08/13/2012 9:40AM

Trip Notes: Fourstardave Handicap, La Jolla Handicap, Adirondack Stakes, and more

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saratoga
Fourstardave (race 11)

COMMENT: Wise Dan showed he may be the best horse in the country, or at least along with Acclamation the most versatile. He’s a Grade 1 winner on dirt, Grade 2 and 3 winner on synthetic and was already a Grade 2 winner on turf before this explosive display. Of course, it didn’t hurt that his main rival, Data Link, scratched but it was still a quality line-up. He hit the gate at the start but still had the speed to sit 3rd. He bided his time while Get Stormy set the pace, found a lane along the rail in midstretch, blasted through and drew away to win in a romp. Corporate Jungle, a winner of 3 straight before finishing 5th in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood June 30, flattered that West Coast form as he bounced back with a fine run. He sat 5th, swung out into the lane and finished well, though he was no threat to the winner. Get Stormy set the pace but weakened late. Guys Reward, a winner of 3 straight including the Grade 2 Firecracker at Churchill Downs July 1, was last early, commenced a run on the far turn but made minimal headway.

Monmouth
Monmouth Oaks (race 10)

Wine Princess, by Horse of the Year Ghostzapper out of Horse of the Year Azeri, continued her ascent, winning her 3rd race in her last 4, making her 3 for 3 on dirt as she successfully negotiated a step up in class. Whereas she’d used her speed to stalk in her prior wins, this time she went right to the lead. The field moved closer to her turning for home but she kicked clear again to win nicely. She may not be ready for the best of the 3-year-old filly division but she’s trending the right way. Proud Pearl stalked, made a run at the winner turning for home, couldn’t keep up in the lane but gamely held 2nd. Jemima’s Pearl broke slowly, sat last to the far turn and finished well, though she never once was a threat to the winner. Morrow Cove, the favorite off a big win in the Serena’s Song here last month, sat back, started what appeared to be a move on the turn but then offered nothing.

Ellis Park
Gardenia (race 8)

Salty Strike continued her strong form, notching her 3rd straight win, all stakes. The daughter of Smart Strike dueled early with Joyful Victory, was able to set the pace while under pressure from that rival, rebuffed that foe into the lane and kept to her task to slowly inch away in the lane. Joyful Victory, the favorite, volleyed early with the winner, was then content to sit 2nd and apply pressure, kept the pressure up into the lane but then couldn’t keep pace in the final furlong while five lengths the best of the rest. Ridgester sat back and finished decently, though she was no factor in what was basically a 2-horse race. Absinthe Minded was last much of the way and made only modest headway. Sassy Image lagged back and never mustered a run.  That makes for 3 dull outings in 4 starts this year as she hasn’t looked like the same gal who won 2 Grade 1 sprints in 2011.

Del Mar
La Jolla Handicap (race 8)

Old Time Hockey couldn’t get to My Best Brother in a division of the Oceanside here last month, but a bit more ground helped the son of Smarty Jones gain his revenge – but just barely. In this small field he sat 3rd from the start, stayed there, doggedly went after pacemaking favorite My Best Brother in the lane and just got up in the final stride. This stamps him a prime player for the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby Sept. 2. My Best Brother, favored off 3 straight wins including that Oceanside tally, bounced right out to a clear lead, battled gamely when challenged in the lane and just missed in a fine try. Chips All In stayed on well to be a good 3rd, beaten just a nose and a head.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Saratoga
Adirondack (race 10)

Kauai Katie was coming off a monster debut win where she Beyered 100, and she showed that was no fluke as she easily handled the step up to graded stakes ranks with an easy victory. The daughter of Malibu Moon went right to the lead, as she’d done in her debut, set a fast pace, shook off her early pursuers when asked in the lane and won clear. Her win also gave her owner Stonestreet Stable a remarkable 6 wins from as many starts this meet. Salamera, a Calder raider coming off 2 wins to start her career, including a stakes, stalked the pace, tried to make a run at the winner into the lane, couldn’t keep up but stayed on nicely to be a clear 2nd. Fully Living likewise stalked and plugged along for 3rd without threatening.

Saratoga
Saratoga Special (race 11)

Race lost some luster when morning-line favorite Shanghai Bobby scratched with a temperature. Spurious Precision was a heavy favorite off a huge debut win (91 Beyer) here July 21, and he backed up that outing with another impressive performance. The son of High Cotton went right out to the lead, took pressure from the start to the top of the lane, then drew away and was hand ridden and basically eased up in the final yards. He’s So Fine was last early, put in a solid rally but was never a threat to the winner. In Harm’s Way sat back and made steady headway. Drum Roll chased the winner from the start but paid the price as he weakened a bit late.

Del Mar
John C. Mabee (race 8)

City to City came into this a multiple Grade 2 winner but her recent form at Hollywood had many wondering if she was able to compete at this level. Well, apparently returning to the seaside did the trick as she posted the upset. The 5-year-old mare bided her time early in 5th, commenced her run into the lane, had her jock lose his whip in midstretch but kept on gamely to just get the nod. All Star Heart stalked while just in front of the eventual winner, got first run on that foe, grabbed the lead late but lost a heartbreaker in the final stride. It was a nice bounce-back after an inexplicable dull run when 8th in the Grade 2 Royal Heroine at Hollywood last month. Go Forth North set the pace, battled gamely to deep stretch but weakened late. Nereid, the favorite, pressured Go Forth North from the start but paid the price for that, weakening significantly in the lane.