Saturday’s $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga attracted an accomplished field of eight graded stakes winners. The prestigious Grade 1 event for older turf milers offers the winner a berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar on November 6.
Fourstardave Handicap – Top Contenders
#6 Got Stormy (10-1) hopes to return to the winner’s circle in this year’s Fourstardave. She won the event in 2019, setting a new course record of 1:32 flat, but missed the victory last year, finishing second by 1 1/4-lengths. Got Stormy has finished off the board in two of three tries this year, but she had an excuse when Tyler Gaffalione lost his crop in the six-furlong Jaipur (G1). The Mark Casse trainee is back at the Spa, where she has finished in the money in all three starts.
As the lone speed in the Fourstardave, #8 Blowout (6-1) can set her own tempo and perhaps steal the race. She has hit the board in all twelve career starts and has never been beaten more than three-quarters of a length in eleven of those starts. Although she’s 0 for 3 at Saratoga, those defeats were by slim margins. The Chad Brown trainee gets a switch to Joel Rosario. Although Rosario is noted for excelling with one-run closers, he’s just as adept with pacesetters.
There’s a lot to like about #5 Set Piece (5-2). He has won four starts in a row, including the 1 1/6-mile Wise Dan Stakes (G2) in his last effort. The endeavor earned Set Piece the highest Brisnet late-pace figure in the field. Plus, he is conditioned by super trainer Brad Cox. The drawback is that Set Piece has won only two of five starts at a mile, and he is moving up in class.
#1 Raging Bull (9-5) hopes the third time is the charm in the Fourstardave. He was second in 2019 but placed a troubled fifth last year when he encountered traffic trouble breaking from post #1. He drew the same post this year and may be forced to close against soft early fractions. The Chad Brown trainee has been in the money in three of four starts at Saratoga, and Irad Ortiz, Jr. is the meet’s second-leading rider by earnings. Brown is seeking his first win in the Fourstardave.
#2 Whisper Not (20-1) has been in the money in five of six starts since shipping to California from Europe. In April, he bested a less accomplished field in the San Francisco Mile Stakes (G3) at Golden Gate; however, Whisper Not found the Shoemaker Mile (G1) field a little too salty, and he weakened to fifth place after pressing the pace.
California-based Richard Baltas rarely ships outside the state, but his horses usually finish in the money when he does. The meet’s third-leading rider Jose Ortiz will pilot Whisper Not, and at morning line odds of 20-1, they have a longshot chance of upsetting the exotics.
#4 Casa Creed (4-1) is in the best form of his career. He captured his last two races, including the six-furlong Jackpocket Jaipur Stakes (G1). However, the Bill Mott trainee now stretches to a mile, which is not his best distance; Casa Creed has only two wins from eleven starts at a mile.
#3 Daddy is a Legend (20-1) faces males for the first time in the Fourstardave. She closed late in the Just a Game Stakes (G1) to grab third place in her previous start. Although Daddy is a Legend is a Grade 1 winner, the George Weaver trainee finds a mile a little too short; She has one win in ten tries at the distance.
#7 Field Pass (8-1) enters off a gallant neck victory in the one-mile Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup Stakes (G3) on July 24. That was the first time the Michael Maker trainee has finished in the money since last November. Field Pass is seeking his first Grade 1 placing after finishing off the board in this year’s Maker’s Mark Mile and Man o’ War Stakes.
Analysis and Selections
The Fourstardave is a contentious field, and five of the eight entries have a legitimate shot at winning.
Toss #6 Got Stormy’s finish in the Jaipur Stakes. She isn’t as effective at sprint distances, her jockey lost his crop, and the turf wasn’t as firm as she likes. If she is anywhere close to her morning line of 10-1 odds, consider it a gift.
Lone speed in a race of this caliber is always dangerous. However, #8 Blowout (6-1) can get away with soft fractions and have enough left in the tank to get the job done.
#1 Raging Bull (9-5) will be dangerous if he gets a clear shot in the stretch.
#2 Whisper Not (20-1) is underrated, and Baltas doesn’t ship for the fun of it. This filly can upset the superfecta.
- #6 Got Stormy (10-1)
- # 8 Blowout (6-1)
- #1 Raging Bull (9-5)
- #2 Whisper Not (20-1)
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