This Saturdays feature event at Saratoga is the $500,000 dollar, Grade 1 Fourstardave. The race is named to honor a favorite at Saratoga…you guessed it FOURSTARDAVE.
He was one of the most popular horses of his time, as he competed from age 2 to 10. And boy how he loved The Spa. He Won at least one race at Saratoga from 1987 to 1994, earning him the nickname The Sultan Of Saratoga.
The Fourstardave Handicap has proved to be a key steppingstone toward the Breeders’ Cup Mile in recent years. Since 2012, WORLD APPROVAL, TOURIST, and WISE DAN (twice) have used the Fourstardave as a springboard to glory at the Breeders’ Cup
So what’s the secret to Winning the Fourstardave? What kind of horse does it take to claim this one-mile test of speed, class, and stamina? Looking back at the last ten Fourstardave contests, we find there are five tips and trends that most likely will lead to the Winner in 2019:
Bet Speed, Speed, Speed!
Generally, turf races are known for fantastic finishes with deep-closers flying from off the pace to prevail in the shadow of the wire. But the Fourstardave has been a noteworthy exception, strongly favoring speed horses over the last 10 years.
VOO DOO SONG (2018), SIDNEY’S CANDY (2011), and GET STORMY (2010) all Won in gate-to-wire fashion, while five other Winners were racing second or third (and within two lengths of the lead) halfway through the race.
Regardless of the turf condition, it’s wise to favor speed horses in the Fourstardave Handicap.
Bet John Velazquez and Bill Mott
With nine Victories overall (including three in the last decade), no jockey has enjoyed greater success in the Fourstardave than John Velazquez. Give him a live mount, and you can bet he’ll execute a strong ride on the Saratoga turf course.
Trainer Bill Mott might not win the Fourstardave every time he saddles a runner, but with four Victories overall, including scores with TOURIST in 2016 and SEEK AGAIN in 2014, his runners are always worth an extra look.
Favor Proven Stakes Winners
With the exception of JUSTENUFFHUMOR, every Fourstardave Winner over the last 10 years had previously achieved Victory in a Stakes Races, with the majority Winning at least one (if not multiple) Graded Stakes races prior to their success at Saratoga.
Success at Saratoga Doesn’t Hurt
Half of the last 10 Fourstardave Winners had previously reached the Winner’s circle at Saratoga. Considering that the meet is short, and the Fourstardave comes early in the meet, this usually means the runner in question had won a race at Saratoga a year or two prior to succeeding in the Fourstardave. Horses for courses is always a good angle at The Spa.
A Last-Out Victory Isn’t Critical
Turf milers are often evenly matched, taking turns beating each other from one race to another. Only three of the last 10 Fourstardave Winners (VOODOO SONG, WISE DAN in 2013, and JUSTENUFFHUMOR) entered the race off a Victory.
Three others (WORLD APPROVAL, GRAND ARCH, and GOT STORMY) actually finished fourth or worse in their final start prior to the Fourstardave.
On Friday the Daily Racing Blog will use these tendencies and more to take a closer look at the field for the 2019 edition of the Fourstardave. So stop back.