Macho Again Scores in G1 Stephen Foster
Macho Notches Grade 1 Win at Churchill Downs
Macho Again had been to the dance before. He had run in four Grade 1 events prior to his start in Saturday's $660,000 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. He had a thrilling second-place finish in last year's Preakness Stakes, but never had his picture taken in the winner's circle in any of them.
All that changed Saturday afternoon at about 5:35pm EST as the big gray son of Macho Uno was led into the winner's circle at Churchill Downs following his come-from-behind win in the Foster.
As usual, Macho was allowed to settle at the back of the pack in the early stages under jockey Robby Albarado. Up front, the leaders ran a half-mile in :48 and that's when Macho began to make his move.
"Man, it felt just like it did when we were at the Fair Grounds (site of his win in the G2 Louisiana Derby earlier this year)," said Albarado. "He just began lengthening his stride and picking off horses one by one around the turn. I just wanted to keep him clear and allow him to keep running because I knew he was moving."
Macho Again would take the lead inside the eighth pole and would go on to a one-length win in the Grade 1 Handicap. The final time for the mile-and-an-eighth race was 1:49.3.
"I knew he was coming into the race well," said Macho's trainer Dallas Stewart. "I told anyone that would listen that I thought he was going to run a big race. I thought Robby (Albarado) did a great job with him once again, and he got the job done. I'm thrilled."
"I'm extremely happy for the partners on this colt," said WPT President Terry Finley. "Dallas did a great job getting him ready, and he showed once again that on his day, he's as good as anyone. We couldn't be happier with the way the gray ran."
With his win in the Stephen Foster, Macho Again vaults to the top of the handicap division. He also registered the sixth Grade 1 win for West Point Thoroughbreds. Interestingly, it is the second time that a runner donning the black and gold silks of WPT scored in the Foster, as Flashy Bull won it back in 2007. He joins Dream Rush, the aforementioned Flashy Bull, Irish Smoke, and Lear's Princess in this distinct class of runners to have scored at racing's highest level.
For the win, Macho Again earned $396,924, and has now earned just shy of $1.5 million for his career. It is his second graded stakes win this year, and third overall.