Churchill Downs dominates the racing landscape during the lead-up to the Kentucky Derby and also if they are conducting a Breeders' Cup in the fall. Other than that, the Downs just kind of recedes into the rest of the racing scene and does not really stand out, with the exception of this particular weekend. This weekend, the Grade 1 Stephen Foster will be run and it is always considered the highlight of the late spring part of the meet in Kentucky.
Looking at some of the recent winners of the Foster tells you the importance of the race. Awesome Again, Victory Gallop, Perfect Drift, Saint Liam, and Curlin have all won the Foster within the last decade. That is a virtual who's who of the sport in that time. Saturday's version of the Foster could add another name of unique quality to that list with Einstein being listed as the 2-1 morning-line choice. Were Einstein to prevail in the Foster, it would be his third consecutive Grade 1 win and each would be won over a different racing surface. The Foster is run on dirt, Einstein won the Big Cap over synthetic at Santa Anita and then won the Woodford Reserve on turf at Churchill on Derby day. That would be a truly remarkable accomplishment and would likely stamp Einstein as one of the great horses of this generation. You might think I am overstating his impact, but can you name as versatile horse currently running (and winning) under such different and difficult circumstances?
They Are Off will provide thoughts on the Foster and possibly some undercard races at Churchill on Saturday tomorrow. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!