For those of us that like to eat, a loaded baked potato is a delectable delight. Piled high with potatoey goodness, this mouth-watering dish does a body good. A quick glance at the Stephen Foster Stakes on July 1 reminds us of one of those spectacular spuds.
Relocated to Ellis Park in 2023, this grade 1 race features a very balanced field full of yummy ingredients. Just because we like to have fun, let’s examine the eight entrants that will be running for a tasty $1 million purse.
A baked potato is not a baked potato without some butter and that comes in the form of Proxy. This son of Tapit has finished in the top three in thirteen of sixteen career starts and won the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in his last start.
When you think about that first dairy product, it is a given you need another and that means a little sour cream. The white creamy goodness here is Stilleto Boy. This son of the hard-running Shackleford has been in the money in seventeen of twenty-two career starts and earlier this year won the grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap.
Because we need a little color, the chives are thrown on as a Ron Moquett-trained Speed Bias. This son of Uncle Mo has not won a Stakes race but has finished in the top three in seven of nine starts and was a hard-running second last out in the Pimlico Special.
An absolute must on one of these mountainous Russets is of course bacon. Rattle N Roll fits that bill here as this son of Connect has won three grade 3 races in a row and as conditioner, Kenny McPeek proclaims, “he understands how to run winning races”.
When you want to go another notch, some ranch dressing goes over the top and that magical ingredient is none other than Smile Happy. Also trained by Kenny McPeek, this spirited son of Runhappy ran perhaps the best race of his life on May 5 while winning the grade 2 Alysheba.
One of the things that really loads the potato is a hefty scoop of pulled pork butt. Both tender and juicy, West Will Power looks every bit the part of a prime-time ingredient. Having finished in the top three in fourteen of sixteen career starts, this Brad Cox trainee is coming into the race right.
Of course, we have to have some cheese on top and that has to be Last Samurai. Having brought home more cheddar ($2,128,964) than any of the other entrants, this D. Wayne Lukas runner has already won two grade 3 races this year.
Finally, we add some spicy barbecue sauce to give our dish that perfect kick at the end. Happy American is likely a longer shot that could upset the field and make the stomach smile. Having finished in the top three in half his twenty career starts, this Neil Pessin-trained son of Runhappy won the grade 3 Louisiana Stakes back in January.
Sounds like we have a delicious race on tap. The Foster is carded as race 10 at Ellis Park with an expected post time of 4:26 pm central.