Tom's d'Etat made his case for one of the top older horses of 2020 with a blowout performance in Churchill's GII Stephen Foster S. coming on the heels of three straight wins, including in last November's GI Clark H. under the Twin Spires. Allowing longshot Pirate's Punch (Shanghai Bobby) to dictate terms through initial fractions of :23.89 and :48.13, the 7-year-old loomed menacingly just to his outside before overtaking the pacesetter on the far turn following six furlongs in 1:11.67. Two lengths in front turning for home, the 6-5 choice continued to draw clear late. With rider Miguel Mena throwing a few crosses down the lane before standing up a few strides before the wire, Tom's d'Etat was absolutely dominant, never leaving the outcome in doubt while crossing the wire 4 1/4 lengths ahead of By My Standards. The final time of 1:47.30 was the second-fastest time for the Stephen Foster, which is a Breeders' Cup 'Win and You're in' for the GI Breeders' Cup Classic.
“We knew coming into this race he was a fresh horse but [he] ran so well fresh in the past,” said trainer Al Stall, Jr. “This will set him up to be in good shape for the rest of the year. I think he'll benefit a lot from this race but we've sort of been waiting for this horse to get into form with the breaks in his races but he's finally got there. That was a very impressive performance today.”
Now riding a four-race win streak, Tom's d'Etat is lightly raced for his age. He first made it to the races as a 3-year-old and, beset by various minor setbacks, didn't attempt his first black-type event until December of his 5-year-old season when he won the Tenacious S. at Fair Grounds. He had his most productive and prolific season last year as a 6-year-old when he captured the aforementioned GI Clark, as well as Keeneland's GII Hagyard Fayette S. and Saratoga's Alydar S. He was also placed in both the GII Alysheba S. and that year's edition of the Stephen Foster. The bay made his 7-year-old debut with a win in the Apr. 11 Oaklawn Mile S., getting his seventh consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure.
One of 135 stakes winners (69 graded) for the late Smart Strike, Tom's d'Etat is out of the black-type winning and graded-placed Giant's Causeway mare Julia Tuttle. Her dam is a full-sister to Argentinean champion and U.S. leading sire Candy Ride (Arg) (Ride the Rails). Julia Tuttle's last two foals have been a filly by Connect and a colt by Nyquist, respectively. Tom's d'Etat is one of five stakes performers by Smart Strike out of Giant's Causeway mares. The others include MGSW Family Tree and GSW Liam the Charmer.
Saturday, Churchill Downs
STEPHEN FOSTER S.-GII, $500,000, Churchill Downs, 6-27, 4yo/up, 1 1/8m, 1:47.30, ft.
1–TOM'S D'ETAT, 124, h, 7, by Smart Strike
1st Dam: Julia Tuttle (SW & GSP, $188,051), by Giant's Causeway
2nd Dam: Candy Cane (Arg), by Ride the Rails
3rd Dam: Candy Girl (Arg), by Candy Stripes
($330,000 Ylg '14 KEESEP). O-G M B Racing; B-SF Bloodstock
LLC (KY); T-Albert M. Stall, Jr.; J-Miguel Mena. $300,700.
Lifetime Record: GISW, 18-11-2-1, $1,627,272. Werk Nick
Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–By My Standards, 122, c, 4, Goldencents–A Jealous Woman,
by Muqtarib. ($150,000 2yo '18 OBSAPR). O-Allied Racing
Stable, LLC; B-Don Ladd (KY); T-W. Bret Calhoun. $97,000.
3–Silver Dust, 120, g, 6, Tapit–Filare l'Oro, by Hard Spun.
($270,000 Ylg '15 KEESEP; $510,000 2yo '16 OBSMAR). O-Tom
R. Durant; B-Don Alberto Corporation (KY); T-W. Bret Calhoun.
Margins: 4 1/4, 2 3/4, 1. Odds: 1.30, 1.90, 27.80.
Also Ran: Multiplier, Owendale, Fearless, Pirate's Punch, Alkhaatam.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.