A major contender for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Tom’s d’Etat will seek his fourth consecutive stakes victory when lining up for Saturday’s $500,000 Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs. The 7-year-old horse tops a strong eight-horse field that includes By My Standards and Owendale.
The 1 1/8-mile Foster serves as a “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 7.
Tom’s d’Etat concluded 2019 with an outstanding performance under the Twin Spires, scoring by 3 1/4 lengths in the Clark (G1) in late November. He continued to show his class when returning from a layoff and cutting back in distance for the April 11 Oaklawn Mile S., courageously wearing down subsequent Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) victor Improbable to win going away, and netted his seventh consecutive century-topping Brisnet Speed rating.
Trained by Al Stall Jr. for GMB Racing, Tom’s d’Etat has captured 10-of-17 career starts and earned more than $1.3 million. The son of Curlin will return from a 77-day freshening.
“He has a history of running well off layoffs,” Stall said. “He’s never really left form even after he was freshened at Fair Grounds this winter when we were getting him ready for the second half of the year. We had talked about the (May 23) Blame Stakes as a prep but when the schedule was shuffled around, we just decided to stick with the plan to run him in the Foster.”
Miguel Mena will replace Joel Rosario, who had a previous commitment to ride Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Uni in Saturday’s Just a Game (G1) at Belmont Park.
By My Standards enters on the upswing, posting convincing wins in the Oaklawn H. (G2) and New Orleans Classic (G2) in his last two outings. By Goldencents, the 4-year-old likes to race up close and should be tracking the pace in the early stages. The Bret Calhoun-trained colt registered a career-best 105 Brisnet Speed rating last time and keeps Gabe Saez in the saddle.
Owendale is eligible to keep moving forward off an excellent return win in the Blame Stakes at Churchill Downs, rallying fast to score by nearly a length. Runner-up in the Clark two back, the Brad Cox-trained son of Into Mischief posted three Grade 3 wins and a third in the Preakness (G1) last season. Florent Geroux guides the 4-year-old colt.
Fearless, who exits a sharp 2 1/4-length allowance victory at Churchill on May 30, will make his second stakes attempt for Todd Pletcher. After winning his first two career starts over the winter at Gulfstream Park, the 4-year-old Ghostzapper gelding experienced a rough trip finishing sixth in the New Orleans (elevated to fifth via disqualification) two starts back. John Velazquez will be in to ride.
Multiple Grade 3-placed Pirate’s Punch is the likely pacesetter. Silver Dust, winner of the Mineshaft (G3) and Louisiana (G3) earlier this season and third most recently in the Blame, should also be prominent during the early stages. Completing the field are Grade 3 winner Multiplier, who ships in for Peter Miller after a nose second in a June 20 allowance at Santa Anita; and last-out Churchill allowance upsetter Alkhaatam.