July 18, 2024

Olympiad too much for Stephen Foster rivals

Olympiad wins the Stephen Foster Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Olympiad impressively stretched his win streak to five in the Saturday’s $750,000 Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs, and stamped his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), scoring by 2 1/4 lengths. Junior Alvarado was up for Bill Mott on the four-year-old colt, who continues to show more and more as the season progresses.

“I thought it was a very game win this afternoon,” Mott said via telephone. “There were some nice horses in this field and I thought he did things rather easily. It was really nice to see him win like that.”

Favored at 3-2, Olympiad looked ready for a projected showdown with Life Is Good in the Aug. 6 Whitney (G1) at Saratoga, completing 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.66.

“This horse has such a big stride on him and really extends it late in races,” Alvarado said. “I think as he’s gotten older he’s gotten faster in each start.”

The bay son of Speightstown tracked pacesetter Caddo River through opening splits in :23.05, :46.45, and 1:10.64, drawing alongside nearing the completion of the far turn, and Olympiad powered clear into the stretch.

Americanrevolution, the 7-2 third choice, rallied to loom a threat with about a furlong remaining, but Olympiad had more in reserve and comfortably held his rival safe late.

“Today we sat in a good position just off of the early pace and he showed how powerful his stride can be,” Alvarado said. “I asked him just a little bit in the final furlong and he continued to get faster. He’s a great horse and has shown his talent all year long. It will be a fun rest of the year.”

Making his second start at nine furlongs following an easy tally in the New Orleans Classic (G2) two starts back, Olympiad was much stronger in a career-best performance. He was exiting a 2 1/2-length triumph in the May 6 Alysheba (G2) at Churchill, and Olympiad also captured the Mineshaft (G3) earlier this season. He hasn’t lost since finishing fourth in the Cigar Mile (G1) last December.

“Bill Mott likes to have horses on win streaks, like Cigar,” said Mott’s Kentucky-based assistant Kenny McCarthy. “This horse has started one of his own and he’s been such a pleasure every time he’s run in our care in Kentucky. The whole team did a great job to get him back here and it’s very special to win the Stephen Foster again. He has such a big stride and it’s so powerful in the late stages of his races.”

Mott also won the 2012 Foster with Ron the Greek.

Campaigned by Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stable LLC, and LNJ Foxwoods, Olympiad has now earned $1,407,560 from a 10-7-1-1 record, and by winning the “Win & You’re In” event, he earned an expenses-paid berth to in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on Nov. 5.

Proxy got up late for third, about three lengths back of the runner-up. Mandaloun, the 2-1 second choice, weakened to fourth after offering a bid on the far turn. Title Ready, Caddo River, and Last Samurai came next under the wire.

Bred in Kentucky by Emory A. Hamilton, Olympiad is out of Grade 3-placed Medaglia d’Oro mare Tokyo Time, a half-sister to graded stakes winners Hungry Island and Soaring Empire. This is the female family of Travers (G1) winner and sire Keen Ice. Olympiad was purchased for $700,000 as a yearling at the 2019 Keeneland September sale.