- Saturday’s Fourstardave Handicap is a Breeders Cup Win & You’re In Race
- Three mares are challenging five stallions in a Grade 1 $500,000 test
- Who presents the most betting value Saturday at Saratoga?
Fourstardave was given the nickname, “The Sultan of Saratoga.” He won a race at the Spa for eight straights years. When he failed to win at Saratoga in 1995 he was retired after 100 career races, 21 victories, and career earnings of $1.6 million.
The Fourstardave Handicap is a half million dollar mile turf race that earns the winner a berth in the Breeders Cup Mile. This year eight horses who have combined to win 22 graded stakes races will compete. The BC Mile champ has raced in the Fourstardave in four of the last 10 years.
Three females, Blowout, Got Stormy, and Daddy is a Legend, are challenging the boys in the Fourstardave. Raging Bull is a reasonable favorite, and Set Piece is certainly a contender, but who will win the battle of the sexes?
Let’s look at the odds keeping in mind where we can find value in our wagering, and briefly consider the Grade 2 Saratoga Special too.
2021 Fourstardave Handicap Odds
|Daddy Is a Legend||+2000|
Odds as of August 12th
When Got Stormy won the Fourstardave in 2019 she became the first female to win the race. Jockey John Velazquez has won the event a record nine times but does not have a mount this year. Trainer Bill Mott has secured a stakes high four victories, most recently with Tourist in 2016.
Post time on Saturday is scheduled for 6:13 pm EST. The race will be televised on Fox Sports 2.
Raging Bull has seven wins in 19 career starts with earnings topping $1.5 million. Running against top horses, Raging Bull failed to win in 2019, and last year took one start in five tries. He got the job done in his 2021 debut at Keeneland.
Following the victory in Lexington, Raging Bull was the favorite in June’s Poker Stakes at Belmont Park. He finished second, well beaten by a mare. Oleksandra won the Poker at +1740.
It seems like each weekend at Saratoga trainer Brad Cox is in the winner’s circle during a big time race. He won the Jim Dandy with Essential Quality and Whitney with Knicks Go. Saturday Set Piece looks to win a fourth straight race.
A winner of nine out of 16 career races, Set Piece has mainly faced good but not great horses. His victory last time out in the Wise Dan Stakes was impressive.
Casa Creed, who has always kept top company, and has won at Saratoga twice, is coming off back-to-back wins. He finished third in this race last year, and looked good rolling down the stretch when last seen, two months ago at Belmont Park.
Trained by Mott, Casa Creed beat Got Stormy among others last time out.
There is some question about whether Blowout will actually run on Saturday. She has the same owner (Peter Brant) and trainer (Chad Brown) as Raging Bull. If she starts, it makes sense that she’ll be on the lead where opponents have had a difficult time running her down.
Facing boys is more difficult, but Blowout is well rested. She has been off since early May, and has four wins, seven seconds, and one third in 12 career races.
Got Stormy has won 11 times. The six year old won this race in 2019, and was the runner up last summer. She followed the second place effort with two graded stakes wins in Kentucky, and a fifth place effort in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint. She began 2021 with a win in Florida.
Following the win at Gulfstream Park, Got Stormy faced boys in a Grade 2 event at Churchill Downs, and a Grade 1 race at Belmont Park. She finished fifth in both. Got Stormy loves Saratoga, but will need her best effort to win on Saturday.
Pick: Set Piece (+250)
Saratoga has always been known for baby races, two year olds just getting started with dreams of the Kentucky Derby. The Saratoga Special is a Grade 2 $200,000 six furlong sprint that dates back to 1901.
Nakatomi has the disadvantage of being stuck on the rail, but to say he is keeping good company is an understatement. He won his first career race, at Keeneland, and beat Happy Soul. That is the same Happy Soul who has raced twice since, and won both times by a combined 23 lengths including a romp in the Astoria Stakes at Belmont Park. Nakatomi went to Royal Ascot and finished eighth out of 15 on the turf in the Norfolk Stakes.
Saratoga’s leading trainer thus far this year Mike Maker believes Stolen Base will enjoy more distance.
Stolen Base won easily going five-and-a-half furlongs last month. He is working well and like Nakatomi, could go off at a tempting price. The morning line on both is +800.
Double Thunder is two-for-two, winning twice over a three week span in June including taking Churchill Down’s Bashford Manor Stakes.
Doctor Jeff won easily as the favorite in a maiden race at Belmont Park on July 10. While the competition here is tougher, he certainly looks the part.