08/09/2013 4:24PM

Steven Crist's Saratoga graded stakes analysis: Fourstardave Handicap


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With the weather uncertain and Friday’s turf racing at Saratoga scrapped after heavy overnight rains, there’s no telling how the course will play Saturday for Wise Dan’s appearance in the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap.

Firm, yielding, or soft, however, it’s tough to see the 2012 Horse of the Year losing to a modest field, even while carrying 129 pounds, 11 to 14 more than the opposition.

The 6-year-old gelding has won his last seven starts, over six different turf courses, starting with last year’s Fourstardave, which he won by five lengths on a yielding course. Last time out, he beat Lea, the second morning-line choice in here, by two lengths over a yielding Churchill Downs course while carrying 128 pounds to Lea’s 117. A one-pound increase here does not alone argue for a reversal.

If I were trying to beat him, I would look for someone to wire the field in front of him, not someone who’s going to outfinish him from behind. The obvious candidate under that scenario is King Kreesa, a front-running winner of the Kingston and the Grade 3 Poker in his last two starts. Last September, he just missed pulling off an upset in the Grade 1 Jamaica at 23-1 over a soft course that was mislabeled “good.”

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