2021 Kentucky Derby winner Mandaloun headlines NBC Sports’ live coverage of the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – presented by America’s Best Racing” $750,000 Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) this Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The winner of the Stephen Foster Stakes will earn the first automatic berth into this year’s $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
The Stephen Foster Stakes headlines the second program this year in the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – presented by America’s Best Racing” on NBC, Peacock, and CNBC from some of North America’s most iconic racetracks. The series leads to the 39th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 4-5. The complete series TV schedule can be accessed here and the NBC Sports programming schedule can be found here.
Saturday’s two-hour broadcast will also include coverage of the 1 1/8-mile, $350,000 Fleur de Lis (G2), for fillies and mares, and the 6 ½-furlong, $160,000 Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes for 3-year-olds and up. The $300,000 Princess Rooney Invitational (G2) from Gulfstream Park, a Win and You’re In for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), will also be featured during race coverage. Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Ce Ce is expected to start in the Princess Rooney Invitational.
Also among the highlights, the connections of historic 80-1 longshot Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike will take part in a special trophy presentation at Churchill Downs.
NBC Sports’ coverage will feature commentary and discussion on-site at Churchill Downs led by host Britney Eurton, analysts Randy Moss and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, winner of 15 Breeders’ Cup races including five victories in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, and reporters/handicappers Matt Bernier and Eddie Olczyk.
The Stephen Foster Stakes, first run in 1982, has had a significant impact on the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, as five of its winners have gone on to win the Classic in the same year: Black Tie Affair (IRE) (1991), Awesome Again (1998), Saint Liam (2005), Blame (2010) and Gun Runner (2017).
Leading this year’s Stephen Foster, Mandaloun has won 6 races in 10 starts for trainer Brad Cox. A 4-year-old son of Into Mischief, Mandaloun won the Louisiana Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds in New Orleans in January but finished ninth in the Saudi Cup (G1) at King Abdulaziz Racetrack on Feb. 26. Earlier this year, Mandaloun was declared the winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby following the disqualification of Medina Spirit. Cox, a two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer, saddled Knicks Go to victory in last year’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic. Mandaloun will be ridden by Florent Geroux from post six.
Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stable, LLC, and LNJ Foxwoods’ Olympiad is unbeaten in four starts this year. Trained by Bill Mott, who saddled Breeders’ Cup Classic winners Cigar (1995) and Drosselmeyer (2011), Olympiad captured the Mineshaft Stakes (G3) and the New Orleans Classic Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds before scoring a 2 ½-length win over the Churchill strip in the Alysheba Stakes (G2) on May 6. Junior Alvarado will ride Olympiad from post three.
Willis Horton Racing’s 4-year-old Last Samurai comes into the race off a 4-length victory in the Oaklawn Handicap (G1) on April 23. Last Samurai, who was transferred to the barn of trainer D. Wayne Lukas from previous trainer Dallas Stewart following the Oaklawn Handicap, will be ridden by Jon Court from post seven. Another graded stakes winner in the field is CHC, Inc. and WinStar Farm’s Americanrevolution. Winner of last year’s Cigar Mile (G1) in New York for trainer Todd Pletcher, Americanrevolution finished fourth at Churchill in the listed Blame Stakes on June 4 in his 2022 debut. Luis Saez has the mount on Americanrevolution, breaking from post two.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the Stephen Foster winner to start in the World Championships. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a $10,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of Kentucky to compete in the World Championships.
In the Fleur de Lis, Flurry Racing Stables LLC, Qatar Racing Limited, and Whisper Hill Farm, LLC’s 5-year-old mare Shedaresthedevil had won all five of her starts at Churchill Downs — including Grade 1 wins in the Longines Kentucky Oaks and the La Troienne — before suffering her first defeat under the Twin Spires when she finished second by a half-length to Pauline’s Pearl in defending her La Troienne title on May 6. Trained by Brad Cox, Shedaresthedevil has won nine of 19 starts. She will be ridden by Florent Geroux.
Stonestreet Stables LLC’s Pauline’s Pearl, trained by Steve Asmussen, has won two of four starts this year. In addition to the La Troienne, the 4-year-old daughter of Tapit won the Houston Ladies Classic Stakes (G3) at Sam Houston Race Park in January. Joel Rosario will ride Pauline’s Pearl from post four.
The Fleur de Lis is a part of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Dozen program. The first three finishers in the race will earn bonus credits applied toward entry fee costs into $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
Nine horses have been entered in the Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes, including last year’s $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Aloha West. Trained by Wayne Catalano for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Aloha West will try to get back to the winner’s circle following two defeats this year, which includes a third-place finish in the Churchill Downs Stakes (G1) on May 7.