Wise Dan, Data Link and Get Stormy headline a quality-loaded, nine-horse field that will take the Saratoga inner turf track this Saturday for the 30th edition of the $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap (G2).
The race named in honor of the horse once known as "The Sultan of Saratoga" has been shortened by a half-furlong this year and will be run at a mile.
The race will mark the return to turf racing for trainer Charles Lopresti's protege Wise Dan. He made his turf debut first time in July 2011 when he won the Firecracker Handicap (G2), and then finished fourth against a stellar field in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) two starts later.
After that loss, Wise Dan won three consecutive stakes races and then saw that streak broken in his last start at the Stephen Foster (G1) by Ron The Greek in a photo finish. He has an excellent 58.4 workout for five furlongs on July 30 and John Velazquez retains the mount.
Data Link defeated Turallure on the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) last April which has been his best career win. He comes from setting the course record at Monmouth Park in his last race for the Monmouth Cup (G2) defeating Get Stormy by a length in the process.
Velazquez was aboard Data Link on that last race while Alex Solis, who rode him on his previous nine races, will return to ride him with Velazquez switching to Wise Dan. Trained by Shug McGaughey, the four-year-old son of War Front has kept his recent form as shown by his workouts for this race which includes a bullet 46.2 for four furlongs last Sunday.
Multiple Grade I winner Get Stormy won this race in 2010 gate-to-wire. He did not participate last year due to injury but will get the chance this year.
Get Stormy has lost his last two races against Data Link this year both times by a length. He has the best workout of the group for this race with a bullet 57.4 for five furlongs on July 23 and trainer Thomas Bush has appointed Eddie Castro to retain the mount.
Trainer Dale Romans sends Guys Reward—who steps up in class here, but is in top form off three consecutive wins including a driving two-length win at the Firecracker on his last race. Corey Lanerie was aboard for that win and is back to ride him again.
Another horse showing good form is Upgrade who comes from showing a great kick when he won the Grade III Jaipur at Belmont on his last race with John Velazquez. Trainer Michelle Nihei has appointed Joel Rosario to ride him for this race.
Corporate Jungle had won three straight including two stakes races this year before finishing fifth in the Grade I Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park last time. He will be reunited with the nation's leading jockey, Javier Castellano, he has ridden him to three wins including his maiden win at Saratoga last summer.
Kiaran McLaughlin-trainee Crossbow, who has never raced on turf, has been entered as an alternate entry for the main track only should the race be moved from grass due to course conditions. According to wunderground.com there is rain in the forecast for Saturday.
Right One (FR), Surfrider (IRE) and Yield Bogey complete the field.
Get Stormy should take advantage of his inside position and lead the field to the turn with speedy Yield Bogey following him close in second place.
Wise Dan, Guys Reward, Corporate Jungle and Upgrade should form the stalkers group right behind them. Surfrider (IRE), Right One (FR) and Data Link will be the trailers and do their running in the stretch.
The key here will be how much pressure can Yield Bogey put on Get Stormy on the back stretch. This will dictate if any of the stalkers will have to make an early move and possibly end his chances right there.
If there is no pressure on Get Stormy he might wire the field.
Wise Dan's last three races have been off the charts with Beyers of 100, 117 and 105. He is five-for-seven on synthetic and one-for-two on turf and will get a two pound advantage on Data Link and one pound advantage on Get Stormy.
He looms large on this deep field and should win this race under a stellar ride from John Velazquez placing him possibly in third place on the rail and making one move from the turn.
He will hold off Data Link who will be flying on the stretch but will need that extra half-furlong here. With the rail position on the gate he will have to round every horse to win here and that will be the small difference at the end.
Corporate Jungle is the possible mild surprise here. He had to take a wide trip on his last race at the Shoemaker Mile (G1) that cost him as he was out-kicked in the stretch. He is a mile specialist who ran big on his only race at Saratoga last summer and has been working very well for this race.
Get Stormy loves Saratoga since he is four-for-six lifetime on the track. Don't expect the riders to give him an easy lead here and while he will be close at the end, he should not place in the top three.
The Fourstardave, which will be run as the final event on Saturday’s 11-race program, will be shown on NBC Sports Network with post time set at 6:45 p.m.
11th Race | Fourstardave Handicap | Grade II | Purse: $500,000 | Distance: One Mile
Saratoga Race Track - Inner Turf | Post Time: 6:45 p.m. ET| TV: NBC Sports Network
|1||Data Link||4/C||Alex O. Solis||Claude R. McGaughey III||121||3-1|
|2||Wise Dan||5/G||John R. Velazquez||Charles Lopestri||119||5-2 |
|3 ||Get Stormy||6/H||Eddie Castro||Thomas M. Bush||120||4-1|
|4 ||Guys Reward||5/H||Corey J. Lanerie||Dale L. Romans||118||6-1|
|5 ||Right One (Fr)||6/G||Julien R. Leparoux||Christophe Clement||116||15-1|
|6 ||Surfrider (Ire)||4/C||Jose Lezcano||Eddie Kenneally||115||20-1|
|7 ||Corporate Jungle||4/C||Javier J. Castellano||Chad C. Brown||116||6-1|
|8||Upgrade||5/G||Joel Rosario||Michelle Nihei||116||10-1|
|9||Yield Bogie||8/G||Edgar S. Prado||Patrick J. Kelly||114||15-1|
|Crossbow||4/C||Ramon A. Dominguez||Kiaran P. McLaughlin||120||2/1|
Morning Line odds by drf.com.