The Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap is a Grade 2 race in name only. The nine entrants combine to form a field that is of Grade 1 quality. That’s not hard to believe when you consider the $500k purse and prestige that comes with winning at Saratoga. Forecasts tell us the turf course could be anywhere from firm to soft, but the likelihood of the race coming off is very slim.
Data Link (War Front x Database by Known Fact) 3-1: Trainer Shug McGaughey really is one of the best in America and he has shown it with this colt. He started the year with a third place effort in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf where he was beaten only 1 ½ lengths. That race proved to be a good springboard as he would win the Grade 1 Makers Mark Mile in his next start. He was seen next in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, an oddly run race that saw him finish fifth beaten 4 ½ lengths. He avenged the loss with a next out win in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes over Get Stormy and next out winner Get Serious. It was an impressive effort as he ran fast the whole way and still came home in under 12 seconds. Alex Solis should be sitting on a ton as they turn for home.
Wise Dan (Wisemen’s Ferry x Lisa Danielle by Wolf Power) 5-2: Horse players are likely to see the big speed figures this one has and flock to him en masse. He had a tough trip last out when losing the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap against a tremendous field. With a clean trip it is likely that he would have won. However, the same could be said for Fort Larned who ran poorly in that spot and returned to win the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap two starts later. His two turf races saw him beat a marginal field in last year’s Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap and finish fourth in last year’s Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile. Charles Lopresti is a master conditioner and has brought him into this race with a lot of care and precision. The turf works are razor sharp and he was last seen blasting five furlong on the Saratoga grass in :58 2/5 B, the best of 52 moves that day. If he won this race it would not surprise a single person, but he figures to be way over bet and therefore a poor wager. Others, like Data Link and Get Stormy, have as good or better turf credentials. John Velazquez retains the mount.
Get Stormy (Stormy Atlantic x Foolish Gal by Kiri’s Clown) 4-1: This horse is as classy as they come and gains a major advantage against the two horses inside of him as he owns a 6-4-1-0 record over this turf course and won this very race in 2010. He typically does his best work on the lead, but Eddie Castro got him to effectively rate last out in the Monmouth Stakes, despite being passed by Data Link in the stretch. The three time Grade 1 winner runs well fresh and has been lighting up the turf training track as evidenced by a five furlong move in :57 2/5 B, best of 41 works. He rates a little lower than Data Link, but trainer Thomas Bush has plenty of reasons to think he can win this one. Eddie Castro stays in the irons.
Guy’s Reward (Grand Reward x Beach View by Mr. Greeley) 6-1: Corey Lanerie will make the trip up from Kentucky to ride this five-year-old that has won three in a row, including the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap when last seen. The biggest knock on him is that six of his seven wins have come at Churchill Downs. He is a different horse when shipping outside of the bluegrass state. Dale Romans is the trainer.
Right One (Anabaa x Riziere by Groom Dancer) 15-1: This one was highly regarded once upon a time, mostly on the basis of his third place effort in last year’s Grade 1 Woodbine Mile. He hasn’t been the same since, with his best effort coming two back to be second in the Grade 3 Jaipur Stakes. It’s probably going to take a drop in class for him to get a win. On the bright side, it’s rare to get Christophe Clement and Julien Leparoux at such a generous price.
Surfrider (Dansili x Ecoutila by Rahy) 20-1: Was a Group 3 winner last year in France, but hasn’t found the same form in North America. In his defense, the races have probably been a little too short. This will be his first time going a mile since shipping across the pond. He’s got a puncher’s chance for Eddie Kenneally and Jose Lezcano.
Corporate Jungle (Giant’s Causeway x Lady Carson by Carson City) 6-1: His only try over this turf course was a maiden victory. He was last seen finishing fifth beaten three lengths in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park. The west coast didn’t seem to agree with him. JJ Castellano picks up the mount and will find himself on a runner that finishes well despite being near the pace. It will be his job to hold off the late moves of the closers. Chad Brown conditions the dark bay.
Upgrade (Saint Liam x Emily Ring by Fit to Fight) 10-1: He has finally found his niche; turf sprinting. Trainer Michelle Nehei made a great claim to grab this guy for $35k and has won 2 of 3 races with him, including the Grade 3 Jaipur. This might be a little too far for him and he finds himself in deep water. Joel Rosario picks up the mount.
Yield Bogey (Langfuhr x Upper Noosh by Red Ransom) 15-1: Classy eight-year-old finds himself facing some stiff competition. Maybe when he was a tad younger he could have competed here, but those days are likely gone. Count him as a pace factor and not much else. Edgar Prado rides for Patrick Kelly.
Click here to learn how you can get our pick for this race. Last week saw us tab Poseidon’s Warrior as our pick of the week in the Vanderbilt. He won and paid $74.50.