Win machine Next romps in Greenwood Cup

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Long-distance specialist Next extended his win streak to three with a runaway victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Greenwood Cup Stakes at Parx Racing. Michael Foster’s 5-year-old Not This Time gelding splashed through the slop in his 25-length victory over My Imagination in the 1 1/2-mile Greenwood Cup. Regular rider Luan Machado guided Next to his latest marathon victory, adding the Greenwood Cup to his 2023 victories in the Birdstone Stakes at 1 3/4 miles at Saratoga and the Grade 2 Brooklyn Stakes at 1 1/2 miles at Belmont. Next won the Greenwood Cup in 2:33.28 Next took the lead from the break and led the field of seven through fractions of :25.72, :50.12, 1:15.51 and 1:40.91 under mild pressure from defending Greenwood champ Riden With Biden. Next, the 1-9 favorite, shrugged of Riden With Biden around the far turn the final time and drew off with authority through the stretch. My Imagination edged Riden With Biden for the place spot with Forewarned fourth. Fowler Blue, Calibrate and Suigu Star completed the field. Claimed for $62,500 by Foster and trainer Doug Cowans in April 2022, Next improved to 9-for-19 with earnings of $915,672 in his career. He’s also won six of eight since the claim.

Winning owner Michael Foster: “We were looking forward to running in this race all year. The track has been deep and cuppy, and he’s really never run on here and everything, but I was concerned. We don’t take anything for granted. We know we’ve got a hell of a horse, but you know the two of them here, Calibrate and Riden for Biden, they were on this track, and they know about it. I was worried about it. When I saw the first fractions, I knew we had it. I saw :25 and then :50, we had an easy pace, then 1:40 on the mile, I knew we had it. Just clean it up and go home.” “We won the Thoroughbred Aftercare (Grade 2, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Stakes) last year at Keeneland at the Breeders’ Cup, so we want to go out there and defend it.”

Winning trainer Doug Cowans: “It was the same plan as always today: get him in a rhythm and once in his rhythm, I think he does his thing. I didn’t care if he went to the lead or sat third, whatever he needed to do, as long as he got in his rhythm. He broke sharp. He is awful tough to beat because he has so much stamina. He’ll keep running and running.” Were there any concerns: “The track is always a concern when you see a sloppy track like that and he has not run on one. It was a concern, but there is no concern now.” Run versus big names in division: “It has not been a thought process up to this point. At the beginning of the year there was a five-race plan for this horse and we have made every one. Lucky enough, he has stayed sound and healthy and has made every race. There is one more race (the Grade 2, $250,000 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Marathon Nov. 4 at Santa Anita Park), from there I don’t know where we will go.” “For us, they don’t come any better. He is so unique at what he can do and I have been training horses for 30 years and have never had a horse that is this unique and can run these kind of distances. To have a horse that can do this is really unique and fun. I have never seen him get tired. Every time, all the way to the races, he gives us confidence. Sometimes, you get overconfident. He makes me look good.”

Winning jockey Luan Machado: “It was super simple. He’s a natural speed horse. He just drags me the whole way. He’s a horse that used to sprint in the beginning of his career, so he always had natural speed. That makes it easier. He just puts himself on lead or pretty close. Pretty special horse. He was super sharp even warning up today.” How easy of a win was it? “I couldn’t do anything at all. I checked twice and no one was coming. He was still cruising.” What riding Next (his only graded stakes winner) has meant to him: “He has been changing everything for me. All my business is up. He’s a horse of a lifetime. I’m very thankful for all the connections.”