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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – The Saratoga action continues Saturday with the $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap (G1), which drew a solid field of eight runners. It’ll be a “Battle of the Sexes” as well, as three of the entries are females, including this race’s winner in 2019.
The Fourstardave, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” that gives the winner an expenses-waived berth into the Mile, is set for race 10 with a local post time of 6:13 PM ET.
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Chad Brown headlines the field with two runners – the 6-year-old horse Raging Bull and the 5-year-old mare Blowout – who share the same owner in Peter Brant. They have completely opposite running styles which could work out to their advantage, with Blowout certain to go to the front and Raging Bull doing his best running late.
Raging Bull will break from the rail with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, while Blowout drew the 8 post with Joel Rosario in the irons.
“I’m hoping (Raging Bull) can stay off the inside with a better trip,” Brown said. “His turn of foot seems to be his best characteristic. He’s in as good of form as he’s ever been in. I love the way he’s been training. He’s a remarkable horse, very consistent.”
The 2019 Fourstardave champion is back in an attempt to become the first multiple winner since Wise Dan in 2012-13. Got Stormy, another female in the race, will try to reverse a recent form that saw her struggle in her last 2 efforts. She drew post 6 for this event and will have Tyler Gaffalione in the saddle once again.
Got Stormy Flies Fast In Fourstardave
A horse with a hot hand coming into the race is Set Piece, winner of 3 straight at Churchill Downs. Last time out, he ran down a loose-on-the-lead Somelikeithotbrown to win the Wise Dan Stakes (G2) by a 1/2-length. Florent Geroux will be aboard when the Brad Cox trainee breaks from post 5.
The full field from the rail out: Raging Bull, Whisper Not, Daddy Is a Legend, Casa Creed, Set Piece, Got Stormy, Field Pass, and Blowout.
#5 Set Piece – His Wise Dan win was impressive, as he closed down the stretch to beat a nice horse who was loose on the lead. This field should have a better pace setup for him, and this is the closer I want to play. Also, Cox has been on fire at Saratoga, winning the feature on back-to-back Saturdays here.
“He’s a Grade 2 winner and obviously he has a good pedigree that all Juddmonte (bred) horses do, and it helps some of the siblings that come up from the broodmare band as well,” Cox said. “He deserves the opportunity to take a swing at a Grade 1 and we’ll see what he can do.”
Set Piece Nails Somelikeithotbrown In Wise Dan
#1 Raging Bull – It feels like this horse has been around forever. The 6-year-old usually shows up in these big turf mile events, usually gets bet hard, and usually ends up losing. He lost his 2 prior attempts in this race, but there’s no doubt he’ll play a factor in the race, and if the pace sets up for his late kick, then he’ll have a big chance to run them all down late.
#4 Casa Creed – If this race was at 6 or 7 furlongs, then I probably would put him on top, but this 1-mile distance might not be his best. He looked fantastic in his last start at Belmont Park, winning the Jauiper Stakes (G1), but it was at 6 furlongs. Heading back to this two-turn challenge will be tougher, but I still respect him, as Mott has him running extremely well. Plus, he scratched out of a softer race last week to run in this one.
#3 Daddy Is a Legend – You can count on this filly to show up with a solid effort pretty much every time, so she can definitely hit the board at a price here. That is probably her ceiling, though, as it’s hard to see her running well enough to win the whole thing. She’ll likely drop back and make one run down the lane, hopefully passing some tired horses.
“She’s a very good racehorse,” said trainer George Weaver. “She’s talented, but the other thing she has that all good race horses have is the fact that she shows up. She gives what she has. Right now, she’s doing well; she’s happy and she’s all business. We’re looking forward to running her.”
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#8 Blowout – She’s one of three females that will take on the boys in this spot. If things play out like they look on paper, then she has a shot to be the lone speed in this race, which makes her a little dangerous. You need to demand a price on her, though, as she has a tendency to get caught late when facing fillies, and it’ll be even tougher to hold off the males.
#6 Got Stormy – It’s been a while since we’ve seen her run well at this distance and she’s looked poor in her last 2 starts. It would be great to see her run well and win this race for the second time, but it just doesn’t seem likely at this point.
#7 Field Pass – At times, this horse can look really good, but he’s a bit inconsistent. Couple that with the fact that this field is pretty tough compared to what he’s been facing, and it makes it hard to play him with much confidence here.
#2 Whisper Not – This horse definitely has talent, but he’s in against much tougher horses than what he’s seen so far in his career, which is a worry. It’s hard to see him winning this thing.
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