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Horseracing Update: Proxy Confirmed for 2022 Stephen Foster Stakes, Mandaloun ‘possible’ Entry

The handlers of four-year-old colt Proxy have thrown their hats to the 2022 Stephen Foster Stakes as he seeks to win for the first time after three bridesmaid finishes. Trainer Mike Stidham confirmed Proxy’s entry to the Grade 2, USD750,000 race. It will be on July 2 at Churchill Downs. Stidham also disclosed that Joel Rosario will be the new jockey riding the Lecomte, Rising Star, New Orleans Classic and Blame Stakes second placer. The trainer expressed confidence in his choice, believing that Rosario fits Proxy’s style of pulling off a late charge down the stretch. Rosario replaced Luis Saez after riding Proxy to a trouble-prone second in the Blame Stakes.  He will be the horse’s third jockey in five starts this year.

Olympiad in, Mandaloun a possible starter

Proxy will be up against Olympiad and possibly Mandaloun, whose handlers are still contemplating entering the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner in the field. Olympiad is on a four-race winning streak that includes topping the Alysheba Stakes, New Orleans Classic and Mineshaft Stakes. Trainer Bill Mott said that it is part of the team’s plan to enter him in the Stephen Foster Stakes following a good trial in Saratoga. Olympiad will stake his 2022 unbeaten run of four races against top-caliber horses like Proxy and Mandaloun. Horseracing odds believe that the event will be worth betting on despite its Grade 2 status.

Juddmonte’s pride and joy Mandaloun is set to make his second start in Churchill Downs, a year after winning the Kentucky Derby due to the disqualification of original winner Medina Spirit. After the Derby, Mandaloun took first place in the Pegasus and Haskell Stakes. Then in his debut as a four-year-old, he outclassed Midnight Bourbon in the Louisiana Stakes. The four-race win streak, however, was snapped in the Saudi Cup in February as he came in ninth. Trainer Brad Cox expects Mandaloun to bounce back from that disappointing stint. It says that it is just a matter of time before he will be back in fighting form.

Americanrevolution seeks to bounce back from Blame Stakes setback

Another horse flying on the radar for the 2022 Stephen Foster Stakes is Americanrevolution. The colt out of Constitution and Polly Freeze, Americanrevolution has had an impressive racing career since debuting fourth in 2020. He emerged victorious in the New York Derby, Albany, Empire Classic and Cigar Mile. However, Americanrevolution came in a disappointing fourth in his last race in April, the Blame Stakes in Churchill Downs. Trainer Todd Pletcher has yet to confirm the possibility of Americanrevolution joining the race. If confirmed, he will attempt to bounce back from the disappointing finish. Thus securing his fifth stakes race win and sixth overall.

Other entries in the Stephen Foster Stakes lineup are Title Ready and Last Samurai. Title Ready is a seven-year veteran whose notable victory was the Lousiana Stakes in January 2021. In his last race, he finished third in the Alysheba Stakes behind Happy Saver and eventual winner Olympiad. He could pull off a surprise in online betting picks as the horse can figure in the top three based on his latest performance. However, it will be tough for him, considering the quality of opponents he’ll be facing. Last Samurai is another entry. It can make a surprise bid at the top following his recent victory in the Oaklawn Handicap. Before that, the four-year-old colt came in second in the Temperence Hill Stakes. Six months ago, he topped the Poinsettia Stakes. This early, the Stephen Foster Stakes is set to become an action-packed event in Churchill Downs, especially since the race is a “win and you’re in” event for the Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 5 at Keeneland.