G M B Racing’s brilliant Grade 2 Stephen Foster winner Tom’s d’Etat along with Bloom Racing, Madaket Stables and Allen Racing’s ultra-classy Fleur de Lis (G2) hero Midnight Bisou both exited Saturday’s races in good shape and will head to Saratoga in the coming days for their eight-week meet, according to their respective connections.
“It was just an unbelievable day on Saturday,” trainer Al Stall Jr. said. “To draw off like that, and almost break the track record, was unreal. He ran a sub 36-second final three-eighths. You don’t see many route horses in the country that are able to do that, especially as geared down as he was in the final stages.”
Tom’s d’Etat cruised to a 4¼-length win in Saturday’s Stephen Foster, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In Classic Division” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which is scheduled for Nov. 7 at Keeneland. His connections will have all Breeders’ Cup pre-entry and entry fees covered for the season-ending championship race.
Just one race prior to Tom’s d’Etat, 2019 Eclipse Award winner Midnight Bisou stylishly returned to the winner’s circle with an emphatic 8¼-length victory in the Fleur de Lis.
“I can’t say enough how thankful we are to Jeff Bloom, Sol Kumin and the Allens for keeping this brilliant mare in training for this year,” said Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who had a busy Sunday morning working 13 horses beneath the Twin Spires.
By winning the Fleur de Lis, Midnight Bisou secured a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Nov. 7 at Keeneland. The question remains if she will point toward the Distaff or the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Asmussen and Stall’s string of horses are expected to ship from Churchill Downs to Saratoga in the coming days. With the disrupted racing schedule around the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many trainers and jockeys are opting to remain in Kentucky for the summer and ship to Saratoga as necessary. Jockeys Tyler Gaffalione and Ricardo Santana Jr. are among the local riders expected to ride at Saratoga following Keeneland’s Summer Meet which spans July 8-12.
Most of the other jockeys in the Churchill Downs riding colony such as Rafael Bejarano, James Graham, Florent Geroux, Brian Hernandez Jr., Chris Landeros, Corey Lanerie and Julien Leparoux plan to ride the summer at Ellis Park and ship out of town if necessary.
Many local trainers will keep their string of horses in training at Churchill Downs including typical Saratoga-goers D. Wayne Lukas and Dallas Stewart.
Several of the West Coast trainers currently stabled at Churchill Downs, including Peter Miller and John Sadler, are planning to return to California for the Del Mar meet.
Chad Brown, who was a new addition to the Churchill Downs backstretch this spring, is planning on remaining stabled in Barn 26 throughout the summer and fall, according to his local assistant Whit Beckman. Brown will still be a very strong presence at Saratoga with the majority of his string based in New York.
The Kentucky racing circuit with shift to Ellis Park on Thursday through next Sunday. Then, Keeneland will run their abbreviated Summer Meet from July 8-12 before racing continues throughout the month of July and August at Ellis Park. Racing at Churchill Downs will return Sept. 1 for the start of Kentucky Derby Week.
Churchill Downs notes
- Gaffalione secured his second riding title at Churchill Downs and entered Sunday with an insurmountable lead of 31-22 wins over Lanerie.
- Following Asmussen’s four-win day Saturday, he began Sunday tied with Brad Cox for the Spring Meet leading trainer title with 16 wins each. Asmussen, who seeks his record-extending 23rd local title, had four horses entered while Cox, a three-time local leader, had two.
- Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who have a record 32 local titles, and Steve Landers, who seeks his first, are tied with four wins a piece for the Spring Meet leading owner title. On Sunday, the Ramseys had six horses entered in four races while Landers had one.