Stephen Foster Weekend Best Bets and Expert Selections from our Top Rated Handicapper.
After last week’s Belmont Stakes was viewed by over 4 Million people, NBC looks to carry that momentum into this weekend’s Stephen Foster stakes, which will air live from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky from 5-6 pm (CT). We’re here to enhance that viewing experience even further, by providing you with a few expert selections.
Churchill Downs – Saturday, June 27th
Fleur des Lis Handicap– Grade 2, $200,000 1 1/8 Miles for Fillies and Mares
Over the years, the Fleur des Lis has boasted some of the top talent in the country with past winners including Rachel Alexandra, Hystericalady, Forever Unbridled, Blue Prize and last year, Elate. This year, five-time grade one winner Midnight Bisou, looks to add her name to that list.
Win Bet – #5 Midnight Bisou (3/5 ML): Steve Asmussen’s top mare comes off a close loss after running against the boys in the world’s richest race, the Saudi Cup ($20M). This Saturday, she is entered back against the girls in a field of six challengers under the Twin Spires. This heavy favorite is well worth your coin and should get up late to win. “Big Money Mike” Smith flies into Louisville for the mount.
Alternate Selection – #4 Serengeti Empress (2/1 ML): Should you wish to bet against the chalk here, Serengeti Empress may be a great value play. She will likely go off at odds above her 2-1 morning line. Two for three lifetime at Churchill Downs, Serengeti Empress won the 2019 Kentucky Oaks at this same distance. If it rains in Louisville this Saturday, she will be an especially attractive selection. In March of this year, she dusted a field of seven at Oaklawn to win by 6 1⁄4 lengths in the slop. Joe Talamo will take the mount for Tom Amoss.
Longshot – #1 Go Google Yourself (8/1 ML): Over the past year, Go Google Yourself won a graded stakes race and placed in another at Churchill Downs. Over nine lifetime races at this track she has been in the money 78% of the time. Need more? With Brian Hernandez Jr. riding, she is winning at a 50% clip. Go Google Yourself is all but a lock to hit the board in this race. Load up your show money and if you’re really feeling it, bet a few bucks to win.
$50 Win #5 Midnight Bisou = $50
$20 Show #1 Go Google Yourself = $20
$1 Exact Box 5-4-1 = $6
$1 Trifecta Box 5-4-3-6 = $24
Total = $100
Stephen Foster Stakes – Grade 2, $500,000 1 1/8 Miles
This weekend’s Stephen Foster is the first “Win and You’re In” prep race for November’s Breeder’s Cup Classic. The opportunity to punch a ticket for the BC Classic has attracted an experienced field of talented dirt horses.
Win Bet – #8 Owendale (4-1 ML): Owendale made a name for himself after finishing 3rd in last year’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. Since then, he’s racked up two graded stakes wins and boasts a second-place finish in last year’s Grade 1 Clark Handicap. Second off a layoff, Owendale comes off an impressive win in the Blame stakes at Churchill Downs and will look to beat an even money favorite in Tom’s d’Etat.
Alternate Pick – #6 By My Standards (5/2 ML): Coming off two straight graded stakes wins, By My Standards offers a great value at 9/2. In addition, this horse ran a career best Brisnet Speed Figure (105) in his last race, showing that he has yet to reach his peak. Trainer Bret Calhoun is winning graded stakes races at a 25% clip in 2020.
Longshot – #2 Pirate’s Punch (15/1 ML): My gut feeling says Pirate’s Punch will be vastly overlooked by the betting public this Saturday. Trainer Grant Forster boasts a 60% in the money percentage this meet at Churchill and has been very outspoken that this is the best horse in his barn. In addition, Pirate’s Punch barely missed as the favorite in his last race, a very talented allowance race at Oaklawn Park on Arkansas Derby day. This horse will test this distance for the very first time and if he wins, will pay out at a very healthy price. Pirate’s Punch draws jockey Mike Smith who is winning at a 22% clip this year.
$20 Win/Place/Show #8 Owendale = $60
$10 Win/Show #2 Pirate’s Punch = $20
$1 Exact Box 2-5-6-8 = $12
$1 Trifecta Box 5-6-8 = $6
Total = $98
Bonus: “Insider” Tip of the Week
Lone Star Park – Sunday, June 28th – Lone Star Mile – $75,000 1 Mile
#7 Mocito Rojo (9/2 ML): Mocito Rojo returns to Lone Star Park after winning last year’s Steve Sexton Mile (G3) by 2 lengths. In 10 tries at the mile distance Mocito Rojo has finished in the money 9 times – 7 of those being wins. His only miss came in 2020 off a 5-month layoff. Mocito Rojo is undefeated at Lone Star Park and at odds of 9/2 is an absolute must bet.
$50 Win/Place #7 Mocito Rojo = $100