Stephen Foster Stakes (06/27/20)

Churchill Downs, Race 10

Saturday's action is highlighted by this “Win and You're In” prep of 9 furlongs for the Breeder's Cup Classic. A fit group of older runners features some recency with only 1 of the 8 entering off a 60+ day layoff. Let's take a scan for Form Cycle Patterns in this competitive group where condition is of utmost importance.

#1 Fearless 12/1

With dirt spread being defined as 4F minus Final, notice these last 3 routes going as -16, -17, -20. The majority of dirt horses run spreads with positive numbers. Fearless' severe negative spreads project clearly a runner that's been distributing most of their energy toward the end of the race. The SOFT designation from last out is a positive indicating a win came with minimum effort and the horse likely has more to give. However, with that big late energy comes an issue of position. A quick sort on the Value Plays menu of Last 4F gives us a 57 for Fearless with the rest of the field in the 72-78 range. Pace handicapping tells you if this runner attempts to pick this pace up to stay with the field, the Final will suffer. This has the looks of a runner you'd need to find a reason the rest of the field will fall apart late.

#6 By My Standards 5/2

There's that SOFT pattern again 2 back winning with a 58/75. Not needing to exert any more than necessary, runner moved off the SOFT to a 75/80 last out which ranks within 2 points of his top ability on 4F and Final so no DTOP is triggered. Classy runners such as this can carry form up to 60 days so this one just remains "within the campaign" and eligible to repeat those big numbers.

#7 Silver Dust 10/1

Last out 78/78 sprung a CPT (Cyclical Pace Top) which we can think of as a NPT, but for older horses. CPT's are triggered by the fastest 4F Figure over the last 10 races so not as powerful as NPTs but still a positive conditioning factor. Candidate to move forward.

#5 Tom's d'Etat 1/1

Instilled as your morning line favorite, I'll note after stringing together 6 top notch races through 2019, this one was put on a plan pointed for the Breeder's Cup Classic. I would not consider the spacing of this year's runs to be anything form-related to worry about. Count the times this runner's Final Figure has hit 80 or close compared to the field and you'll realize why he's the top betting choice. For such low payout, I wouldn't consider him untouchable, however. He's been a consistent type on the 4F and 6F Figures, and the door is open for a runner ready to get position and be brave.

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