Wise Dan cruises to victory in the 2011 Clark Handicap (G1)
The 28th running of the $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap (G2) features a field of nine, with one main-track-only entrant, led by a pair of horses that have had tremendous careers to date, winning more than $1 million each. Get Stormy has won 11 races and more than $1.5 million, including the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) in February, and enters the race off a one-length defeat to Data Link in the Monmouth Stakes (G2). Wise Dan is the other heavyweight of note, having earned more than $1 million while victorious in nine of 16 races, including the Clark Handicap (G1) in November 2011, his most recent effort a tough defeat by a head to Ron the Greek in the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1). Data Link is a younger horse (four compared with five for Wise Dan and six for Get Stormy) who appears on path to break the million-dollar barrier in the near future, his earnings now at $451,335 including a win in the Makers 46 Mile Stakes (G1) this past spring and his most recent win in the Monmouth Stakes. Guys Reward enters the race off a victory in the Firecracker Handicap (G2) while Upgrade recently won the Jaipur Stakes (G3), so both could be up to this task. Right One won the 2011 Jaipur but is winless in six races since. Corporate Jungle won the Appleton Stakes (G3) in March, and even though recently fifth in the Shoemaker Mile Stakes (G1), he could be competitive at this Grade 2 stakes level. Yield Bogey and Surfrider round out the field, with Crossbow entered only if the race is taken off the turf and would be in search of his first stakes victory.
Wise Dan returned to the races in April following five months off and won his third straight graded stakes, taking the Ben Ali Stakes (G3) by 10 ½ lengths with a rock solid 115 Equibase Speed Figure, just two points shy of the career-best 117 figure he earned winning the Clark Handicap before the layoff. Given nearly two months off following the Clark, Wise Dan returned against some of the top handicap division horses in the country in the Stephen Foster and rallied to miss by a head. Rested again, Wise Dan tries turf for the first time since fall 2011 when fourth in the Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (G1) to repeat winner Gio Ponti. However, the only other time Wise Dan ran on the grass he did so with big success, taking the 2011 Firecracker Handicap with a very nice 114 figure. With nine victories in 16 career races and with a sensational recent workout on the Saratoga turf course in preparation for this race, Wise Dan could be the one to beat in this year’s Fourstardave.
Data Link is having a career year, with $330,835 of his $451,335 career bankroll earned in 2012. In his second start of the year in April, Data Link won the Makers 46 Mile over 2011 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) runner-up Turallure, then two races later he took the Monmouth Stakes with a career best 113 speed figure. Proven at a mile in top company and with a powerful workout last week on the Saratoga turf in preparation for the Fourstardave, Data Link would be no surprise if earning his third grades stakes win of the year.
DATA LINK SURGES TO WIN MAKER'S 46 MILE
Get Stormy loves the turf at Saratoga, with four victories in six races plus a big runner-up effort in his most recent race on the course in last summer’s Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) to the aforementioned Turallure. Also last year, Get Stormy won the Maker’s Mark Mile and Turf Classic Stakes in succession, returning to winning form this winter when taking the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap in February. In his most recent effort in the Monmouth Stakes, Get Stormy came from off the pace to lead in the stretch then settled for second as Data Link passed him late in the race. Having tied a career best with a 112 figure in that race, Get Stormy certainly should be a factor down to the wire in the Fourstardave.
The rest of the Fourstardave field, with their best representative Equibase Speed Figure: Corporate Jungle (116), Crossbow (entered for the main track only) (114), Guys Reward (112), Right One (107), Surfrider (112), Upgrade (112) and Yield Bogey (102).
$500,000 Fourstardave Handicap (G2)
Saturday, Saratoga, Race 11, 6:45 p.m. EDT
3-year-olds and older, one mile (Inner turf)
PP Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Data Link, A Solis, 121, C McGaughey
2. Wise Dan, J Velazquez, 119, C Lopresti
3. Get Stormy, E Castro, 120, T Bush
4. Guys Reward, C Lanerie, 118, D Romans
5. Right One, J Leparoux, 116, C Clement
6. Surfrider, J Lezcano, 115, E Kenneally
7. Corporate Jungle, J Castellano, 116, C Brown
8. Upgrade, J Rosario, 116, M Nihei
9. Yield Bogey, E Prado, 114, P Kelly
MTO10. Crossbow, R Dominguez, 120, K McLaughlin
MTO – indicates entrant will run only if the race is moved from the turf to the main track