08/08/2012 3:50PM

Saratoga: Fourstardave shorter in distance but long on quality

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Barbara D. Livingston
Wise Dan will return to turf for the Fourstardave.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N. Y. – The decision to shorten the $500,000 Fourstardave from a 1 1/16 miles to one mile this summer paid quick dividends, with a stellar field led by Wise Dan, Data Link, Get Stormy, and Corporate Jungle set to contest the Grade 2 turf fixture here Saturday.

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.

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Wise Dan, a Grade 1 winner on dirt, will return to the turf for the first time since finishing fourth behind Gio Ponti and Get Stormy in the 2011 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland. Wise Dan was beaten a head by Ron the Greek as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs in his most recent start.

Wise Dan will break from post 2 in the Fourstardave.

Data Link, who will start from the rail, ran down Get Stormy to register a one-length decision when the pair met at 1 1/8 miles in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes on June 10. Date Link will be the starting highweight under 121 pounds in the Fourstardave.

A rapid pace is expected in the Fourstardave, which should work in favor of the late-striding Data Link, who looked very sharp working a half-mile over the Oklahoma training track on Sunday.

“They figure to be going fast, and he should be able to close into it,” said trainer Shug McGaughey.

Get Stormy was forced to scratch out of the 2011 Fourstardave because of a minor injury suffered a week before the race. A multiple Grade 1 winner, he has won 4 of his 6 starts over the local course, including both the Fourstardave and Grade 2 Bernard Baruch here in 2010.

Corporate Jungle has improved steadily for trainer Chad Brown since breaking his maiden here last summer. A son of Giant’s Causeway, he had his three-race win streak snapped when finishing a wide-running fifth in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park on June 30.

The remainder of the Fourstardave lineup includes Guys Reward, Right One, Surfrider, Upgrade, and Yield Bogey. Crossbow has been entered for the main track only.

Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Besides the hefty purse money, races at Saratoga are quite sad so far. Please cut down on the number of racing days and card more route races on dirt. 1) They have got to make it a 6.5 weeks meet, 5 days per week, start on the last saturday of July, and end on the first Sunday of September. A 32-day meet, 10 races per card except for 12 races on Saturdays. 2) Route races should feature 40-60% higher purses than sprint races for all level of races, not just the graded stakes races. Currently the G1 sprint races are worth about 50% of their G1 route counterparts, but the purses for the sprint and route races are about the same. 3) Trainers must enter at least the equal number of route starters as sprint runners for any given week. Each trainer could have more route starters than sprint, but not the other way round. NYRA should then be able to card more route races without fear of them not filling.
illhaveanother9 More than 1 year ago
Attempting to mandate that trainers run an equal number of routers as sprinters is preposterous. With a marquee meet like Saratoga, many trainers will only bring a handful of horses; their barn-stars. If the trainer doesn't have superior routers, should they be excluded from the meet? This would cause even fewer entries. I have watched most every race of the meet. Large, competitive fields are the norm. Dirt routes are carded less, but every turf race generally has several MTO's, so even when races get rained off, there have still been competitive dirt routes. Yes, there are fewer dirt routes nationwide for older horses. You can blame it on the best routers leaving early to the breeding shed, but many feel that horses stay more sound when sticking to the turf and synthetic. I like Saratoga for the baby races, competive turf races, and stellar graded stakes. Trying to attract more starters in dirt routes by hyper-inflating the purses is ridiculous, and would be detrimental to horses welfare, as trainers would be running their horses at distances longer than their ideal. Lastly, Monday racing has been competitive and exciting. Wednesdays seem to have an emphasis on state bred races. As long as cards are full of overflow races, why would The Spa even consider shortening their race week? You seem to have spent a fair amount of time figuring out what you would do to fix Saratoga, but with the boosted purses, one of the best meets nationwide just became better. Redirecting your energy into figuring out how to boost purses at Keeneland without slots money, that is a more important and needed cause.