Friday, June 11, 2010

The Grade 1 $600,000 Stephen Foster Handicap

Rachel Alexandra will be racing on Saturday, but she will not be racing in the event to be analyzed here. She is in the Grade 2 Fleur De Lis at Churchill Downs, also on the Saturday program with the Grade 1 $600,000 Stephen Foster Handicap. There were some intimations that she might go in the Foster, but no, she does against her own gender. So, here is the analysis of the Stephen Foster:

I will side with #11 Blame in the Foster from the outside post position. This opinion is based on the thought that #2 Battle Plan will not get an easy lead and coast from gate-to-wire. My hope is that #7 Honest Man will go out and engage the morning-line favorite and duel him into submission. Blame has been outstanding in his last five races with Beyers in the triple digits in each of those. He won four of those five races, losing only to Regal Ransom in the Grade 2 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs last September. This is the second start off the latest layoff for Blame, a handicapping angle I do appreciate. Garrett Gomez will ride. I will put #2 Battle Plan in the second spot, given the anticipated speed duel. If he gets the lead alone, he could likely go all the way in front. His lone graded win was in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds in March. He has not raced since then. The horse that ran second to him on that occasion was #6 General Quarters. General Quarters was able to do in 2010 what he could not do in 2009: win at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. Of course, this year he won the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, as opposed to the Derby, but an important win is still an important win. His last four Beyers have been in the 100s, but only one resulted in a win and that was that last try. #5 Arson Squad is currently working on a two-race win streak with consecutive Grade 3 victories entering this go. Paco Lopez was up for both wins and gets the call today. You also might want to watch out for the late-running #9 Macho Again if the pace is too frenetic on the front end. Here is the play for the Grade 1 Stephen Foster:

$10 WIN #11
$1 EX BOX 2-5-6-9-11
$1 TRI 11 with 2-5-6-9
TOTAL- $42

Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in again on Monday for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!

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