Bradester Wire-to-Wire in the Stephen Foster

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Chu, $1,000,000GI Stephen Foster H. (1 1/8m)Winner: Bradester, h, 6 by Lion Heart

Bradester | Coady

The hard-knocking 6-year-old Bradester (Lion Heart) broke through at the highest level with a game front-running triumph under the lights in Saturday night's GI Stephen Foster H. at Churchill Downs, a 'Win and You're In' for the GI Breeders' Cup Classic. Away to a characteristically sharp beginning, the 9-1 chance had things his own way through a half-mile in :47.58 and six furlongs in 1:11.69. Cornering for home with a daylight lead, the Joseph W. Sutton colorbearer had plenty of gas left in the tank and dug in to notch a half-length score over the hard-charging Eagle (Candy Ride {Arg}). Majestic Harbor (Rockport Harbor) was third. Heavily favored Effinex (Mineshaft) never got involved and finished off the board.

“To win a Grade I with him is phenomenal,” trainer Eddie Kenneally said. “Now he has established himself. He is a beautiful horse, so now he's got credentials to be a stallion hopefully at some point in his career here in Kentucky and I think he's earned that right. He's been a durable and hard-knocking horse and it's great to finally win a Grade I. He was coming into the race great so we decided to take a shot. For a 6-year-old, he's relatively light and has been lightly raced and he's a horse that runs well fresh so we gave him the winter off after the Breeders' Cup. He came back with a huge run at Monmouth a month ago [in the Majestic Light S. May 21].”

Bradester, winless in two prior attempts at the Stephen Foster distance of 1 1/8 miles, won the GIII Salvator Mile and GII Monmouth Cup at Monmouth back-to-back last summer. He closed out the year with a runner-up finish in the GIII Philip H. Iselin S. Aug. 30 and a tiring ninth-place finish in the GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland Oct. 30. The 2014 GIII Ack Ack H. hero returned to action winning the Majestic Light S. in front-running fashion back at the Jersey Shore May 21.

“This race came up with a shorter field than in past years, so we figured it was a good opportunity for him to take a shot at some Grade I horses,” Kenneally continued. “Looking at the form, he is the true speed of the race. [Jockey] Joe [Bravo] rode him with so much confidence and we are just so delighted for the whole team. We have a great crew and we couldn't have done any of this without them.”

Bravo added, “He's a pretty fun horse, he does all the hard work for you. He kind of reminds me of his father Lion Heart who I rode in the Haskell. I just kind of rode him like his dad and you saw what he did today.”

Saturday, Churchill Downs
STEPHEN FOSTER H.-GI, $500,000, CD, 6-18, 3yo/up, 1 1/8m, 1:48.85, ft.
1–&BRADESTER, 116, h, 6, by Lion Heart
Fasig-Tipton-Winner-Logo1st Dam: Grandestofall, by Grand Slam
2nd Dam: Cacophony, by Dixieland Band
3rd Dam: Zealous Connection, by Unreal Zeal
($13,000 Wlg '10 KEENOV; $20,000 Ylg '11 EASSEP; $195,000
2yo '12 FTFMAR). O-Joseph W. Sutton; B-Doug Branham (KY);
T-Eddie Kenneally; J-Joe Bravo. $303,800. Lifetime Record:
23-9-6-2, $1,056,532. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Eagle, 117, c, 4, Candy Ride (Arg)–Sea Gull, by Mineshaft.
O/B-W. S. Farish (KY); T-Neil J. Howard. $98,000.
3–Majestic Harbor, 118, h, 8, Rockport Harbor–Champagne
Royale, by French Deputy. ($20,000 Ylg '09 KEESEP). O-Gallant
Stable; B-Liberation Farm & Brandywine Farm (KY); T-Paul J.
McGee. $49,000.
Margins: HF, NK, 1 1/4. Odds: 9.20, 4.70, 6.40.
Also Ran: El Kabeir, Are You Kidding Me, Effinex, International Star. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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