The Fourstardave Handicap (BC) (Grade 1)- $400.000 Purse
SAR- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile on the Inner Turf
August 22, 2020
Seven trainers have brought a total of twelve horses to the gate for the 17th running of The Fourstardave Handicap, a Grade 1 with major BC implications. The winner of this race will officially punch their ticket to the BC Mile, where they will hope to outperform 2019 winner, Name Drop. It is named for what is perhaps the most legendary horse to ever run at Saratoga for his remarkable accomplishments right here at the Spa. The Fourstardave ended up being the last race for Name Drop while in the silks of John Henry, who sold him to Fractious for $350.000 in October. It proved to be a dud of a purchase for Fractious overall. Let’s take this time to get to know our field for the 2020 edition!
#1- Charleys Glance (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by J Bisono)- The trainer draws the inside two positions with his entries for this race, and will be hoping that Charleys Glance decides to show up. This is a horse that has not been able to take the next step forward into graded competition with any consistency. He does have a Grade 2 win to his credit, but that is looking like the exception and not the rule with him right now. Ran ninth two months ago at the Poker Stakes after pacing the field from the outside.
#2- Regret Nothing (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- Most recently, we have seen this horse in turf sprints, which have predominantly been ungraded stakes and open allowances and he has been successful against this competition. Going back a bit, however, you can see he is quite experienced with going longer in his days with Estero Farms, and ran in the BC Dirt Mile in 2018. He’s been good on the grass, and it will be interesting to see how he fares at this level. His last race sent him seven furlongs in a Grade 2, and he ran out of time. My preference of Max’s horses.
#3- Siberian Prince (Sir Daniel Martin, ridden by J J Hernandez)- The gelding has some graded wins as a part of his long career, but you have to go back to June 2018 to find the last time it happened. His wins recently have mostly been in open allowances, but he did try the $150.000 Oceanport two weeks ago at MTH, and got the win. That’s a confidence boost, but is he ready to run again just 13 days later against this crowd? Also, it is three races in five weeks, and often its that third race in close succession that gets ‘em.
#4- Nice Dive (Threshold, ridden by F Pennington)- This six year old has made a habit of going a mile on the grass lately, and has a couple of close calls where he was within a length of a win in a top race, such as the Grade 1 WO Mile or Grade 1 Makers Mark Mile. You do have to go back to September 2018 to find his last win in this type of a race, however. An effort like that should put him with the group of horses near the front at the end, but he might have to find a little bit more to come out on top.
#5- Lunar Blaze (John Henry, ridden by E Maldonado)- At this point, I feel like I have written a book about this horse, saying just about all that could be said about his career. He is now seven, and has gone back into his ways of not winning races, with just one win in his last twelve races. Interestingly, his last two wins have been the 2019 and 2020 renditions of the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile. Therefore, we know he still has it in him, and perhaps John Henry just needs to trick him into thinking he is at SA for the Kilroe again.
#6- City Of Bones (John Henry, ridden by R Bejarano)- Finished second in the BC Mile last year, but has not been able to build on that all that much in 2020. He did win the Grade 3 Thunder Road in February at SA, so things began well, but since then, he has been soundly beaten in his last three starts. Most recently, he was ninth here in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple. Needs a result to get excited about once again.
#7- Duke Or Earl (Gdp Inc, ridden by B J Hernandez Jr)- He has had a steady career, with ten wins over his 38 career starts. He was covered a lot more often here in the SRF during 2018 and 2019, and has recently been in overnights more often than not. A strong showing in an allowance, placing second, gets confidence going that he can handle this field, and he returns to the type of race that has made him most successful in his career. He is a bit on an X-factor in this race, as you could see it going either way.
#8- Hefner (Mb Stables, ridden by Ru Fuentes)- The first of three that are saddled by Mb Stables for the race. Hefner has an interesting figure that you don’t usually see on an Mb stake-quality horse, and that is just two wins in 23 career starts. He’s able to finish second and third far more often, so the trainer sticks with him, but he shows that even the king of the game can’t get them all over that hump. Many close calls within a length, and he should be in the mix at the end here as well.
#9- Sunday Phunnies (Nakamura Stables, ridden by G Franco)- In his last start, the gelding picked up a win in the King Edward BC Stakes, which was the sixth of his career and allowed him to forget about the Louisville Handicap disaster. If there is a single drop of rain on the track, he would probably be scratched, but the weather forecast looks good for Saturday. When it’s fast or firm, he is a contender. It is his first Grade 1 and would love that signature win to feature on his resume. The King Edward is nice and all, but it’s not the Fourstardave.
#10- Spiral (Mb Stables, ridden by L Saez)- Horse number two out of Mb Stables was able to be a part of the BC Turf last year, thanks to winning the $1,000.000 JC Derby last year. He started his career on a roll, but he may have plateaued right now. After a couple of mediocre races after the BC, he was dropped into overnights, and did not win either of them. He would win the Poker Stakes, but did not follow that up well. Certainly capable, but not the one to beat.
#11- Devilish Details (Mb Stables, ridden by Mar Garcia)- Picked up a check in the BC Mile last year, finishing fourth, but has not been able to build on that in 2020. He did run fourth in the Makers Mark Mile this spring, but that would lead the trainer to run him on the main track a couple times, something that he was also well experienced with from the past. He was not poor, but when you are in this barn, the expectations are higher, so Mb Stables is sending him back to the turf, and running him against some of the best. A run like the Makers Mark will absolutely have him in good contention here.
#12- Red Cup (John Henry, ridden by R A Vazquez)- This colt by Quench made a name for himself as a three year old by running in the KYD and BEL, but never really did much in any of them, or thereafter. After running fifth in the BC Dirt Mile, Our Athletes sent him to John Henry in private sales for $210.000. Up until his last race, John Henry had not experienced a return to the winners circle, but got that at the Grade 1 Highlander at WO in late June. That is a sprint, but we know he can handle this as well, so the trainer hopes he can build on that good looking win.