LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Tuesday, June 10, 2014) – Seeking his first graded stakes victory, Godolphin Racing LLC’s Long River is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Wednesday morning for the Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (GI), according to his New York-based trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
“We’ve been pointing to this for a while because it’s an important Grade I race and he wants the mile and an eighth more than say the mile distance in the Metropolitan Handicap or the mile and a half distance in the Brooklyn Handicap,” McLaughlin said. “We’re happy to go there and in the handicap we’ve gotten some weight off of a couple of big horses like Will Take Charge who’s giving us eight pounds.”
Willis D. Horton and Three Chimneys Farm LLC’s Will Take Charge was assigned 123 pounds to Long River’s 115.
“There are several reasons for going,” McLaughlin said. “He has one of the best pedigrees in the world so if we could win a Grade I race it would be huge.”
In addition to being by the two-time leading sire and Horse of the Year A. P. Indy, Long River is out of the Awesome Again mare Round Pond, winner of the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) at Churchill Downs. Further back in the pedigree one will find multiple European Group 1-winner Black Minnaloushe, multiple European Group 1-winner Pennekamp and multiple Grade I-winner Nasr el Arab.
In his last four starts, Long River captured the Time For A Change and Evening Attire at Aqueduct, finished second to stable mate Romansh in the Excelsior (GIII) and most recently finished fifth beaten three lengths in the Charles Town Classic (GIII).
When asked about the colt’s performance in the Charles Town Classic McLaughlin said, “There were really tight turns there and he just didn’t have a good night; didn’t race well. It didn’t go that smoothly, he didn’t like the size of the track and the company there was very tough. It was a good effort, but just wasn’t what we were expecting. He was always close to the pace but just wasn’t able to finish well. But at least he got schooled under the lights for Saturday.”
ROMANS MAY HAVE TWO STARTERS IN SATURDAY’S FOSTER
Gainesway Stable, William Graves and John Oxley’s Coin Broker is a possible starter for Saturday’s $500,000-added Steven Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (Grade I) for trainer Dale Romans. Romans also trains Prayer for Relief for Zayat Stables LLC, who has been confirmed for the featured race on Saturday night’s Downs After Dark card.
Romans indicated that both Prayer for Relief and Coin Broker were in good shape coming out of workouts on Saturday. Both went five furlongs, Prayer for Relief in 1:00, the fastest time of 32 workers at the distance, and Coin Broker in 1:01.80. Romans said both horses had easy gallops Tuesday morning under the Twin Spires.
When asked about Prayer for Relief Romans responded, “He’s in good shape and we’re ready to go. Johnny Velazquez will be here to ride and we’re excited.”
Velazquez was on board for Prayer for Relief’s last start, a runner-up effort to Revolutionary in the Pimlico Special (GIII) on May 17.
Coin Broker’s last start was a third-place finish in the Alysheba (GII) on Kentucky Oaks Day.
“I was happy with his last race,” Romans said of Coin Broker. “I think he’s getting really close to being able to compete with these types of horses and we want to make sure he’s in the right spot whenever he decides he’s ready.”
Romans said that leading Churchill Downs rider Corey Lanerie would have the mount on Coin Broker should he decide to run in the Foster.
In other Foster news, WinStar Farm LLC’s Revolutionary arrived at Churchill Downs on Monday afternoon for trainer Todd Pletcher. The 4-year-old son of War Pass galloped 1 ¼ miles at Churchill Downs on Tuesday morning under exercise rider Adele Bellinger.