Effinex to face six in Stephen Fos­ter

Daily Racing Form Saturday Stakes Preview - - FRONT PAGE - – Marty Mcgee – Steve An­der­sen

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Effinex has been as­signed post 3 as the fa­vorite in a field of seven older horses for the Grade 1 Stephen Fos­ter Hand­i­cap, which will help kick off the un­of­fi­cial sec­ond half of the North Amer­i­can rac­ing sea­son with its 35th run­ning Satur­day night at Churchill Downs.

Effinex, with Gary Stevens to ride, will carry 122 pounds as the high­weight in the 1 1/8-mile Fos­ter, which not only of­fers a $500,000 purse but also a Win and You’re In berth in the Breed­ers’ Cup Clas­sic at Santa Anita on Nov. 5.

Effinex has had five timed work­outs over the Bel­mont Park train­ing track since win­ning his last start, the Oak­lawn Hand­i­cap, on April 16.

“He’s got­ten a lot of very good work done here, so he ar­rived there [Sun­day] in good shape,” trainer Jimmy Jerkens said Tues­day from New York.

Ma­jes­tic Har­bor and Ea­gle, the onetwo fin­ish­ers in the Grade 2 Alysheba at Churchill, are among the top chal­lengers to Effinex.

From the rail and with weights and riders, this is the Fos­ter lineup: In­ter­na­tional Star, 116, Florent Ger­oux; Bradester, 116, Joe Bravo; Effinex, 122, Stevens; Ma­jes­tic Har­bor, 118, Corey Lanerie; El Kabeir, 115, Ri­cardo San­tana Jr.; Are You Kid­ding Me, 118, Julien Leparoux; and Ea­gle, 117, Brian Her­nan­dez Jr.

The Fos­ter is carded as the eighth of 11 races, and the fourth of five con­sec­u­tive graded stakes, on a Downs Af­ter Dark card that starts at 6 p.m. Eastern. It will be shown live on TVG2, with post time set for 9:39, and is part of nu­mer­ous mul­tirace wa­gers, in­clud­ing the 20-cent Sin­gle Six (races 6-11). In the other Satur­day night stakes:

Grade 3, $100,000 Matt Winn (race 5, post 7:57): Gun Run­ner, prep­ping for the Haskell In­vi­ta­tional on July 31, fig­ures as a huge fa­vorite over six other 3-year-olds in this 1 1/16-mile race.

Grade 2, $200,000 Fleur de Lis Hand­i­cap (race 6, post 8:30): The 2014 Ken­tucky Oaks win­ner, Un­ta­pable, will try to get past the $4 mil­lion earn­ings mark when break­ing from the rail against five other fil­lies and mares in this 1 1/8-mile race.

Grade 2, $200,000 Wise Dan (race 7, post 9:05): For­merly known as the Firecracker, this 1 1/16-mile turf race drew a field of 11 older horses led by 2015 Ar­ling­ton Mil­lion win­ner The Pizza Man.

Grade 3, $100,000 Re­gret (race 9, post 10:11): A well-matched field of 11 3-yearold fil­lies will travel 1 1/8 miles on turf in round­ing out the stakes lineup.

Santa Anita: Sum­mer­time Oaks

AR­CA­DIA, Calif. – Trainer Phil D’amato is bring­ing num­bers to com­pete against the un­de­feated cham­pion Song­bird in Satur­day’s $200,000 Sum­mer­time Oaks at Santa Anita.

As of Wed­nes­day morn­ing, D’amato was con­tem­plat­ing start­ing three fil­lies in the Grade 2 Sum­mer­time Oaks at 1 1/16 miles – Bel­la­men­tary, the win­ner of the An­gels Flight Stakes on May 15; Coppa, un­beaten in two starts; and pos­si­bly Sut­ton’s Smile, who was third in the Grade 1 Star­let Stakes at Los Alami­tos last De­cem­ber.

Sut­ton’s Smile could be held out of the Sum­mer­time Oaks in fa­vor of Sun­day’s $200,000 Hon­ey­moon Stakes for 3-year-old fil­lies at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Bel­la­men­tary was fifth be­hind Song­bird in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks on April 9. Coppa has won her two starts in sprints. The Sum­mer­time Oaks will be her stakes de­but.

Song­bird has not raced since win­ning the Santa Anita Oaks. She got sick af­ter that race and was un­able to start in the Ken­tucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 6. Song­bird has been in steady train­ing for the last six weeks.

Still, Song­bird has not raced in more than two months, and D’amato thinks the Sum­mer­time Oaks may be the time to chal­lenge her.

“Af­ter a horse comes back from a sick­ness, you never know if they’re 100 per­cent or not,” he said. “I think we’d need a 90 per­cent Song­bird to have a chance to beat her.”

At the same time, D’amato ac­knowl­edges that Song­bird may be an ex­cep­tion to any the­ory. Song­bird has not been chal­lenged in her seven races, win­ning by a com­bined 36 lengths. She won the Santa Anita Oaks by 3 3/4 lengths with­out urg­ing in the fi­nal fur­long by jockey Mike Smith.

“Some­times a horse will fool you, es­pe­cially a filly as amaz­ing as she is,” D’amato said. “I’m hop­ing she’s not fully cranked.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.