Cox Ready for Big Stephen Foster Weekend
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Kevin Kerstein
Kentucky Racing Communications
Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Turfway Park
(610) 420-6971 (mobile)
(502) 635-4712 (office)
HENDERSON, Ky. (Wednesday, June 28, 2023) – Big weekends in horse racing are usually synonymous with several entries from the Brad Cox barn and that is the case for Saturday’s Stephen Foster Day at Ellis Park where the Louisville-based conditioner has five stakes entrants including West Will Power, the 7-2 second choice on the morning line odds in the $1 million Stephen Foster (Grade I).
“We’re looking forward to this weekend at Ellis. There are some really fun races and we have a lot of horses ready to compete from our barn,” Cox said Wednesday from his Churchill Downs base. “We’ve got five entered in the stakes Saturday and two stakes starters on Sunday with Zozos (in the Hanshin Stakes) and Squire Creek (in the Maxfield).”
In the Stephen Foster, Gary and Mary West’s West Will Power was tabbed as the 7-2 second choice on the morning line odds behind Lucky Seven Stable’s multiple graded stakes winning colt Smile Happy (3-1). West Will Power dueled on the lead in the $600,000 Alysheba Stakes (GII) at Churchill Downs but gave way late to Smile Happy. Prior to the Alysheba, West Will Power dominated six rivals by 4 ¾ lengths in the New Orleans Classic (GII) at Fair Grounds.
“I think the pace could set up well for him in the Foster,” Cox said. “He’s the type of horse that likes to be either on the lead or sit just off the leader’s hip. He was impressive at Fair Grounds this winter and ran well last time at Churchill. I think he got a lot out of that race and fits well moving forward in the Foster.”
Run at 1 1/8 miles, the Stephen Foster will go as Race 10 of 12 at 4:26 p.m. (all times Central). First post is 11:45 a.m. The Stephen Foster is the centerpiece of a six pack of stakes events Saturday at Ellis Park. The other featured races on the program are the $400,000 Fleur de Lis (GII), the $400,000 Wise Dan (GII), the $225,000 American Derby (Listed), the $225,000 Kelly’s Landing (Listed) and the $225,000 Tepin.
Cox will also send Set Piece (GB) to post in the Wise Dan Stakes as the heavy 4-5 morning line favorite.
“He’s such a cool horse and developed into a barn favorite,” Cox said. “He always shows up and runs hard. We’ll see how the pace shakes out in this race. He likes to come from off the pace but has been training well at Churchill out of the Arlington Stakes (GIII).”
Hunter Valley Farm’s A Mo Reay was tabbed as the 8-5 favorite in the Fleur de Lis (GII) where she will take on a well-matched field of eight fillies and mares.
“I think the mile-and-an-eighth distance in the Fleur de Lis should suit her well,” Cox said. “She’s a Grade I winner and a very consistent filly.”
Cox’s other Saturday stakes starters are Godolphin’s Wadsworth as the 9-5 favorite in the American Derby and Miacomet Farm’s Heavenly Sunday, the 5-2 second choice in the Tepin Stakes.
“I think both Wadsworth and Heavenly Sunday both have big shots Saturday,” Cox continued. “Wadsworth ran a big race last time out to just miss in the Caesars Stakes. Heavenly Sunday is quick from the gates and we’ll see how the pace shakes out early in the Tepin.”
Here are the full fields, with morning line odds, for all six stakes Saturday from Ellis Park:
The $1 million Stephen Foster Stakes (GI), Race 10:
1. Proxy (Joel Rosario, Mike Stidham, 4-1)
2. Stilleto Boy (Kent Desormeaux, Ed Moger Jr., 6-1)
3. Speed Bias (Luis Saez, Ron Moquett, 12-1)
4. Rattle N Roll (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek, 4-1)
5. Smile Happy (Corey, McPeek, 3-1)
6. West Will Power (Prat, Cox, 7-2)
7. Last Samurai (Cristian Torres, Wayne Lukas, 6-1)
8. Happy American (James Graham, Neil Pessin, 20-1)
The $400,000 Wise Dan (GII), Race 9:
1. Harlan Estate (Declan Cannon, Whit Beckman, 10-1)
2. Tut’s Revenge (Francisco Arrieta, Shea Stuart, 20-1)
3. Camp Hope (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek, 5-1)
4. Get Smokin (Ricardo Santana Jr., Mark Casse, 5-1)
5. Play Action Pass (Tyler Gaffaione, Robert Medina, 12-1)
6. Kittansett (Cristian Torres, Paulo Lobo, 12-1)
7. Cowboy Justice (GB) (James Graham, Conor Murphy, 20-1)
8. Set Piece (GB) (Geroux, Cox, 4-5)
9. Stitched (Marcelino Pedroza Jr., Gregory Foley, 20-1)
10. Hozier (Julien Leparoux, Rodolphe Brisset, 15-1)
The $400,00 Fleur de Lis (GII), Race 8:
1. Bellamore (Martin Garcia, Simon Callaghan, 5-1)
2. Moon Swag (Luis Saez, Brendan Walsh, 6-1)
3. Royal Take Charge (Cristian Torres, Al Stall Jr., 6-1)
4. Soul of an Angel (Luis Reyes, Gerald James, 30-1)
5. Pauline’s Pearl (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen, 3-1)
6. A Mo Reay (Flavien Prat, Cox, 8-5)
7. Heartyconstitution (Tyler Gaffalione, Joe Sharp, 5-1)
8. Music Street (Julien Leparoux, Whit Beckman, 30-1)
The $225,000 Kelly’s Landing (Listed), Race 6:
1. Fortin Hill (Gerardo Corrales, Paulo Lobo, 12-1)
2. Bango (Tyler Gaffalione, Greg Foley, 2-1)
3. Miles Ahead (Martin Garcia, Paul McGee, 9-2)
4. Happy Jack (Rafael Bejarano, Doug O’Neill, 5-1)
5. Marsalis (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen, 6-1)
6. Surveillance (James Graham, Keith Desormeaux, 6-1)
7. Tejano Twist (Francisco Arrieta, Chris Hartman, 3-1)
The $225,000 American Derby (Listed), Race 3:
1. Mo Stash (Luis Saez, Vicki Oliver, 2-1)
2. Wadsworth (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox, 9-5)
3. Desert Duke (Mitchell Murrill, Chris Hartman, 8-1)
4. Gigante (Tyler Gaffalione, Steve Asmussen, 4-1)
5. Hidden Path (Flavien Prat, Todd Pletcher, 6-1)
6. Sharar (Julien Leparoux, Todd Pletcher, 8-1)
The $225,000 Tepin, Race 11:
1. Sandra D (David Cohen, Steve Margolis, 20-1)
2. Safeen (Luis Saez, Eddie Kenneally, 5-1)
3. Heavenly Sunday (Geroux, Cox, 5-2)
4. Wonderfull Lady (FR) (Tyler Gaffalione, Brendan Walsh, 8-1)
5. Xigera (Julien Leparoux, Phil Bauer, 2-1)
6. Meta Physical (Adam Beschizza, Jeff Hiles, 20-1)
7. Girl Named Charlie (Edgar Morales, Tom Amoss, 6-1)
8. Santa Fe Gold (Francisco Arrieta, Bret Calhoun, 15-1)
9. Klassy Bridgette (Mitchell Murrill, Chris Hartman, 15-1)
The Stephen Foster is a “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series event for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI). The winner of the Stephen Foster will receive an automatic entry to the 2023 running of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic and have their pre-entry and entry fees waved along with a travel stipend if they are traveling outside the state of California. The Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held at Santa Anita on Nov. 3-4.
Fans can watch and wager on Stephen Foster Day on www.TwinSpires.com, the official wagering provider of Churchill Downs Incorporated. The Ellis Park simulcast signal will feature expert handicappers Scott Shapiro and Kaitlin Free along with live interviews from Ellis Park by Joe Kristufek.
The entire Stephen Foster Day card will be broadcast on FanDuel TV and the FanDuel TV+ app. Live on-site coverage will begin Friday with Caleb Keller. He’ll be joined Saturday and Sunday by Todd Schrupp, Gabby Gaudet, Scott Hazleton and Caton Bredar.
For more information about Stephen Foster Day, visit www.ellisparkracing.com.