Voodoo Song wins fifth straight at Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Barry K. Schwartz’s Voodoo Song refused to be denied in the stretch, holding off a late-charging Delta Prince to win the Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap by a neck under jockey Jose Lezcano in 1:35.96 for the one-mile stakes over the inner turf listed as good on Saturday.

The victory by the 4-year-old son of English Channel was his fifth straight at Saratoga Race Course after he scored four straight wins during the 2017 meet, highlighted by his neck victory over Yoshida in the Grade 3 Saranac. The Linda Rice-trained New York-bred has never been headed in all five local starts and captured his first Grade 1 victory in the Fourstardave.

“It’s very exciting,” said Rice. “It’s hard to move up on what he did last year here with winning four races. It was an unbelievable meet and so special to all of us. I think he got a lot of fans here by winning so many races at Saratoga, so it’s exciting to come back. What do you do next? Win the Fourstardave. It’s just fantastic.”

Rice opted not to enter the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure, originally scheduled for last Saturday, and instead pointed to the Fourstardave with hopes that wet weather would subside, and the turf courses would dry, giving Voodoo Song his preferred firm ground. Early rain downgraded the turf to good, but the softer ground proved no match for Voodoo Song.

“He ran so well last year on a firm course,” Rice said. “We’ve had nothing but rain for two weeks here, so I was very concerned about it. With other speed in the race as well, Heart to Heart was a concern. But our Plan A was to go to the lead and establish the [speed] from the beginning. Jose Lezcano rode him beautifully, and here we are.”

The legendary Fourstardave, otherwise known as the “Sultan of Saratoga,” became a fan favorite when he won at least one race per season between 1987-1994 over the hallowed track. Now with five straight impressive victories at Saratoga, including a Grade 3 and Grade 1 at Saratoga, Rice acknowledges Voodoo Song has developed quite a fan following as well.

“Who better to win the Fourstardave than a horse who is obviously a Saratoga star?” she said.

Rounding out the finish was Yoshida and Heart to Heart. Main track-only entrant Weekend Hideaway was scratched.

Voodoo Song, off at 6-1, returned $15.40 for a $2 wager.

Adirondack Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Fortune Farm’s Sue Fortune made a winning move coming from off the pace and held on in the the final yards to earn her first graded stakes victory in the Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.

Breaking from post 6 with Junior Alvarado in the irons, Sue Fortune stalked comfortably from fifth position as 7-5 post time favorite Lyrical Lady led the field of six through swift fractions of 21.72 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 45.53 for the half.

At the three-eighths pole, Alvarado shifted Sue Fortune to the four-path to assume the lead as Lyrical Lady began to regress. Set in a full out drive at the quarter-pole, Sue Fortune extended away in the stretch and held off a late charge from Virginia Eloise to win by a half-length.

She completed the 6 ½-furlong distance in 1:19.83 on the main track listed as good.

Returning $9.10 for a $2 win wager, the New York-bred Jump Start filly is now 2-for-2 following an impressive 8 ½-length win on July 5 at Belmont Park. The victory boosted her career earnings to $147,200.

Following Virginia Eloise in second were Guacamole, Mucho Amor, Lyrical Lady and Grandma Gertie.

Fasig-Tipton Lure

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey had already entered the $100,000 Fasig-Tipon Lure with a special connection to the race, having conditioned the two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winner for which race is named. But McGaughey had another reason to visit the winner’s circle, as Inspector Lynley went from last-to-first and outkicked Projected to win the Lure by three-quarters of a length on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.

After inclement weather forced the race to be rescheduled a week from its original slate on the August 4th card, the sixth running of the Lure was the third stakes on the day, with Sue’s Fortune winning the Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack and Voodoo Song capturing the Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap two races prior.

Over a Mellon turf course that was listed as good but has taken consistent rain, Inspector Lynley stayed well off Mr Cub’s early fractions of 24.27 seconds for a quarter-mile and the half in 48.32. Last of seven heading into the far turn, jockey Jose Lezcano started picking off rivals one by one, going wide in the stretch to overtake Conquest Panthera.

Projected made a final challenge in the final furlong but Inspector Lynley completed the 1 1/16-mile course in 1:43.30 to improve to 2-for-2 in his career at the Spa, adding to his victory in the 2016 Grade 3 Saranac.

Off at 3-1, Inspector Lynley returned $8.60 on a $2 win bet. The 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid posted his first win since the Grade 3 Tampa Bay in February 2017, improving his career bankroll to $494,099.

Projected, the 2-1 favorite for trainer Chad Brown, finished a half-length in front of the Mark Casse-trained Conquest Panthera in third. Forge, Blacktype, Zennor and Mr Cub completed the order of finish.

Dalarna and main-track only entries Secret Passage and You’re to Blame were scratched.