Son of Ra Makes Wet Return to Winners Circle in Fourstardave

The Fourstardave Handicap (Grade 2)- $500.000 Purse
SAR- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile on the Inner Turf
August 15, 2015

Saturday was a day of off and on scattered downpours in the Saratoga area, and this rainfall did not miss our virtual version of the beautiful historic race track.   This rain claimed one horse before the race started, as Night Rider Stables opted to scratch Hold The Mach, a move that makes complete sense when looking at the one’s wet track performances in the past.   This left nine going to the gate on the yielding turf.  It was a strong group of horses, but as mentioned in the preview there was one horse to me that stood out as needing to win the race more then the others.  It wasn’t because there were concerns about him, he had still been racing and working well, he just needed to get back to the winners circle.  That horse was indeed Son of Ra.  In a stretch of 13 races from the beginning of 2013 until April of 2014, Son of Ra won nine times, and was second in the four others.  In the six races after that, against much strong competition, the best he had was a couple third place finishes.  Other then the Poker Handicap, there wasn’t really a race in that stretch where you could say he had a poor run, but he just needed to find his way to a part of the track he often would frequent:   the winner’s circle.    The rain didn’t bother him one bit, and in the race named after the great Fourstardave, Son of Ra is a winner once again.  So to, is his trainer Sanny Village, who wins the race for the second time in three years, having also saddled Volpie in 2013.  A S Arroyo rode his first Fourstardave winner.  Congratulations go out to all!  Here is how it went down!

1st- 9- Son of Ra (8/1)- Our eventual race winner from Sanny Village assumed a stalking position behind Seven Years, a horse that has been a recent nemesis of his.   During the backstretch run, he was content to remain about a length and a half from the lead, and began to inch a little closer as they approached the final turn.  Initially, Sea Speaker was in the lane that he wanted, and jockey A S Arroyo was sure to yell “Teammates!” to S X Bridgmohan, who was riding the other Sanny Village entry.   Sea Speaker did, after all, move down a lane rather politely for Son of Ra.  Gradually reeled in Seven Years during the turn, and was able to pass that one at the top of the stretch.  Finally, Son of Ra was in the clear but he had a host of rivals within a length or two of her all the way into the final furlong.   This is where Son of Ra seemed to be at his best, as he extended his lead on all but Iron Mann in the final strides.  We’re happy to see him back in the winner’s circle!  The time of victory was 1:35.60 over the yielding turf.  It is the first time, with the race held at exactly mile, that the race was on an off track, so there is nothing to compare the time too.  Son of Ra is a six year old gelding by Nineveh and out of the autogen Classic Flirt.  He was bred in Pennsylvania by Fatboy Slayer, where he raced early in his career.  Son of Ra then spent time in the Blushing Meadows and Spinetingling barns before flourishing with Sanny Village.  Congratulations to all of the connections!

2nd- 6- Iron Mann (15/1)- Next to last in the early going for Aer Stables, but still within five lengths as they made the run around the first turn.  Remained steady over the course of the backstretch run, and as the run to the turn approached, he moved to the outside of Jamfest, which I thought at the time was going to be a big mistake, but it proved to be a very wide decision as it positioned him right behind Son of Ra.  In the stretch, he was definitely second best.  For a horse that came into this race not as heavily raced as the others, Aer Stables has got to feel very good about this race, and where Iron Mann might be able to go in his future.

3rd (dh)- 5- Swamp Fox (306/1)- First of all, how does this horse go off at these crazy odds?  Did the on-track announcer name him as a scratch accidentally?  Anyway, the historically extremely consistent Blushing Meadows entry started towards the back early, so those with money on him weren’t screaming right from the start.  Gradually moved up halfway into the backstretch run and into the turn, he had to take the wide lane.   Unfortunately, even though he was still in good stride, he just seemed to go wider and wider and wider.  This obviously hurt in the photo for third where the dead heat was declared.

3rd (dh)- 7- Never Forget (8/1)- T McCarthy got the autogen gelding off to a good start early for Big Jd racing, assuming a stalking position along the rail for the first turn.   He maintained this position through the run along the backstretch.   In the turn, with Seven Years beginning to feel the affects of his weight disadvantage, Never Forget looked every bit as good on his inside as did Son of Ra to the outside, and it seemed like it would come down to these two.  However, it was not to be as he could not match up with several in the stretch.  May have been very fortunate to be on the rail to still get the 3rd place dead heat given Swamp Fox and Party Prep were forced super wide.

5th- 3- Party Prep (3/1)- The Canadian Racing entry was midpack, for the most part, in the early going, caught in the middle of Jamfest and Swamp Fox around the opening turn, a theme in which carried out throughout the backstretch and even into the final turn.   Eventually, in the stretch, he went about five wide but even there it never seemed like he had a true clear down as Sea Speaker drifted downward.  Don’t want to say the trip is a complete excuse, but it is fair to say it prevented Party Prep from showing us his best.

6th -8- Sea Speaker (20/1)- Sanny Village’s other entry was decent early, running in the fourth position, though a bit wide, for the run around the first turn.  Moved in the backstretch run to be even with Son of Ra, but as they approached the final turn, he was moved over a lane by his stablemate.  In the stretch, even while maintaining a steady stride, he drifted down and down even more, forcing Party Prep down, and forcing Swamp Fox into what probably seemed like another zip code to his trainer.

7th- 10- Seven Years (5/2)- With so many obstacles stacked against Alydar Stables’ BC Mile champion, the post-time favorite still got off to a good start and got into a position in the second lane for the turn, so can’t say the post was too much of an issue here.  Set the opening fraction in :23.65.   He maintained the lead during the backstretch, and throughout the turn, but at the top of the stretch, the rivals were bearing down on him and those extra pounds on the yielding turf may have begun to take its toll here.  He would not be able to hold them off.

8th- 2- Jamfest (5/1)- The reigning BC Turf Sprint champion from Jkk Racing Stables got off to a midpack start in the early going.  Began to move a little bit closer in the backstretch, and jockey J Lezcano actually had his horse in a great position just as they were exiting the turn.  But at the time when the jockey wants his horse to respond with a strong run, Jamfest simply did not deliver.  No excuses for this one.

9th- 4- Clueless (5/1)- The Mb Stables entry broke poorly out of the gate and found himself about seven lengths out of it before he could even begin to get in his rhythm.   He essentially gave the race a big, “Whatever!”


##   Horse Name Owner Name Jockey Odds   Fin Time SRF 
  Son Of Ra Sanny Village Arroyo A S 8.05   11 1:35.60  
  Iron Mann Aer Stables Alvarado J 14.90   22 1:35.90  
  Swamp Fox Blushing Meadows Ortiz J L 306.70   3nk 1:36.31  
  Never Forget Big Jd Racing McCarthy T 8.70   3nk 1:36.31  
  Party Prep Canadian Racing Mena M 3.25   5no 1:36.36  
  Sea Speaker Sanny Village Bridgmohan S X 20.45   63/4 1:36.38  
  Seven Years Alydar Stables Trujillo E 2.40   71/2 1:36.56  
  Jamfest Jkk Racing Stables Lezcano J 5.15   81 1:36.69  
  Clueless Mb Stables Lopez P 5.00   9 1:36.95  

Track: Yielding

Time: :233  :471  1:111  1:353

$2 Mutuel Prices:

9 – Son Of Ra 18.10 9.40 6.10
6 – Iron Mann   14.50 10.30
5 – Swamp Fox     135.70
7 – Never Forget     4.40

$1 Exacta: 9 – 6 Paid 180.40

$1 Trifecta: 9 – 6 – 5 Paid 886.20, 9 – 6 – 7 Paid 886.20

Scratched: Hold The Mach


— NS

Categories: Grade II

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