2019 Stephen Foster Handicap odds, contenders, lineup: Legendary expert who nailed Triple Crown races reveals picks

An automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup Classic will be on the line  Saturday when 12 of the top older horses in training enter the starting gate for the 2019 Stephen Foster Stakes at Churchill Downs. The loaded and accomplished 2019 Stephen Foster lineup has combined for 60 career wins and $11.4 million in earnings. The John Sadler-trained Gift Box, who has five wins and almost $1 million in earnings in 16 career starts, is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the current 2019 Stephen Foster Handicap odds. He is slightly favored over 7-2 second choice Yoshida, who has five wins and more than $2.1 million in earnings in 14 starts. But the biggest earner in the field is Seeking the Soul, who's listed at 4-1 Stephen Foster odds and has earned almost $3 million in his career. Post time for the 1 1/8-mile race is 9:47 p.m. ET. With so little separating the top choices, some expert help can go a long way. That's why you'll want to hear what longtime horse racing handicapper Richard Eng has to say before placing any 2019 Stephen Foster Handicap picks of your own. 

Not only was Eng the turf editor and handicapper for the Las Vegas Review-Journal for 20 years, he also literally wrote the book on wagering on the sport. In fact, he was the author of "Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies," the preeminent book for newcomers to the sport. Prior to his work for the Review-Journal, Eng worked as a publicist for the New York Racing Association, Garden State Park, Monmouth Park, Santa Anita Park and Turfway Park. He's lived and breathed horse racing and knows a winner when he sees one.

At the 2019 Belmont Stakes, Eng nailed the top two horses, as Sir Winston surprised the field at 10-1 and the favored Tacitus took second. A $2 exacta on those two horses returned a hefty $96.

In addition, to say that Eng was all-in on 2018 Kentucky Derby winner Justify early last year would be a massive understatement. He picked Justify when that horse was a huge long shot at 100-1 odds in the Kentucky Derby Futures Book -- in January, before the horse made his racing debut. At post time, Justify was the favorite, at just shy of 3-1, but Eng knew he'd be a winner much earlier than anyone else. He picked Justify to win all three Triple Crown races, cashing big each time. Anyone who has followed Eng's lead is way, way up.

Now he has turned his attention to the Stephen Foster 2019 and has released his projected leaderboard over at SportsLine, revealing his thoughts for every horse and projected order of finish.

One shocker: We can tell you Eng says that Gift Box, the 3-1 Stephen Foster Handicap favorite, makes a strong run at the title but comes up short. The six-year-old gray son of Twirling Candy has turned into one of the country's top horses and a candidate for Horse of the Year since being transferred from trainer Chad Brown to Sadler. After winning just three of his first 13 starts with Brown, Gift Box has won two of his last three with Sadler, including the storied Santa Anita Handicap in April over the Bob Baffert-trained McKinzie. 

However, Gift Box is coming off a loss in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in which he was the heavy favorite. In addition, Sadler has said that Gift Box's main goal this summer is to win the Pacific Classic at Del Mar in August, so there's a major question of whether the horse is ready to fire his best race on Saturday. Finally, Sadler's poor track record shipping horses East has been well-documented, although the recent success of Accelerate and Catalina Cruiser has helped assuage some fear.

Another surprise: Eng is bullish on Quip, who's going off as a long shot at 10-1. This four-year-old trained by Rodolphe Brisset has four wins in eight career starts and is coming off arguably his best career effort. In the Oaklawn Handicap in April, this son of Distorted Humor beat Lone Sailor by a neck and earned a career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure. Quip enters the Stephen Foster off nine weeks' rest.

Eng is also high on an underrated dark horse to take down the 2019 Stephen Foster and earn an automatic bid into the Breeders' Cup Classic. This horse has all the tools to put together a complete run, and if the horse hits as Eng expects, you could be looking at a massive payout. He's sharing which horse it is, and his entire leaderboard, only at SportsLine. 

So who are Richard Eng's 2019 Stephen Foster picks? And which dark horse wins it all? See the current 2019 Stephen Foster odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Eng's complete leaderboard for the Stephen Foster, and find out.

Gift Box 3-1
Yoshida 7-2
Seeking the Soul 4-1
Tom's d'Etat 5-1
Quip 10-1
Tenfold 12-1
King Zachary 12-1
Thirstforlife 15-1
Exulting 20-1
Rated R Superstar 20-1
Runaway Ghost 20-1
Alkhaatam 30-1

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