Fourstardave Handicap Preview

Time Test Looks Tough in Fourstardave while World Approval Tries to Snap Trainers Struggles at the Spa

This is the 33rd running of The FourStarDave Handicap (G1) for 3-year-olds and up over the inner turf course at Saratoga. The $500,000 Grade I race was shorted to 1 mile in 2012, and this year’s edition has a field of 7 lined up including a filly, Sassy Little Lila (6-1), battling the boys.

Disco Partner (2-1) and World Approval (9-2) will both have new jockeys in the irons. That’s because their regular riders are in Chicago for the Arlington Million. We feel this will really affect Disco Partner, as he’s won 4-of-5 coming into Saturday’s race as the 2nd betting choice. But Disco Partner has to be ridden to perfection as he has one big kick coming from the rear. If the new jockey Tyler Gaffalione doesn’t time his move right on Disco Partner it will be very costly down the lane. If that were to come at the expense of World Approval, who will also be racing on or near the lead, then trainer Mark Casse would pick up just his 2nd win of the meet through 40 starts heading into the weekend.

There appears to be little speed lined up and that will really help Sassy Little Lila. She was scratched last weekend in another stakes race at Saratoga by her trainer Brad Cox for this spot and she’s also facing males today as well.  Sassy Little Lila will take them as far as she can on the front end, and while she may hang on for a share at the wire, a win would be a big surprise.

The morning line favorite Time Test (8/5) looks tough in this spot for trainer Chad Brown despite trying a mile for the first time in the U.S. Time Test is coming into this race after finishing 2nd in back to back races at Belmont Park as the favorite. Many handicappers will look to fade him as they consider him a money burner off those last two races. We also think Disco Partner will take money at the windows, but Time Test has lots of talent and class and can rate much closer to the pace will little speed pushing on the front end. We suggest making a win wager on Time Test at 8/5 odds, along with an exacta key over Sassy Little Lila, Disco Partner, and Ballagh Rocks (10-1).

The FourStarDave Handicap (G1) is race 10 at Saratoga on Saturday, Aug. 12 with an estimated post time of 6:28 ET as Race No. 10 on the Inner Turf.

Kenny Schmitt contributed to this article. Follow him on Twitter @FBWinners.

Race Preview: National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame

National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Race is Competitive Feature Friday at Saratoga

The Racing Hall of Fame inductees will be introduced Friday morning, and then state-bred fillies and mares will break from the gate in Race 1 at 1:00 pm ET to start the weekend of racing at Saratoga. Javier Castellano, who has won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey each of the past four years, will be inducted into the National Museum Racing Hall of Fame. He’ll then ride one of the race favorites in Race 1 on the turf, Corey Q (5-2), for trainer Chad Brown. The featured race of the day will be at 5:40 ET when 10 three-year-olds break from the gate for the $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2). The 1 1/16 mile turf test will have Castellano riding one of the favorites again aboard Big Handsome (3-1) for trainer Tony Dutrow.

The four top favorites in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes will break from the four inside posts. That includes Yoshida (JPN) at 7-2. The Japan-foiled colt trained by Bill Mott liked the soft turf at Pimlico in May to win his stakes debut from the back of the pack, but busted his backers as the favorite last time out in his graded stakes debut, finishing 5th in the Belmont Derby Invitational. Favorite Caviar Czar (IRE), by Medaglia d’Oro, is 2-1 odds breaking from the 3-hole for trainer Todd Pletcher. He broke his maiden at Churchill and then finished 2nd last out in allowance company on the dirt. Beatable favorite here. Bricks and Mortar (5-2) is on the rail for trainer Chad Brown, and jockey Joel Rosario. The dark bay by Giant’s Causeway is a perfect 3-for-3 following his Manilla Stakes win on the 4th of July. Rosario rallied him from the back of the pack at the three quarter pole and to soar to the front in the shadow of the finish line by a neck over Big Handsome (3-1). The Street Boss colt Big Handsome likes to stalk and stride home and he’ll get plenty of wagering interest with HOFer Castellano aboard.

Snap Decision (5-1) is a Hard Spun colt who won in allowance company last time out for trainer Shug McGaughey. He’s been in the money his last six races including his lone stakes try when 3rd in the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) in March. Secretary at War (8-1) will be running on the lead and has value with John Velazquez riding after finishing a very close 3rd in the Manilla behind Bricks and Mortar and Big Handsome.  Arklow (10-1 breaks from the outside and he too was a huge disappointment as the second choice in the Belmont Derby where he tired badly in the stretch and finished last of 11. If he runs back to his previous two races at similar distances, then he’ll contend. Jockey Felix Geroux rides for trainer Brad Cox at a healthy price.

Long shots Parlor (15-1), another Giant’s Causeway colt Makarios (20-1) trained by Nick Zito and Bonus Points, Pletcher’s other runner, round out the field.

A well-matched and difficult-to-handicap race with Castellano another Hall of Famer on the list. Afternoon thunderstorms (40%) are in the forecast for Saratoga Springs, NY, so confirm the race will stay on the turf.

Getting Set for the Saratoga Summer Stakes Races

Saratoga Summer Meet Features 35 Graded Stakes Including 16 Grade 1’s

The best racing of the summer season starts this week with Del Mar out West in California and the Saratoga Summer Meet in Saratoga Springs, NY. Racing fans and horsemen look forward to these meets, which draw the best racing, and betting, in the world. The 40-day Saratoga Summer Meet starts Friday, July 21 and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 4.

During the 2017 Summer Meet, Saratoga hosts 35 graded stakes races, including 16 Grade I races – 13 on the dirt track and 3 on turf. A total of 69 stakes worth $18.775 million in purses are set for this summer at Saratoga, the oldest track in the U.S. and voted one of the top-10 sports venues of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated, .

The two richest races at the carnival is the $1.25 million Travers Stakes on Aug. 26, and the $1.2 million Whitney Stakes, the first ‘Win and You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup Challenge race of the Saratoga meet. The Travers is the traditional midsummer highlight for 3-year-olds, and the world’s best race horse, Arrogate, announced his arrival with a record-breaking performance in the 2016 Travers Stakes.

Travers day is August 26, and the biggest day of racing at Saratoga with six Grade I races including four ‘Win and You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup Challenge races. They include:

  • $700,000 Personal Ensign – (BC Distaff)
  • $500,000 Ballerina – (BC Filly & Mare Sprint)
  • $600,000 Forego – (BC Dirt Mile)
  • $1 Million Sword Dancer – (BC Turf)

Five graded stakes headline opening weekend at Saratoga, and the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) for top 3-year-olds follows next Saturday, July 29.

The Saratoga Race Course Guide provides all the information you need, whether you are a first-time track goer looking for the basics, or a life-long veteran looking for what’s new this year. The biggest and richest races of the summer at Saratoga are listed below. Let the races begin!

Sat., July 22 – Diana (G1), 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares on the turf – $500,000
Sat., July 29 – Jim Dandy (G2), 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds – $600,000                                                                                                                                                     Sat., July 29 – Vanderbilt (G1) 6 furlongs for 3-year-olds & up – $350,000
Sat., Aug. 5 – The Longines Test (G1), 7 furlongs for 3-year-old fillies – $500,000
Sat., Aug. 5 – The Whitney (G1), 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds & up – $1,200,000
Sat., Aug. 12 – Fourstardave Handicap (G1), 1 mile on the turf for 3-year-olds & up – $500,000
Sat, Aug. 19 – Alabama (G1), 1 ¼ mile for 3-year-old fillies – $600,000
Sat., Aug. 26 – Forego (G1), 7 furlongs for 3-year-olds and up – $600,000
Sat., Aug. 26 – H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1), 7 furlongs for 3-year-olds – $500,000
Sat., Aug. 26 – Ketel One Ballerina (G1), 7 furlongs for fillies & mares 3-year-olds & up – $500,000
Sat., Aug. 26 – Personal Ensign (G1), 1 1/8 miles for fillies & mares 3-year-olds & up – $700,000
Sat., Aug. 26 – Sword Dance (G1), 1 ½ miles on turf for 3-year-olds & up – $1,000,000
Sat., Aug. 26 – Travers (G1), 1 ¼ miles for 3-year-olds – $1,250,000
Sat., Sept. 2 – Woodward (G1), 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds & up – $750,000                                                                                                                                         Sat., Sept 2 – Spinaway (G1), 7 furlongs for 2-year-old fillies – $350,000
Mon., Sept. 4 – Hopeful (G1), 7 furlongs for 2-year-olds – $350,000

Bernard Baruch Handicap Preview

Bernard Baruch Handicap Precedes Hopeful on Labor Day

A field of 10 will take to the turf in the Grade II, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap on closing day at Saratoga Monday. The holiday stakes turf race for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles will be followed by the Grade 1, $350,000 Hopeful Stakes for 2-year-olds.

Ring Weekend is the 5/2 favorite and he endured a tough trip when pinched early as the favorite in the Grade I Fourstardave, finishing sixth and last on August 20. The 5-year-old son of Tapit was second by a nose to Takeover Target in the Grade II Dixie on May 21 at Pimlico. John Velazquez will ride and carry co-high weight of 118 pounds. His trainer, Graham Motion likes his development.

Saratoga Cold Couble“He seems to be coming into form and if he can run back to his Dixie race he should be very competitive.”

War Dancer was pace and position compromised and steadied around the turn last time out before getting room to run and finished third in the Grade III Oceanport at Monmouth. The 6-year-old by War Front will break from the far outside here, but should be able to sit back and make one run on more firm turf. The 8-1 price is attractive and worth inclusion in win and exotic betting.

Jay Gatsby (9/2) was wide most the way but surged late to narrowly miss in the Lure last time out. The 4-year-old gray by Giant’s Causeway gets re-united with Javier Castellano, and with an honestly run race, he should get the proper setup.

“I think he’s a legitimate contender and has to improve, but it looks like he’s been getting there and moving forward little by little,” said trainer James Jerkens.

Takeover Target (3/1) has the top combo of leading rider and trainer Jose Ortiz and Chad Brown. He’s a Grade II winner in the Hall of Fame and was forth in the June 18 Poker Stakes. He scratched from the Fourstardave when the turf turned up firm, but he should make a late move.

Dubai Sky is speedy having won the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park in March, then was off until July 1 when he returned to the turf to win an optional claimer at Churchill Downs. He could play out as the controlling front-runner with aggressive handling; very playable with Bill Mott training him along with War Dancer.

Take the Stand (ARG) is 5-1 and another Bill Mott trained colt and contender. The Argentine-bred 5-year-old was second by a neck in the Grade III Tampa Bay Stakes followed by a win in the Grade II Muniz Memorial at the Fair Grounds in March. He was off until August when he set the pace in the Arlington Million before faltering, but breezed four furlongs well August 28 and should break out front from the rail.

Your final chance to wager and win at Saratoga is Labor Day, and the Bernard Baruch Handicap is Race 9 with post time at 5:08 pm ET.

Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 Take the Stand (ARG) Edgar S. Prado 117 William I. Mott 5/1
2 Ring Weekend (KY) John R. Velazquez 118 H. Graham Motion 5/2
3 Natchez (KY) Luis Saez 112 D. Wayne Lukas 30/1
4 Dubai Sky (KY) Jose Lezcano 115 William I. Mott 15/1
5 Takeover Target (KY) Jose L. Ortiz 118 Chad C. Brown 3/1
6 Solemn Tribute (ON) Irad Ortiz, Jr. 116 Brian A. Lynch 12/1
7 Farhaan (KY) Junior Alvarado 112 Carlos F. Martin 15/1
8 Jay Gatsby (KY) Javier Castellano 116 James A. Jerkens 9/2
9 Reporting Star (FL) Florent Geroux 116 Elizabeth Voss 20/1
10 War Dancer (KY) Manuel Franco 115 William I. Mott 8/1

Can A Long Shot Take Down Frosted in the Woodward?

Bettors Banking on Favorite Frosted in Woodward

Frosted offers no value in Saturday’s Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, but that won’t stop bettors from lining up on the Tapit colt at 3-5 odds. Jockey Joel Rosaria has ridden Frosted since his 2015 win in the Wood Memorial, and a win Saturday would be his seventh win and push his earnings over $4,000,000.

Clearly Frosted looks like he should win the Woodward, which is a softer field than his recent win in the Whitney Stakes over this track August 8. In fact, six of the last eight Woodward winners came out of the Whitney. And Frosted’s victory by better than 14 lengths in the Met Mile in June was a dominating performance. While Frosted did run second behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in last year’s Belmont Stakes, recall he finished fifth in the Dubai World Cup this year when California Chrome was best. The runner up in that race was Mubtaahij, who is now the 5-1 choice in the Woodward. His trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who also trains Frosted, believes Mubtaahij is ready to run a big race.

“I think he has improved since the Suburban,” McLaughlin said of Mubtaahij. “Since being here, he’s been doing really well. Irad feels like he knows him better now after riding him last time, (that he) learned a little something about him, so we’ll see how it goes. We think he’s going to run big.”

If you’re looking for a long shot, consider the trio below and consider in your exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagering.

Samraat (10-1) is a classy New York-bred who ran in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes in 2014 but was not healthy last year. He showed in his recent run in the Suburban that he’s back when nearly going wire-to-wire at 11-1 odds before beaten by a neck by Effinex. That was a mile and a quarter, so he may hold up here.

Breaking Lucky (20-1) gets our attention at long odds having finished in the money in his last six races over the past year and is one to include in the exotics. He’s run credibly on dirt in the past, and in his last three at Woodbine he’s run well including winning the Grade III Seagram Cup last out on Polytrack.with a stalk and pounce win at 1 1/16 miles.

Shaman Ghost (12-1) breaks from the rale having finished fifth in the Suburban last out at 3-1. He won the Brooklyn Invitational in June finishing ahead of Samraat that day. He’ll get Lasix for the first time and a new rider in Javier Castellano and is in good at an overlay.

Saratoga Race Course, Saturday, September 03, 2016, Race 10

  • 1 1/8m
  • Dirt
  • $600,000
  • 3 yo’s & up
  • 5:46 PM (local)
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1Shaman Ghost (ON) Javier Castellano 120 James A. Jerkens 12/1
2 2Breaking Lucky (ON) Luis Contreras 120 Reade Baker 20/1
3 3Frosted (KY) Joel Rosario 124 Kiaran P. McLaughlin 1/2
4 4Bradester (KY) Joe Bravo 122 Eddie Kenneally 6/1
5 5Catholic Cowboy (FL) Luis Saez 118 Nicholas P. Zito 20/1
6 6Samraat (NY) Jose L. Ortiz 118 Richard A. Violette, Jr. 10/1
7 7Tale of Verve (KY) John R. Velazquez 118 Dallas Stewart 30/1
8 8Tapin Mojo (KY) Manuel Franco 118 Naipaul Chatterpaul 50/1
9 9Mubtaahij (IRE) Irad Ortiz, Jr. 118 Kiaran P. McLaughlin 5/1




Final Friday at Saratoga – Two Turf Sprints

Closing Weekend at Saratoga with Picks and Analysis in Friday’s Turf Races

The final weekend of the Saratoga meet concludes Monday, September 5 on Labor Day. Friday’s card is not too enticing, but let’s look at a  pair of 5 ½ furlong turf sprints in the sixth and eighth race.

Friday, September 2

#2 Bellavais (8-1) is a well-bred Tapit colt making his debut in Race No. 6. He’s also a half to Grade I winner Winter Memories. Bellavais is working super strong for trainer James Toner with a solid pattern over the track that includes five furlongs in 59.98 and three furlongs in 36.85 in his final tune-up August 28.  Wide open with full field, consider at 8-1 with Franco aboard.

#7 Black Canary is the favorite at 2-1 and also training super for Mark Casse and is well meant against a mediocre group. Black Canary is by War Front, a top early win sire. In early August he breezed three furlongs in 36.56 and his final tune-up was four furlongs in 48.58.

#9 K J Warrior (4-1) is debuting for trainer Steve Asmussen, but drills have been slow. #3 Take a Stroll (12-1) is a half to turf winner Son of Oahu and should take to the turf quite nicely. The fillies last work was 8/19 going five furlongs in 102.80; the fourth best of 37 that day. #4 Orecchiette (7/2) has slow works but a good combo with trainer Todd Pletcher and rider Javier Castellano. Include. #8 Foreign Affair (8-1) probably better at longer.

Race No. 8 is a $25,000 claimer also at 5 ½ furlongs on the turf. A full field of 12 #3 Goodbye Sorrow (3-1) was a game second last time out and has also strung four races together telling us she’s healthy, and now facing the worst group she’s ever lined up against. She’ll get to the lead at the quarter pole with few late threats. The one to beat. #6 Sunrise Kitty (7-2) is also stringing four races together, and was third behind Goodbye Sorrow last time out and is versatile. She’ll likely sit just off the flank of the top pick throughout, easy to find a win down the lane here. #8 Two Pump (4-1) drops in class and rallied gamely late two back for trainer David Jacobson and now switches surface. She will benefit if the pace heats up.

Check out the scratches and changes for Friday’s races at Saratoga, along with all the entries and post times for today’s races.

Saratoga Joins Pokemon Go Craze

Meet up Monday’s at Saratoga for Pokemon Go

Saratoga Race Course will become a destination for Pokemon Go players as a special site for the digital game during the final three Mondays of the 2016 meet. The first Pokemon Go competition at Saratoga will be held on Monday, August 22 and will continue during the Berkshire Bank Family Monday series on August 29 and September 5.

The Pokemon Go event was added to the weekly family festival that is held each Monday of the meet from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pokemon Go players can register at the Pavillion beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET. The individual who collects the most Pokemon throughout the day will be awarded 2,500 Pokecoins. Players must present their final tally of catches on their app to the attendant located at the Pavilion at the conclusion of the event. A leaderboard will be on display during the afternoon.

Pokemon Go horseLures will be dropped throughout the afternoon to attract Pokemon to various track landmarks, including the Saratoga Pavilion, Saratoga Walk of Fame, Horse Sense exhibit and the Jockey Silks Room porch. Players can replenish their Pokemon-catching tools at three Pokestops located on track grounds: the Big Red Spring, the Coach Stepping Stone near the Saratoga Pavilion; and the Union Avenue Entrance.

Berkshire Bank Family Mondays invites families and children to experience and enjoy a wide array of free games, attractions and educational activities, including the opportunity to pet a retired thoroughbred, against the backdrop of historic Saratoga Race Course.

The Pokemon Go world craze has created a smartphone phenomenon with some people even galloping their way on horseback. The Pokemon hotspots around Saratoga Springs have created a boost for some businesses, and now the Pokemon Go players can come to the track and enjoy the sensation at Saratoga.

Protests Planned at Saratoga August 7

Horse Deaths at Saratoga Prompts More Protests

Six horses have died at Saratoga Race Course this year after Domestic Warrior “suffered a fatal musculoskeletal fracture” and was euthanized Monday. Horseracing Wrongs is the latest equine advocacy group to call out the industry on what they believe is a inhumane sport. On Sunday, August 7, they will lead protests with dozens of protesters at the Saratoga main gate.

“Six deaths are nothing,” said Nicole Arciello, an animal rights activist who heads up the local protest. “Usually, 11 are killed per summer. So many people who go to the track are unaware that horses die.”

She’s a little off on your stats, as the state Gaming Commission takes note and investigates each death, and it calculates that in 2015, 13 horses died at Saratoga. In 2014, 14 horses died. And in 2013, the number was 10. These include horses racing and in training.

Lee Park is director of communications for the Gaming Commission. He notes that “New York state is well below the national average rate of equine fatalities.” The national average of horse deaths is 2.1 horses per every 1,000 starts, and New York has 1.1 deaths per 1,000 starts. .

Horseracing Wrongs is opposed to more than the deaths. The group feels the horses are relegated to stalls for too many hours of the day, are whipped to run faster and retired to slaughterhouses.

“They don’t live out their life in a field,” said Arciello, who writes an Animal Rights blog. “They become food for dogs, for Europeans and the Japanese who use the meat in sushi.”

Protesters will hand out materials at the rally. This is the group’s second Saratoga demonstration this summer: 40 took up placards against horse racing on the track’s opening weekend, when two horses were killed. Horseracing Wrongs is in its third year of rallies at the track.

“A lot of people see it as all glitz and glamour,” said Arciello. “It’s not. We will be there to educate.”

Information on racing-related equine deaths can be found here The deaths are searchable by track, year, type of racing as well as other factors.

Pete Bradley Owned Saratoga This Past Weekend

It was “Pete Bradley Day” on July 23rd at Saratoga Race Course, according to BloodHorse. The owner of Bradley Thoroughbred Services first watched a couple of two-year-olds, Bitumen and Random Walk, take home the top two spots in the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (gr. III). The duo were bought and sold by Bradley and partner Eddie Woods Jr.

Without even getting a chance to take in that special 1-2 victory, Bradley was in the winner’s circle again. This time it was for Dacita, a mare he co-owns with Sheep Pond Partners, who won the Diana Stakes (gr. IT).

“It’s pretty unbelievable,” said Bradley. “When you win a grade I race, what could be any more exciting? But the process of selecting horses, no matter who ends up with them, when you get it right it is just a pretty amazing feeling. That takes the cake. Those days just don’t come along very often.”

Bitumen and Random Walk were both sold at this year’s Ocala Breeders’ Sale in March, with Bitumen going for $280,000 and Random Walk being purchased for $300,000. Dacita is part of a large chain of Bradley-owned racehorses, which includes champion Dayatthespa and Whatsdachances, who won the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT).

Even though it finished as a fantastic weekend for Bradley, it didn’t start out that way.

“I am not a superstitious guy, but I began to get worried,” said Bradley. “I flew to New York from Del Mar (on Friday) and when I arrived in Albany, I found out they had lost my bags. I get in my rental car and about 10 miles up the road, it breaks down. The rental car broke down! I was stuck on the side of the road for 45 minutes waiting for a new car.

“I was thinking ‘I hope this doesn’t continue. I have a big day tomorrow and I hope this doesn’t flow over.’ The next morning I was told my clothes would be delivered at 3:30 but since I had to be at the track at noon, I drove to Albany and picked them up.”

Bradley and company will be back at Saratoga the weekend of July 29-31.

Dacita Wins Thrilling Finish in Diana Stakes

Dacita Rallies from Last to Win Grade I Diana for Second Straight Victory

In a thrilling race that saw four horses surging to the finish together, Dacita rallied from the back of the pack to take the Diana Stakes by a nose. Trainer Chad Brown saddled both Dacita and near miss third place finisher Rainha Da Bateria, the longest shot on the morning line who went off at 28-1.

“Dacita loves Saratoga and knows where the wire is. They were really rolling along the first quarter and it set the tone for the race, that someone from behind, or at least mid-pack at worst, was going to have the best run. Irad was patient and worked out a great trip, he timed it just right.”

With a $500,000 purse in the Grade I at Saratoga, Dacita finished the 1 1/8 miles on the turf in 1:46.25 and paid $10.20, $5.70 and 4.20 across the board as the 4-1 choice. Recepta was 9-1 and finished second by a nose while 28-1 longshot Rainha Da Bateria was third. Favorite Miss Temple City (5/2) was fourth in a blanket finish. The $2 exacta paid $95.90 and the $2 trifecta was $1,217.

“She’s a nice filly,” said the winning rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. “I got the perfect trip while saving ground. She came from last and come running at the end.”

Dacita defeated the great Tepin in her U.S. debut nearly a year ago at Saratoga in the Ballston Spa Stakes. She then was off her game and was a well-beaten fourth to Tepin in April before flashing her winning ways again last time out at Belmont in the New York Stakes.

Dacita has now won nine of her 15 career starts to boast earnings of nearly $970,000.