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Post Time: Fourstardave heads up weekend at the Spa

The 33rd running of the Fourstardave is the feature Grade 1 race at Saratoga this weekend. The race will be run for a purse of $500,000 over the Inner Turf course at a one mile distance drew a field of seven (Weekend Hideaway is an MTO in case of an off track).  Post time on Saturday for the Fourstardave is 6:28 p.m. as the 10th race on the 11-race card at Saratoga Race Course.

The race will be televised as part of a national telecast on Fox Sports 2 (FS2) in Western New York (DirecTV - 618; Dish - 149 and Time Warner - 132) and on MSG+ downstate from 4 - 7:30 p.m.

Time Test (8-5) and Disco Partner (2-1) will square off with both coming off big efforts during the Belmont Park spring meet. Mark Casse’s World Approval (9-2) will likely set the early pace along with Sassy Little Lila (6-1) to keep things lively on the front end.

The Grade 2 Adirondack will be run early in the card (Race 4) for 2-year-old fillies going 6 ½-furlongs on the main track. Todd Pletcher will trot out the undefeated Pure Silver (2-1) to face off with maiden Saratoga winner Sly Roxy (5-2) from the Casse barn and Limited View (4-1) from the John Salzman stable.

Here’s a look at the entries for the Fourstardave (post position, horse, trainer, jockey, ML odds in parenthesis):

1 – Ballagh Rocks (Mott, Lezcano, 10-1). Lezcano has been terrific on the turf on the weekends during the meet and brings the Grade 3 Poker winner off a win on a yielding course in mid-June. Has a sharp workout on the tab and Bill Mott has won this race two of the last three years and three times over his Hall of Fame career. Dangerous.

2 – American Patriot (Pletcher, Velazquez, 6-1). It’s not too often you get this combination at 6-1 at Saratoga. First race back after a dismal performance in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. Is a Grade 1 winner after posting a win in the Maker’s Mark at Keeneland during the spring meet. The son of War Front will likely need one after coming back from overseas.

3 – Time Test (Brown, Castellano, 8-5). Cuts back in distance after a game second place finish after being six wide in the upper stretch in the Grade 1 Manhattan on Belmont Stakes day behind Ascend. The son of Dubawi will be taking money at the windows based on the connections. Javier has won the race twice, in 2006 (Remarkable News) and 2010 (Get Stormy). Has come in second in last two as the post time favorite and will likely will be in the same position on Saturday.

4 – Weekend Hideaway (Serpe, Saez, 3-1). Entered for the Main Track Only (MTO) and hoping for a wash off the turf. He’s 5-for-8 on off tracks and the chestnut son of Speightstown will be the pick if we go off the turf.

5 – Sassy Little Lila (Cox, Saez, 6-1). The daughter of Artie Schiller will take on the boys after just missing in the Just a Game on Belmont Stakes Day at 9-1. She’s only missed the board once in eight races, finishing in the exacta seven times. She’ll be up against it against males and will likely flash some speed early going in the first turn.

6 – Disco Partner (Clement, Gaffalione, 2-1). One of the hottest milers in the land, comes off three straight wins at Belmont including one over last weekend’s Lure winner Green Mask. Who doesn’t want to see that matchup at Del Mar? Tyler Gaffalione ships in to ride the son of the speedy Disco Rico. He’ll be coming late with his patented run and there will likely be some pace for him to close into. The pick.

7 – World Approval (Casse, Franco, 9-2). The Casse barn has struggled at Spa and was 1-for-40 heading into Thursday’s card. They gave this one a breather after going back-to-back on Preakness and Belmont days. He’ll be on the lead battling with the filly early, but will have some extra work to do from the outside post. Can see him fading late if he’s pushed too early.

Post Time Outlook:  1 – Disco Partner; 2 – Time Test; 3 – Ballagh Rocks; 4 – World Approval

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

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