Edited Churchill Staff Release – Mage will contest the second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (Grade I) on Saturday, May 20 at Pimlico Race Course.
Mage’s ownership group confirmed his next race plans following his training session Friday morning at Churchill Downs where the colt warmed up in the mile chute prior to galloping about 1 5/8 miles under regular exercise rider J.J. Delgado.
“It still really hasn’t sunk in that we won the Kentucky Derby,” co-owner/assistant trainer Gustavo Delgado Jr. said Thursday evening. “It’s been a surreal last few days. The most important thing is the horse looks great. He’s kept his weight and relaxed when training.”
Mage is expected to join fellow local Preakness entrants Confidence Game (trainer Keith Desormeaux), Disarm (Steve Asmussen), First Mission (Brad Cox) and Red Route One (Asmussen).
Delgado stated Mage will train Saturday around 7:45 a.m. prior to vanning to Baltimore that afternoon.
SMILE HAPPY TARGETS GRADE I STEPHEN FOSTER – Lucky Seven Stable’s Smile Happy is on target for the $1 million Stephen Foster (Grade I) on July 1 following his victory in the $600,000 Alysheba Stakes (GII) on Kentucky Oaks Day, according to trainer Kenny McPeek.
“(Smile Happy) will go to the Stephen Foster and Rattle n’ Roll, who’s owned by the Mackin family, will go the Blame Stakes,” McPeek said.
Smile Happy recorded his co-best Brisnet Speed Rating of 106 in the Alysheba, tying his mark from his 4-year-old debut in a conditioned allowance event at Oaklawn. The son of Runhappy finished eighth in Kentucky Derby 148 and went to the sidelines until March. In the Alysheba, Smile Happy made a bold move around the far turn and powered clear for a two-length score under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.
The $225,000 Blame (GIII), featuring Smile Happy’s multiple graded stakes-winning stablemate Rattle n’ Roll, will be run Saturday, June 3 as part of Stephen Foster Preview Day. One month later, the Stephen Foster, which was elevated back to Grade I status this year, will highlight the card as one of six stakes events.
Once again, the Stephen Foster will be used as a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In Classic Division” qualifying race where the winner will receive an automatic berth to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.
The Stephen Foster also will be telecast on NBC and Peacock as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
Along with the Stephen Foster, the spectacular July 1 day of racing at Churchill Downs will include the $400,000 Fleur de Lis (GII), $400,000 Wise Dan (GII), $225,000 American Derby (Listed), $225,000 Kelly’s Landing (Listed) and $225,000 Tepin.
Preps for all six of those stakes events will be held June 3 at Churchill Downs: the $225,000 Arlington Stakes (GIII) (prep for the Wise Dan), Blame (prep for the Stephen Foster), $225,000 Shawnee (GIII) (prep for the Fleur de Lis), $225,000 Regret (GIII) (prep for the Tepin), $225,000 Aristides (Listed) (prep for the Kelly’s Landing) and $225,000 Audubon (Listed) (prep for the American Derby).
Nominations for Stephen Foster Preview Day close Saturday, May 20.