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Jun 24, 2011

Stephen Foster Handicap goes to Canadian


Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Canadian longshot Pool Play pulled off a major surprise in winning Saturday's $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. The 36-1 outsider covered the 1 1/8-miles in 1:50.52 on a fast track.

Ridden by Miguel Mena, Pool Play trailed the 11 horse field for most the of the race. Setting the pace was Regal Ransom followed by Worldly, Mission Impazible and Crown of Thorns.

Regal Ransom, with Alan Garcia riding, continued on the lead up the backstretch with Mission Impazible moving into second. Mission Impazible, ridden by Javier Castellano, started the race from the far outside post.

Coming off the final turn Mission Impazible had a short lead over 5-1 third favorite Duke of Mischief, Apart and Regal Ransom. Pool Play, trained by Mark Casse, was making his move nine-wide coming off the turn.

Mission Impazible had the lead with a furlong to run as Pool Play rallied down the center of the track. The Canadian-bred caught the leader just before the wire and was able to register a neck victory over Mission Impazible.

Finishing third was Apart followed by Duke of Mischief, Giant Oak, Flat Out, Crown of Thorns, Worldly, Equestrio, El Caballo and Regal Ransom. Giant Oak and Regal Ransom were the 9-2 co-favorites.

Owned by Wil Farish, Pool Play recorded his first win of the year and picked up $327,127. The six-year-old has now won six of 28 career starts for $909,556.

"I was a little concerned early in the race because I felt like the fractions were a little soft," Casse said. "I was also afraid that Miguel was going to have to go really wide, but he did a great job and only had to swing him out on the final turn. It was a great ride by him and the horse ran great."

The horse was second in his most recent start at Keeneland in April when he was runner-up to Musketier in the Elkhorn on the turf. Earlier this year he had two other starts on grass. Finishing fourth in the Mac Diarmida and fifth in the Pan American, both at Gulfstream Park.

Pool Play returned $75.20, $29.40 and $14.60. Mission Impazible paid $8.40 and $5.00, Apart paid $4.40 to show.

Last year's Foster was won by Blame, who went on to capture the Breeders' Cup Classic.

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