Stephen Foster Looks Like a Fortified Success?

Could Fort Larned Prove Successful?

Fort LarnedSaturday, June 15th will mark the $500,000 Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. Set to run 1 1/8 of a mile, the Stephen Foster will showcase 3 year olds and up, boasting a field of  6 horses I’m sure you’ve heard of, including last year’s winner Ron the Greek. When I looked at this race, though, my eyes were immediately drawn to Fort Larned. Of course he won the Breeders Cup Classic last year in some sort of an upset, going off at over 9-1. In his two starts this year he has done nothing. He lost his rider at Gulfstream at less than even money and then finished a disappointing fifth in the Oaklawn Handicap where he was again less than even odds. Doesn’t sound too convincing, right?

Short Memories & Long Odds for Fort Larned

Well I am one to give horses another chance, especially if they have failed to live up to their capabilities in their last two or three races. The reason for that is that the betting public has very short memories and you tend to get some value out of the horse. Trainer Ian Wilkes had this to say about Fort Larned.


“I honestly think that he is as good this year as he was last year. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t start showing that.”

I know, I know. Every trainer says good things about his own charges. I mean what do you want him to say? He has to have an upbeat attitude about it. When told that Fort Larned may be as high as 4th choice in the race he just smiled.


“Fourth choice? I think I’d have some of that.”

A Last Minute Decision in 2013 Stephen Foster

Take Charge IndyBut this race will not be a cakewalk for Fort Larned. First off, I assume he will be trying to get the lead, but Miss Rosie Napravnik will have something to say about that, as she will be aboard Take Charge Indy who will be vying for the lead also. This could result in a speed duel and I am not sure either horse can survive that. If that is the case you can look for Successful Dan to pick up the pieces down the stretch. He is an interesting one who has won on the lead and from a stalking position.

Take Charge IndySo I know you want me to quit beating around the bush here and make my selection. I am just now making my pick as of this very moment. I believe it will be Successful Dan, at the wire by 11/2 lengths over Fort Larned and Take Charge Indy back in third.

I hope you all enjoy the Stephen Foster and remember to honor your Dad on Father’s Day.

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Handicap Horses

Co-lead Author & Admin at Handicap Horse Racing
Mike Lane, Sr is co-lead author and administrator of With over 38 years of experience and a degree in the "School of Hard Knocks" for handicapping, Mike has seen it all when it comes to thoroughbred racing and wants to help other horse players learn how to handicap and avoid the mistakes he has made in the past.

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