There are plenty of legitimate criticisms swirling around the sport of horse racing. One gripe — the sport’s top equine athletes retire too early — is being debunked by a local star. On Saturday Bango is racing for history at Churchill Downs.
The 6-year-old homebred colt from Tamaroak Stable of Fred and Debbie Schwartz has 30 career starts. He’s won 12 times. Ten of those victories were at Churchill Downs, most recently a 5-length win in the St. Matthews Stakes during Kentucky Derby week. This Saturday in the Aristides Stakes Bango is racing for his 11th victory at Churchill Downs to tie the racetrack record.
“He’s a well made, muscular colt. He’s just a nice horse,” said his trainer, Greg Foley. “Winning that many races at Churchill Downs, he’s also won allowance races and stakes races, which makes it even that much more to be proud of.”
Bango will have a few formidable foes in the $225,000 Aristides Stakes. Grade 1 winners Gunite and Sibelius are in the five-horse field on Stephen Foster Preview Day.
Foley, a native of nearby Oldham County, doesn’t receive the same recognition as other local trainers, like Dale Romans or Brad Cox, but he consistently puts out winners. Sconsin won multiple graded stakes at Churchill Downs, while Major Fed and O Besos made it all the way to the Kentucky Derby. A win by Bango on Saturday would certainly add a significant highlight to his illustrious career.
“His record really speaks for itself,” Foley told the Daily Racing Form. “He loves it at Churchill maybe just as much as I do. We’ve had our sights set on the record and it would be a really special accomplishment for all of us.”