Ten Things to Know About the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs

A great day of racing is slated for Saturday at Churchill Downs, including the historic Stephen Foster Handicap, a staple at the track since 1982. Get ready for the Grade 1 race with the fun facts below.

1. The Stephen Foster is the only Grade 1 race of Churchill’s spring meet that is not contested during Kentucky Derby week.

2. No horse has won the race by a larger margin that Gun Runner did last year. He crossed the wire seven lengths clear of runner-up Honorable Duty.

3. The Stephen Foster offers a purse of $500,000, and the winner gets more than 60 percent of that total depending on how many foes he faces.

4. Trainer Steve Asmussen is tied with four other trainers for most wins in the race, with two. He could take the lead if his Lookin At Lee wins this year.

5. The race is named after famed composer Stephen Foster, “the father of American music” who wrote the state song of Kentucky, “My Old Kentucky Home,” as well as “Oh! Susanna” and “Camptown Races,” among other timeless compositions.

6. Churchill Downs hosts the Breeders’ Cup this fall, and the Stephen Foster winner automatically earns a berth in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Foster is one of two Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races at Churchill this weekend. Both the Stephen Foster and the Fleur de Lis Handicap will be televised by NBCSN.

7. Five horses have won the Breeders’ Cup Classic after winning the Stephen Foster in the same year, including last year’s winner Gun Runner. The others: Black Tie Affair (1991); Awesome Again (1998); Saint Liam (2005); and Blame (2010).

8. Perfect Drift ran in four straight editions of the race from 2003 through 2006, winning his first try and finishing third twice and second once.

9. Seek Gold won the race by a nose over Perfect Drift at odds of 91.70-1 in 2006, paying $185.40 for every $2 win bet.

10. The race has been contested on a sloppy track just four times in its history: 1982, 1997, 2000, and 2004.

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