We’re past the midpoint of the Saratoga meeting with 21 days of the 40-day meeting in the books through Thursday.
The 35th running of the Fourstardave is the feature Grade 1 race at Saratoga Race Course this weekend. The race will be run for a purse of $500,000 over the Inner Turf course at a distance of one mile and drew a field of 10. Post time Saturday for the Fourstardave is 5:46 p.m. as the 9th race on the 11-race card.
Additionally on Saturday’s card is the Grade 2 Saratoga Special for 3-year-old colts that has produced some solid future stars in the past. In recent years, dual classic winner Exaggerator (2015) and Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags (2011) have won the six-and-a-half furlong race and Gunnevera (2016) is another notable winner. A field of eight juveniles will go in Race 8 at 5:11 p.m. on the main track.
Here’s a look at the entries for the Fourstardave (post position, horse, trainer, jockey, ML odds in parenthesis):
1 – March to the Arch (Casse, Gaffalione, 10-1). Ran a sneaky fifth, only beaten a length-and-a-half in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple at the Spa on July 12 after winning the Grade 2 Wise Dan at Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old gelded son of Arch should not be discounted in the exotics and could add some value underneath.
2 – Dr. Edgar (Tagg, Leparoux, 8-1). Son of Lookin at Lucky has won 3-of-5 at the distance and has only missed the board once in four tries on the Saratoga turf. Posted a bullet work Aug. 2 and was beaten a neck in the Grade 3 Poker. Trainer Barclay Tagg got off the duck Thursday with a 2-year-old and would like to get back to the winner’s circle. Early running style will have him in the mix at the outset. Interesting.
3 – Uni (Brown, Rosario, 5-2). Comes into the race unbeaten in her last five starts. She won her lone 2019 start in a non-graded stake at Belmont and the More Than Ready mare is 5-for-5 at the distance and 1-for-2 at Saratoga during her career. One of three Chad Brown trainees in the race, who wins at a 24% clip second off the layoff. Contender.
4 – Raging Bull (Brown, Ortiz, 3-1). Completed the Chad trifecta in the Manhattan on Belmont Stakes day and has another barn mate to challenge to his inside in the race. Jockey Jose Ortiz is on fire over the last week winning at a 27% rate. Sharp workout last weekend projects that the son of Dark Angel (IRE) is ready to rock. The pick.
5 – Ostilio (Crisford, Atzeni, 10-1). Godolphin shipper from Europe will try Lasix for the first time. He’s the wild card in the race. Appears he has struggled in the Group level races so we’ll sit this one out and let him beat us.
6 – Got Stormy (Casse, Santana Jr., 6-1). Wheels back in a week after winning the De La Rose last Saturday where she was much the best. Trainer Mark Casse must have felt it was as good as a workout and he isn’t afraid to run his horses. She’s only missed the board once in 10 career races at a mile and the daughter of Get Stormy will be a nice price at post time. Leave her off your tickets at your own peril.
7 – Krampus (Mott, Alvarado, 20-1). Just finished ahead of Dr. Edgar in the Poker for third at a big price. Will be difficult to run back to his top against this crew. Son of Shakespeare’s morning line odds are just about right.
8 – Hembree (Maker, Saez, 8-1). Has a bit of second-itis on the resume with three consecutive runner-up finishes. Competitive son of Proud Citizen out of a Langfuhr mare who has fared well over the Saratoga turf over his career and at the distance. Contender.
9 – Made You Look (Brown, Lezcano, 10-1). Came off a lengthy layoff to finish a close fourth in the Forbidden Apple earlier in the meet. Finished fourth in last year’s edition of the Fourstardave. This group is much deeper and he’s third on the Chad depth chart in here.
10 – Gidu (Pletcher, Franco, 15-1). Will need to make a big step forward based on his past performances in graded races. Draws outside post on the inner turf, a big disadvantage with the quick approach to the first turn. Trainer Todd Pletcher stats are solid third off the layoff, but this is a big ask.
Outlook: Tough to ignore the Chads in here, so we’ll take them 1-2 and watch Hembree and Got Stormy fight it for laurels underneath.
Post Time Selections: 1 –Raging Bull; 2 – Uni; 3 – Hembree; 4 – Got Stormy
In the Saratoga Special, we’ll go with Bill Parcells’ Tuggle, named after the late New York Giants fullback John Tuggle, who made the team after being selected last in the 1983 NFL Draft. Tuggle died in 1986 after a long bout with cancer.
Tuggle is one of seven 3-year-olds in the field who are coming off a maiden victory. Tuggle earned a 1 3/4-length victory on June 21 at Belmont in a race that was pulled off the turf.
Post Time Selections:: 1 – Tuggle, 2 – Green Light Go, 3 – Zyramid and 4 -Noose
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.