Bradester Earns First Grade 1 Victory in Stephen Foster

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Bradester went wire-to-wire to earn his first Grade 1 victory in the Stephen Foster. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Joseph Sutton's Bradester fired his best shot June 18 to earn his first career Grade 1 victory in the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs.

The speedy 6-year-old son of Lion Heart set the pace, with fractions of :23.64, :47.58, and 1:11.67 through six furlongs in the 1 1/8-mile test and held off a last-to-first closing drive by Eagle to win by a half-length.

In his first victory at the distance, Bradester hit the wire in 1:48.85 under the guidance of jockey Joe Bravo and paid $20.40 to win at odds of 9-1. Majestic Harbor finished a game third and 3-5 favorite Effinex came in sixth in the seven-horse field, a length ahead of International Star.

“He’s a pretty fun horse. He does all the hard work for you," Bravo said. "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.”

The Foster score was Bradester's fifth graded victory and ninth win overall from 23 starts for trainer Eddie Kenneally. In his 2016 debut May 21, Bradester also won gate-to-wire in the Majestic Light Stakes at Monmouth Park. In 2015 he won the Monmouth Cup Stakes and Salvator Mile Stakes, both at Monmouth, and in 2014 he scored in the Ack Ack Handicap and Mineshaft Handicap.

"He’s won five or six graded stakes prior to today, but to win a Grade 1 with him is phenomenal," 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."

Bradester now has an automatic entry in November Breeders’ Cup Classic, as this race was a “Win and You’re In” event.

Bradester paid $20.40 to win at odds of 9.20-to-1. To see the chart for the Stephen Foster, click here.

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