I’m setting out this morning with a friend of mine for a trip back up to Saratoga for this Fourstardave card. I won’t be able to write more than a few sentences about each race in this space, but I’ll be tweeting live from the track, as usual.
Saturday, August 9
Race 2: Maiden Claiming $35,000 at seven furlongs
8 – Hi Speed Chase
Madd Exchange is clearly the horse to beat, but I’m equally as interested in HI SPEED CHASE (#8), who is sure to be a larger price. This colt has not run since late in his two year-old season, and he showed some promise, setting fast paces in some deep maiden races at Churchill Downs and Gulfstream. He returns from the long layoff with a series of strong workouts for the capable Gary Sciacca, and attracts Joel Rosario. If he can shake loose early, I think he could prove tough to catch.
$15 Win 8
Race 3: Allowance N1X at 1 1/8 miles on the turf
8 – Iron Power
I’ve gone back and forth quite a bit about IRON POWER (#8) over the past year or so, but I think I’ve finally got him pegged. He’s a pretty versatile horse, but he seems to run his very best races over very firm turf courses. Whenever he’s stepped on a turf course that isn’t hard and fast, he just doesn’t seem to show up with the sort of performance that we’ve learned he is capable of delivering. The Saratoga turf course has gotten little rain over the past week, so the conditions should be to Iron Power’s liking. I know that the distance is a minor question, but I imagine that they’re going to let him set his own pace, and if Irad Ortiz is able to properly ration out his speed, I think he can wire this field. I’ll bet him to win at what should be a fair price of at least 5-1, and will use him underneath Storm (#5) and Make a Decision (#10) in the exacta.
$15 Win 8
$5 Exacta 5,10 with 8 (Payout: $99.00)
Race 5: Claiming $20,000 at seven furlongs for NY-breds
5 – Tug of War
I’ve been thinking for quite a while now that TUG OF WAR (#5) might benefit from a turnback and he finally gets it here. He was a capable sprinter earlier in his career and his last race signals that he might be rounding back into form. I know that many will view this as a negative claim and trainer switch, but in my opinion it will only inflate his price. The only sprint he’s run since last summer came back in January, when he got an impossible trip off the rail on a day when you wanted to have speed and be near the inside. I know that the entry looks tough here (if they both do indeed run) but I have to take a shot with Tug of War.
$10 Win 5
Race 7: Allowance N1X at seven furlongs for NY-breds
2 – Alcolite
Groupthink (#4) and Gran the Man (#7) look like the two horses to beat, but I’m interested in ALCOLITE (#2) at a big price. He’s run competitive numbers in the past and should get some pace to close into here. I think the seven furlongs will suit him and he’s been working extremely well for this return to the races.
$10 Win 2
$5 Exacta 4,7 with 2
Race 8: Allowance N1X at one mile on the turf for NY-breds
7 – Last Run
I realize that LAST RUN (#7) looks like more of a dirt horse at first glance, but I urge you to watch his only turf race back on May 4th. He was hung out to dry around the turn, going four- to five-wide for the entire trip. Despite so much adversity, he surprisingly stayed on well until the late stages to just miss out on third at a huge price. That was his first race off a layoff and he has since taken a step forward in his recent races at Finger Lakes. It should come as no surprise that he took to the turf once you check out his pedigree since he’s a full brother to stakes-placed turf winner Vicki’s Dancer as well as another grass winner. At what should be double-digit odds, I have to play this horse. I will bet him to win and use him underneath logical contenders like Point Roll (#1) and Wake Up in Malibu (#6).
$10 Win 7
1,6 with 7
Race 10: The Fourstardave Handicap (G2) at one mile on the turf
1 – Silver Max
2 – Seek Again
I’ll keep this one simple. I just believe that SILVER MAX (#1) and SEEK AGAIN (#2) are the two best horses in this race and they should fill out a logical exacta. Jack Milton is a good horse, but he’s benefited from very favorable pace setups recently. Sayaad has shown some promise, but I don’t believe that his last race is quite as good as the Beyer speed figure suggests and I expect him to be an underlay.