Home of the Louisiana Derby

Brisnet Saturday Graded Stakes Preview.

A great afternoon of racing at Churchill Downs with five graded stakes on tap:

 Race 10, Stephen Foster H. (G1). Finallymadeit is the lone runner of the eight entered to be designated a "E" type of runner in the Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances suggesting he will be the most likely early leader. A wire-to-wire winner of Calder's Memorial Day H. (G3) last time out, Finallymadeit nearly pulled off a huge upset in the Donn H. (G1) when he led into the stretch and was caught late by only Albertus Maximus. This performance looks even better when one sees the Brisnet Race Shapes of +8 (1c) and +7 (2c) showing that Finallymadeit set fractions that were overly fast.

Pegged as "E/P-5" type of runner and with some of the highest E1 and E2 ratings in the field, it is likely that Researcher will deny Finallymadeit the advantage of an easy lead. In fine form having won six of his last seven starts including the Charles Town Classic most recently, Researcher, who is ranked second on the Prime Power rankings, figures to get a perfect trip behind Finallymadeit and Alphabet Magic (also an E/P-5 type runner but with much lower E1 and E2 ratings) who drew the rail and won his last start going wire-to-wire.  

The clear Prime Power pick, by nearly six points, is Einstein (E/P-4). Third in the Donn H. in his last attempt on traditional dirt, Einstein had previously displayed his liking for the Churchill main track with a win in the Clark H. (G2) and a decent second to Curlin in this event last year. With high E1 and E2 ratings the five time grade one winner should be in perfect position to achieve his first success at the highest level on traditional dirt.

Bullsbay (P-2), Arson Squad (S-2) and Macho Again (S-3) will all be trying to close from the back. Bullsbay has the best Late Pace (LP) ratings of the trio and is a perfect three-for-three at Churchill. Macho Again has won two of his four starts over this track and would be helped by an off track on which he has won both his starts.

The unknown quantity is Asiatic Boy who will be making his first North American start for Kiaran McLaughlin. Transferred to the States after throwing in a clunker in the Dubai World Cup, Asiatic Boy adds Lasix for this and has been training well in New York. Owning strong tactical speed the six-year-old should be sitting just off the early pace and his second place finish to Curlin in the 2008 World Cup proves he has the class.

Race 9, Fleur De Lis H. (G2). The four point Prime Power pick and morning line favorite is Miss Isella who skimmed the rail last time here to defeat One Caroline. Rated a "S-0" type runner, Miss Isella will likely be closing from the back of the pack. With no runner in the field owning an E type style there is no confirmed front runner. However, there are several entered that are rated E/P including Distinctive Dixie who owns the best E1 and E2 ratings and could be dangerous at a good price if allowed an easy early lead.

Race 7, Jefferson Cup S. (G2). The lone speed in this nine furlong turf test is Florentino (E-8) with his closest early challenger appearing to be Jake Wil Gallop, rated E/P-4. Florentino failed to last the mile and a sixteenth trip in the Transylvania S. (G3) at Keeneland last time out, but may have an easier task on the slightly more speed condusive Churchill turf despite adding half a furlong. El Crespo (EP-3)  won the Palm Beach S. (G3) at Gulfstream on the turf in March and is the Prime Power pick. Advise, who won the Lexington S. (G2) must be considered in his turf debut but with a relatively low 103 Bris Pedigree Rating appears to have little pedigree for the grass.

Race 8, Northern Dancer S. (G3). The very exciting Warrior's Reward will reappear in this mile and a sixteenth contest. An impressive winner over Munnings, who returned to easily win the Woody Stephens S. (G2) at Belmont last Saturday, Warrior's Reward ranks more than six points clear on Prime Power and looks to be a standout.

Race 11, Regret S. (G3). A competitive field of 11 will line up for the nightcap with Oculuna (E/P-5) looking like the uncontested pacesetter. Hot Cha Cha (P-5) should get a good stalking trip and have first run if Oculuna falters while Prytania (S-0) (who is the Prime Power pick) and Excelente (S-2) will be running late.

 Tim Holland 6-12-09.

Past Performances and Selection Sheets are now online at Brisnet.com for the Stephen Foster full card.