Godolphin’s Maxfield topped probable runners for the $600,000 Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) that appeared on the June 19 work tab at Churchill Downs, where the 4-year-old son of Street Sense worked a half in :48 4/5.
Trainer Brendan Walsh sent Maxfield out at 5:30 a.m. ET to the fast main track, over which he notched a 3 1/4-length win in the April 30 Alysheba Stakes Presented by Sentient Jet (G2).
Run June 26, the 1 1/8-mile Stephen Foster is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and the race winner will receive an entry fees-paid berth in the Nov. 6 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar.
Maxfield is slated to be joined in the gate by fellow graded stakes winners Chess Chief , Silver Dust , and Warrior’s Charge . All three horses also completed their major Stephen Foster preparations Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Virginia-bred Chess Chief, owned by the Estate of James Coleman Jr., worked a half-mile in :48 1/5. Dallas Stewart trains the 5-year-old son of Into Mischief who last out was third in the Alysheba. A start earlier he won the March 20 New Orleans Classic Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Chess Chief is scheduled to be ridden by John Velazquez in the Stephen Foster.
Tom Durant’s Silver Dust breezed a half-mile in :49 under regular rider Adam Beschizza. The 7-year-old son of Tapit continued to gallop out past the wire and completed five furlongs in 1:01 1/5. Bret Calhoun trains the gelding who last out won the April 10 Ben Ali Stakes (G3) by a half-length in a compact finish on a sloppy track at Keeneland.
Ten Strike Racing and Madaket Stables’ Florida-bred Warrior’s Charge worked a half-mile in :48 1/5 at 7:30 a.m. Trained by Brad Cox, the 5-year-old son of Munnings most recently finished sixth after a slow start in the May 31 Steve Sexton Mile Stakes (G3), run over a sloppy track at Lone Star Park. Florent Geroux is scheduled to ride in the Stephen Foster.
Others expected to take part in the Stephen Foster are Empty Tomb (trained by Mike Maker) and possibly Visitant (Bill Morey), according to Churchill Downs assistant racing secretary and stakes coordinator Dan Bork.
Five days remain of the 2021 spring meet at Churchill Downs. The Stephen Foster will headline an 11-race program closing day that will feature seven stakes races, including the $300,000 Fleur de Lis (G2) for older fillies and mare at 1 1/8 miles. The Fleur de Lis winner will receive a berth in the Nov. 6 Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
Probables for the Fleur de Lis are topped by multiple graded stakes winner Envoutante , who breezed five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 Saturday at Churchill Downs for trainer Kenny McPeek. The 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly owned by Walking L Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm won the May 29 Shawnee Stakes over the same track last out.