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Fort Larned Starts Over in Stephen Foster

Things haven’t exactly gone according to plan this year for 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade I) winner Fort Larned, but trainer Ian Wilkes will look for things to turn around beginning with the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at Churchill Downs on June 15.
Janis Whitham’s Fort Larned made his 2013 debut in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (GII) and lost jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. after stumbling at the start. In his second and most recent start of the year, he finished fifth as the 1-2 favorite in the Oaklawn Handicap (GII).
“This is like a restart for the year for us,” Wilkes said. “We had a couple hiccups earlier this year and now we are looking to restart our year and point everything to the Breeders’ Cup.”
The Stephen Foster Handicap is a “Win & You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will be run at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 2.
In prep for the Stephen Foster, Fort Larned breezed five furlongs in :59.80 on the fast main track at Churchill Downs on Friday morning. It was the third fastest work of 21 at the distance.
“The horse is doing great,” Wilkes said. “He worked very well this morning.”
Working under Calvin Borel, Fort Larned recorded fractions of :12.80, :25 and :37.20 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.80, seven-eighths in 1:24.40 and a mile in 1:38.60.
“Calvin did me a favor and worked him this morning, but Brian won’t be taking off. (Hernandez) will have the mount (in the Stephen Foster).”
In addition to being aboard the bay son of E Dubai for the Classic victory last year, Hernandez guided Fort Larned to wins in the Whitney Handicap (GI) and Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (GIII).
Nominations for the Stephen Foster Handicap close Saturday, June 1.


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Older Comments about Fort Larned Starts Over in Stephen Foster...

VERY nice field. Multiple GR1 winners, and Graded winners in here.

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