Bradester wins Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Bradester took charge at the start and held off Eagle by a half-length Saturday night in the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs to claim a spot in this fall in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita.
The 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred bay colt trained by Eddie Kenneally was a late entrant but earned his first Grade 1 victory to improve to 2-0 this year. He has four wins in his past six starts with three graded stakes triumphs. Breaking from the No. 2 post position, Bradester set the pace, dug in and remained clear in the stretch despite a challenge from Eagle for the biggest win of his career.
Ridden by Joe Bravo, Bradester ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.85 and paid $20.40, $8.40 and $5.40.
''We didn't know if he was going to be pressed through the first part of the race too hard and maybe just get the air knocked out of him,'' Kenneally said. ''I felt like if he could dictate the pace all alone on the front end, that he could run them into the ground. Joe rode him with so much confidence and we are just so delighted for the whole team.''
Eagle returned $5.20 and $3.40, and Majestic Harbor paid $3.80 to show.
Even-money race favorite Effinex, who was second to Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in last fall's Breeders' Cup Classic, was sixth in the seven-horse field.