Stephen Foster Stakes 2021 Entries: Maxfield is the star of the show

The Stephen Foster under the Twin Spires is the biggest race on Saturday's card with a $600,000 purse.
The Stephen Foster under the Twin Spires is the biggest race on Saturday's card with a $600,000 purse.

The Stephen Foster Stakes on Saturday at Churchill Downs is a 'Win and You're In' race for the Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar later this year. Our editor has an overview of the race ahead of our handicapping to come on Friday...

Stephen Foster Stakes Entires & Post Positions 2021
  • Post Position
  • Name of Horse

Post Position

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Name of Horse

  • Chess Chief
  • Empty Tomb
  • Necker Island
  • Sprawl
  • Silver Dust
  • Warrior's Charge
  • South Bend
  • Maxfield
  • Visitant

This edition of the $600,000 Grade II Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs will have one standout horse who is likely to dominate the betting pools. When Maxfield was taken off the Road to the Kentucky Derby in 2020, it saw a genuine contender leave stage right. His return as a four-year-old looks set to culminate in an appearance at the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar in November. A win here and he’s got an all-expenses paid berth in said BC race.

Maxfield is the only Grade I winner in the field having won the Breeders’ Futurity as a two-year-old. He has also only tasted defeat once - on a west coast swing to Santa Anita in March. He’s three-for-three at Churchill Downs and has a grand total of six wins from seven starts.

Five-year-old Chess Chief has a pedigree I well and truly love - a son of Into Mischief via Harlan’s Holiday. Plenty of fine horses have come through that line and Dallas Stewart’s horse has excelled in 2021 compared to his previous form. A win in the New Orleans Handicap is clearly a career high but he also placed third in both the Mineshaft and Alysheba Stakes. He has every chance of outrunning his expected odds.

Visitant was second in that Alysheba race under the Twin Spires back in April behind Maxfield but ahead of Chess Chief. He’s a very lightly raced five-year-old having only six times previously and has been switched from turf to Tapeta to dirt throughout his career. A real wildcard.

Both Necker Island and South Bend tried their luck in the 2020 Kentucky Derby but finished in the middle of the pack. Neither look like genuine contenders based on their career so far but both are relatively fresh having only taken to the track twice in 2021 and have won down at Allowance level.

Seven-year-old Tapit colt Silver Dust has four wins at Grade III level on his resume, which includes finishing third in this race a year ago. He won last time out in the Grade III Ben Ali at Keeneland after a lackluster attempt on the turf at Fair Grounds.

Empty Tomb, Sprawl and Warrior’s Charge round out the field of nine.

Our man J.N. Campbell is down to handicap this race and he’ll be here on Friday with his thoughts of the race...

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