Ten Things You Should Know: Stephen Foster Handicap
2) The first edition of the race came in 1982. It was run as a Grade 3 from 1988 to 1994, was upgraded to a Grade 2 in 1995, and has been a Grade 1 since 2002.
3) The race is named for legendary American composer Stephen Foster (1826-1864). Foster wrote “My Old Kentucky Home,” a song that has been sung prior to the running of the Kentucky Derby since the 1921.
4) No Kentucky Derby winner has ever returned to Churchill to win the Stephen Foster. Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm ran in the race twice but finished second in 1998 and fourth in 1999. He was beaten by the eventual Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Awesome Again in 1998. The 1999 Stephen Foster was the final race of Silver Charm’s stellar career.
5) In 1999, the previous year’s Belmont Stakes winner, Victory Gallop, set the Churchill Downs track record for 1 ⅛ miles in the Stephen Foster (1:47.88). The record still stands.