Happy Fourstardave Day! 

The Fourstardave Handicap is named for “The Sultan of Saratoga” who won a race at the Spa for a record eight consecutive years from 1987 to 1994.  He was a New York bred, a blue collar horse, and was beloved by all Saratoga race fans. Dave is forever with us at Saratoga as he is buried on the backside at Clare Court. 

Trivia Question: Who won the first running of the Fourstardave Handicap in 1996?  

Race 8 – Saratoga Special – Grade II 

Six and One Half Furlongs on the Dirt for Two Year Olds 

This Grade II is a prep for the Hopeful Stakes on closing day as we stretch out to six and half furlongs for the two year old colts.     

  1. Lasso: Won at Gulfstream over a sloppy sealed surface (33 Beyer) in his first effort.  He was at the back of the pack at the quarter pole but got rolling late to win handily. Working well at Gulfstream in advance of this. Trainer Juan Alvarado is 1/17 when he ships into the NYRA circuit from Gulfstream  – but Dickens did run a credible third in the Sanford. Passing.
  2. Market Street: Only horse to have faced winners. Cruised in his first career race for Lukas over a sloppy surface at Ellis Park (63 Beyer). Last out in the Sanford he ran well and got to the front but flattened in the stretch (53 Beyer). Bullet work over the Oklahoma. Look for a rebound today. Slice of the pie.
  3. Woodcourt: First start in the Brendan Walsh barn – this colt won at Ellis in his second career start at a price going five and a half (57 Beyer).  Broke alertly and just wore down the leader to get up in the last fifty yards.  Working well at the Spa for this. More distance should suit. Possibilities.
  4. Haul: Pletcher trainee won first out by pressing the pace from the outside and getting clear at the eighth pole (68 Beyer). Army Mule has produced some nice two year olds and they win a good clip (20%) and the Beyer top is 84. Look for him to sit in behind the speed. Trainer Stat: Pletcher win with 24% of his two year old maiden winners who next out run in stakes races. Contender.
  5. Edified: $650,000 Tapit colt broke his maiden first out for Asmussen at Ellis Park where he sat chilly behind the leaders and tipped out in the stretch to win by open lengths (69 Beyer). Only runner in this field to win at six furlongs. Hits the board.
  6. Rhyme Schemes: Blinkers went on last time and this Ghostzapper colt promptly broke his maiden at Ellis by going to the front and never looking back winning by almost ten lengths. His 94 Beyer in that effort is the best two year old fig of the year.  If he repeats that effort then this race is a walkover. Outside post should suit him and he’ll probably be sent and put the pressure on the inside ones to keep up. Ellis Park has been speed favoring but the race he comes out of has produced three other next out winners including one with an 85 Beyer. The Pick.

Picks 6-4-5-2 

Race 9 – The Fourstardave Handicap – Grade I 

One Mile on the Inner Turf, For Three Year Olds and Upward 

  1. Emmanuel: Won the Poker last out for Pletcher as he laid off the pace and made a sweeping move on the turn to run down the leaders (100 Beyer). Two back in the Dinner Party at Pimlico he got to the lead after pressing the pace but couldn’t off the closers. He’s very competitive in here and should sit a trip on the rail stalking a solid pace. Using.
  2. Full Screen: Mark Casse takes a shot with a horse that has only one win in six turf starts and that win was in a maiden claimer at Tampa.  Appears outclassed here. Last out three weeks ago he was rank early but did settle and came running for a non-threatening fifth (85 Beyer) in an N2X optional claimer.  Gets a weight break and drops seven pounds from his most recent start. Blinkers come OFF. Passing.
  3. My Sea Cottage: Looks to be the early pace setter for Mark Casse as he comes in off a front running score in a starter allowance race last month over this course. Might be over his head against these but it wouldn’t be the first time someone successfully walked the dog in a turf race. Low weight at 114 lbs. and drops nine pounds from most recent start. Water is too deep.
  4. Annapolis: Last out he was a good second (97 Beyer) in Kelso Stakes but couldn’t get to Casa Creed who got first jump on him. This is his third start of the year so improvement may still be in the offing. Has four career starts over this surface with two wins and two seconds. Handy horse but has had some issues at the break. Win candidate.  
  5. So High: Naipaul Chatterpaul sends out this longshot runner who set the pace in the United Nations at Monmouth but faded (94 Beyer) while finishing seventh but only three and half lengths off the winner. Cuts back all the way to eight furlongs. Not sure how he survives the sharp pace in here today. Too tough a field to contend.
  6. Casa Creed: Defending champion of this race comes in following a fantastic performance in the Kelso going today’s distance last month (100 Beyer). He was off the pace that day and made sustained move on the far turn to take the lead.  Two back he was bested in the Jaipur when he couldn’t run down Caravel (99 Beyer).  As good as ever at age seven and loves this inner turf course where he has won three graded stakes. Outside post helps tactically and he should get the right setup. The Pick.
  7. Ice Chocolat: Last out he was a decent fourth in the Kelso where he trailed the field and made steady improvement in the last sixteenth to fill out the superfecta (95 Beyer).  Two back he was decent in the Jaipur but lacked a turn of foot in the stretch after a ground saving trip. Hasn’t won against graded stakes company but regularly hits the board. Gets a slice. 

Picks 6-4-1-7 

Trivia Answer: In 1996 the mighty Da Hoss won the first running of the Fourstardave en route to the first of his two Breeders’ Cup Mile wins.