Brent Sedo | Sat 16/06/2018 - 02:03 EDT

Breeders' Cup Qualifier: Stephen Foster Handicap Picks

Breeders' Cup Qualifier: Stephen Foster Handicap Picks

Stephen Foster Handicap Odds and Preview

A longtime fixture on the North American racing calendar, last year's Stephen Foster featured superstar Gun Runner, who won the race and then took the Breeders' Cup Classic as well. Prior to that, Fort Larned turned the Stephen Foster/BC Classic trick in 2013.

The race is for colts aged three and older, and they run 1 1/8 miles on the Churchill Downs dirt for a total purse of $500,000. 

Although the Stephen Foster will feature a few names familiar to racing fans from the 2017 Triple Crown trail, the heavy favorite in the race at morning line odds of 6-5 is a relative unknown in Backyard Heaven. Trained by Chad Brown, he's a lightly raced four year old who broke his maiden at second asking last year at Aqueduct.

This year he didn't get back to the races until mid-March, taking an allowance-level event also at the New York track, before stepping up big time last out in the (G2) Alysheba Stakes at Churchill, taking the 1 1/16 mile race by more than four lengths over a very good field that included 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming, as well as Hoppertunity, who last weekend won the (G2) Brooklyn Invitational.

He pressed a very quick pace to the 3/4 mile mark in the Alysheba before taking command, and if he can show that kind of early speed once again he could be very tough to run down here.

Irish War Cry a Talented Question Mark

Trying to go with him early is likely to be Irish War Cry (5-1) one of the aforementioned contenders in last year's Triple Crown series. He was in fact the co-favorite for the 2017 Kentucky Derby and looked a winner until fading badly in the stretch. He gained some redemption from that effort by running second in last year's Belmont Stakes, and although he can be maddingly inconsistent, he is a talented colt and comes in off a wire-to-wire win one month ago in the (G2) Pimlico Special.

Breaking from the rail position, Honorable Duty (6-1) was second in the Stephen Foster last year, and overall has won eight of 18 lifetime starts including a trio of graded-stakes races. Two starts back he was pulled up with a minor injury in the (G1) Clark Handicap and was then away from the races for six months. 

He made his 2018 debut a winning one at the allowance level last month and could be primed to run a big one on Saturday at what should be very playable odds.

On the far outside gate and also at odds of 5-1, Pavel has been just missing the money recently, with four consecutive fourth-place finishes to his name following a tenth-place finish in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic. It should be noted that three of those four races were top-level Grade 1 events, including the $10 million Dubai World Cup and he'll get both a cut back in distance and class relief here.

The 2018 Stephen Foster Handicap is part of Churchill's Saturday night card and is scheduled to go to the post at 9:39 PM Eastern. Race #8 of 11 on the card, the Stephen Foster immediately follows the (G2) Fleur d'Lis Handicap for fillies and mares, which is a 'Win And You're In' race for the 2018 BC Distaff

Entries w/ ML Odds

  1. Honorable Duty (6-1)
  2. Patch (10-1)
  3. Haawakom (12-1)
  4. Uncle Mojo (10-1)
  5. Matrooh (20-1)
  6. Backyard Heaven (6-5)
  7. Lookin' At Lee (12-1)
  8. Irish War Cry (5-1)
  9. Pavel (5-1)   

Stephen Foster Handicap Picks

  • 1) #6 - Backyard Heaven
  • 2) #8 - Irish War Cry
  • 3) #1 - Honorable Duty
  • 4) #9 - Pavel

Betting the Stephen Foster Handicap

As metioned earlier, the Stephen Foster is the highlight of the Saturday evening card at Churchill, but if you can't be at the track you can still bet every race as well as make a future bet on the Breeders' Cup Classic and Distaff races at Bovada's online racebook

      Category : Betting Picks

      Tag : Bovada , Horse Racing

      More articles...
      Betting Picks - 30/06/20
      Nathan's Famous Hot-Dog Contest Odds: Chestnut, Sudo A Cut Above The Rest 

      July 4th in the USA is about fireworks, apple pie, the flag, and if you happen to be on stage at Nathan's Famous Restaurant in Brooklyn, N.Y., cramming as many hot dogs as you can down your gullet.

      Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest is as much a staple of America's Independence Day as any other patriotic celebration. And let's face it, what's more American than eating too much on a holiday?

      Betting Picks - 30/06/20
      UFC 251: Trio Of Title Fights On Tap 

      Dana White promised fireworks when UFC made its bow on Fight Island, and he has delivered on that promise. Three world title belts will be on the line at UFC 251 on July 11 when the promotion gathers for the first time on the private island in Abu Dhabi that they will call home for the month of July. UFC will contest three other cards on the island later this month.

      Betting Picks - 22/06/20
      NFL: Best Bets And Top Picks For The 2020-21 Season 

      Check out the picks for the available futures available at the main sportsbooks.

      Betting Picks - 17/06/20
      Belmont Stakes Picks: Belmont Goes From Late Closer To Starter 

      Check out the 2020 Belmont Stakes Betting odds an picks. Don't miss these tips before wagering.