Wide Open Field Set for Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga

Belmont Park

A field of 10 lines up on the Saratoga turf course Saturday in the $500,000 Fourstardave (© Cheryl Quigley | Dreamstime.com)

A field of 10 will line up at Saratoga on Saturday in the $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap, which will be run for the 32nd time this afternoon and as a Grade 1 race this year.

Formerly named the Daryl’s Joy Handicap, the race is named in honor of the hard knocking Fourstardave, who won a race at Saratoga every summer from 1987 to 1994.

Trained by Leo O’Brien, the gelding made 100 starts in his career, winning 21. He earned purses of $1,636,737 in his career. He died of a heart attack at the age of 17 in 2002.

Among the horses that have won the race include Wise Dan (twice), Leroidesanimaux, Lure, Da Hoss and Steinlen. Fourstardave won the race in 1990 and 1991 under its previous name.

This year’s field includes defending champion Grand Arch, who pulled off the upset last year at 8-1 for trainer Brian Lynch. He is listed at 8-1 on the morning line this year and will have Luis Saez in the irons.

The 5-2 morning line favorite is Tourist for the Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. The five-year-old was a game second in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita in his last outing. Joel Rosario has the call.

Ring Weekend is the second choice on the morning line at 3-1. The Graham Motion trainee was beaten a neck in the Dixie (G2) last out at Pimlico by Takeover Target, who is the 7-2 third choice on the morning line.

The co-feature on Saturday is the $200,000 Adirondack (G2) for two-year-old fillies. A field of six line up led by 2-1 morning line favorite Libby’s Tail, a good looking maiden winner in her debut at Belmont Park on July 2.

My Best Plays Report for Saturday  includes my 10 strongest plays from Arlington Park and Saratoga including all of the graded stakes action.

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Let’s head out to the Spa for Saturday’s featured race of the day:


Saratoga Race 10 The Fourstardave Hcp G1 (6:32 ET)

#5 Grand Arch   8-1

#6 Tourist   5-2

#4 Takeover Target   7-2

#10 Ring Weekend   3-1

Analysis: Grand Arch is the defending champ of this race and won the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) in his following start last year. Two back off a seven-month layoff he ran a game third in the Dixie (G2), then regressed last out in the Poker (G3) where he weakened to finish sixth. He has come back with good works since that subpar effort and he is much better than he showed last out. He should be primed for a top effort third off the bench for the Lynch barn. Decent value if he goes off near his 8-1 morning line and he won this race last year at those odds. He has handled ground less than firm including winning the Shadwell Turf Mile over yielding footing.

Tourist was a game second in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) last out at Santa Anita, beaten a half-length by Midnight Storm, who came back to win the Eddie Read (G2) in his next outing on July 17. He has lost five in a row since taking last year’s More Than Ready at Kentucky Downs but comes in here owning the top last out speed fig.

Takeover Target came up short last out in a fourth place finish in the Poker, beaten 7 1/4 lengths, regressing off a game neck win two back in the Dixie (G2). This guy likes some give to the ground and may get it today with some rain in the forecast for Friday and Saturday. He won the Hall of Fame (G2) here last summer. He figures to bounce back with a better effort than we saw last out.


WIN: #5 to win at 9-2 or better.

EX: 5,6 / 4,5,6,10

TRI: 5,6 / 4,5,6,10 / 4,5,6,9,10


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