Ron the Greek used a late charge along the rail in the final furlong to edge past favorite Wise Dan at the wire to win the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. Nates Mineshaft set a solid pace in the early stages and sprinted away from the field at the top of the stretch to take command of the race. But the quick fractions took their toll on the pacesetter and he wore down in the final quarter mile while Wise Dan and Ron the Greek stayed on to the wire.
An objection was logged following the conclusion of the race as Nates Mineshaft shifted out badly in deep stretch which appeared to cause a chain reaction of swerving horses behind him. The objection was between Rogue Romance and Wise Dan. No change was made following a review of the tape.
In the stakes races preceding the Foster, Neck 'n Neck won the G3-Matt Winn; Centre Court won the G3-Regret, and Royal Delta cruised home to win the G2-Fleur de Lis in the most impressive performance of the day. Royal Delta, the 2011 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic winner coming back after a rough time of it in Dubai, steamrolled her rivals to win by eight lengths in a work-like gallop at the wire.
Ron the Greek is a five-year-old son of Full Mandate out of a Fortunate Prospect mare (Flambe') trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Jose Lezcano. This is his second Grade 1 win of 2012, following his score in the G1-Santa Anita Handicap.
Below is the video replay, along with the payouts, fractions and internal splits for the G1-Stephen Foster Handicap. Take note of the finishing splits in the Foster - 25.38 and 14.18 - the field was cooked in those final furlongs; Nates Mineshaft almost ran them into submission. Instead, he ran himself into submission. That is a tough defeat for a horse that did all the dirty work in the race.
|5-Ron the Greek||$20.80||$6.40||$5.40|