Trainer John Sadler is sending Gift Box east for a chance to punch a ticket into the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Gift Box was listed Sunday by Churchill Downs as a probable entry for Saturday night’s Grade 2, $600,000 Stephen Foster. The race in Louisville, Ky., carries with it a “Win and You’re In” berth into the Nov. 2 Classic back at Gift Box's Santa Anita Park base.
The 6-year-old son of Twirling Candy sports five wins in 16 starts, the last three of which have all come since Sadler's chief client, Hronis Racing, purchased the gray and transferred him from Chad Brown. Gift Box won the track’s San Antonio Stakes (G2) on Dec. 26 and Santa Anita Handicap (G1) on April 6, then finished second on Memorial Day to Vino Rosso in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1).
Jockey Joel Rosario, who won Saturday’s Belmont Stakes on Sir Winston, has piloted Gift Box each of his last three starts.
The Stephen Foster, Race 8 on the card, goes 1 1/8 miles on the Churchill dirt for horses 3-years and up. Post time Saturday is scheduled for 9:47 p.m., and the race will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.
Others listed as probable include Alkhaatam (trained by Danny Peitz), Draft Pick (Peter Eurton), Exulting (Mike Maker), King Zachary (Graham Motion), Quip (Rodolphe Brisset), Rated R Superstar (Cipriano Contreras), Seeking the Soul (Dallas Stewart), Silver Dust (Bret Calhoun), Thirstforlife (Wes Hawley), Tom’s d’Etat (Al Stall Jr.) and Japanese-bred Yoshida (Bill Mott).
The Foster leads a strong cast of stakes under the Twin Spires, with other prospective fields below. Post positions draw Wednesday.
Race 5 (8:03 p.m. ET) – $150,000 Matt Winn (G3), 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles
Probable (with trainer): Armistice Day (Tommy Drury); Cashanova (Brad Cox); Knicks Go (Ben Colebrook); Mr. Money (Bret Calhoun); and Signalman (Kenny McPeek)
Race 6 (8:37 p.m. ET) – $250,000 Wise Dan (G2), 3-year-olds and up, 1 1/16 miles on turf
Probable (with trainer): Admission Office (Brian Lynch); All Right (John Ortiz); Bourbon Resolution (Ian Wilkes); El Picaro (CHI) (Ignacio Correas IV); First Premio (Mark Casse); Hembree (Mike Maker); Itsinthepost (FR) (Jeff Mullins); Mr. Misunderstood (Brad Cox); Parlor (Eddie Kenneally); and Siem Riep (Ben Colebrook)
Race 7 (9:12 p.m. ET) – $250,000 Fleur de Lis (G2), fillies and mares, 1 1/8 miles
Probable (with trainer): Auspicious Babe (Dallas Stewart); Blue Prize (ARG) (Ignacio Correas IV); Elate (Bill Mott); Go Google Yourself (Paul McGee); Red Ruby (Kellyn Gorder); She’s a Julie (Steve Asmussen); and Skeptic (Rusty Arnold II)
Race 9 (10:19 p.m. ET) – $150,000 Regret (G3), 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/8 miles on turf
Probable (with trainer): Belle Laura (Norm Casse); Choate Bridge (Brendan Walsh); Fortunate Girl (Mark Casse);Gamblin Train (Buff Bradley); Hard Legacy (Norm Casse); La Feve (FR) (Graham Motion); Princesa Carolina (Kenny McPeek); She’sonthewarpath (Steve Margolis); and Winter Sunset (Wayne Catalano)