetrack Industry Program in Arizona, he had internships with the Breeders’ Cup and Santa Anita. He eventually did the paddock shows at Sunray and Rillito Park. Even old-timers familiar with the Cleveland area track, are saying that this year’s edition is the strongest ever. In our era of small fields in stakes races, Drexler and his crew in the racing office drew a highly competitive field of 11. Nine of the eleven 3-year-olds will draw their regular riders or top jocks from major venues. Three graded stakes winner and two graded stakes-place runners are set to travel the 1 1/8 miles on the dirt. Weather sources indicated a 50-50 chance of rain. Breaking from the inside post Promise Keeper was made the tepid favorite, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Luis Saez. The $250,000 Lady Jacqueline at 9 furlongs has drawn together a talent-laden field of nine fillies and mares. Pletcher has Spice Is Nice entered here and at Churchill Downs with John Velazquez slated to ride.
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