Tom’s d’Etat impressive in Stephen Foster romp
Gayle Benson has a Super Bowl contender and a young basketball team hoping a trip to the playoffs this year can start their path to an NBA title contender. Now she may also have a Horse of the Year contender in her GMB Racing stable.
Favored Tom’s d’Etat took the lead on the turn for home and, under a hand ride from jockey Miguel Mena, drew clear in the stretch for a dominating 4¼-length victory over By My Standards in the $500,000 Grade II Stephen Foster Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
Tom’s d’Etat covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.30, just .02 seconds off the track and stakes record set 21 years ago by Victory Gallop, and paid $4.60 to win.
Tom’s d’Etat not only won for the fourth straight start and 11th time in 18 lifetime starts, increasing his lifetime earnings to more than $1.6 million, but Saturday’s victory in the “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge earned the 7-year-old son of Smart Strike a spot in the starting gate for the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky.
The current winning streak includes a pair of graded stakes victories to close out 2019, including the Grade I Clark at Churchill, and a win in the Oaklawn Mile in April in his seasonal debut.
“We knew coming into this race he was a fresh horse but ran so well fresh in the past,” said trainer and New Orleans native 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.”
Stall told the NBC broadcast after the race that Tom’s d’Etat may be pointed to the $750,000 Grade I Whitney at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 1 – the same day as the Pelicans’ second game in the season restart in Orlando and the expected first weekend of Saints’ training camp in Metairie.
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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…