Got Stormy, Uni face males in Fourstardave
SARATOGA SPRINGS — In its first 34 runnings, no filly or mare has won the Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga Race Course, but two entries are looking to buck history when graded stakes-winner Got Stormy and Grade 1-winner Uni face eight males in today’s featured race.
The one-mile event over the inner turf at the Spa is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Race offering a ‘Win and You’re In’ berth to the Breeders’ Cup Mile set for November 2 at Santa Anita Park.
The Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap and Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special will be broadcast live on NBC as part of a 1 hour national show from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern.
Got Stormy, owned by Gary Barber and Southern Equine Stable, makes a one-week spin back after winning the Fasig-Tipton De La Rose last Saturday off of two placings against graded stakes company, including a game third in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland and a second in the Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill Downs.
A win in the Fourstardave would give Got Stormy a second graded stakes win. Last July, she won the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen over the Woodbine turf.
“She won it about as easy as a horse can win it,” Casse said of her winning effort in the De La Rose. “We’re going to enter in there, and we’re going to look at the race. She trained great [Wednesday] morning.”
Jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. is named the rider for Got Stormy, who drew post 6 carrying 114 pounds. Her sire, Get Stormy, won the Fourstardave in 2010.
Casse also has entered March to the Arch in the Fourstardave, who will attempt this second graded stakes victory.
Owned by Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation, March to the Arch won the Grade 2 Wise Dan at Churchill Downs two starts back before finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple on July 12 at Saratoga where he was only beaten 1 ½ lengths.
“I’m going to give him another try going a mile,” Casse said. “I thought his race last time wasn’t one of his best performances. I really don’t have an excuse, so we’re going to give it another try. He only got beat two lengths.”
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione, a three-time stakes winner this meet, will pilot March to the Arch from post 1 carrying 119 pounds.
Uni, a 5-year-old More Than Ready bay mare, is unbeaten in five starts at the one-mile distance and seeks a second career Grade 1 win.
“She’s one of our stable leaders and she hasn’t missed a beat aside form a few setbacks,” said BSW Bloodstock’s Bradley Weisbord, who manages Uni for owners Head of Plains Partners, Michael Dubb, Robert LaPenta and Bethlehem Stables. “She hasn’t lost since October 2017, so it seems like she’s found the mile distance to be perfect. She wants pace. Her race in the Matriarch was brilliant. She had an outside post and made a great run to just get up and beat a nice horse in Vasilika, which showed she had Grade1 talent. She came out of that race a little jammed up, so we gave her time off with our minds set on a second half of the year campaign.
“I think the weights are a bit favorable for her,” Weisbord continued. “She’ll get a couple of pounds from Grade 1 older colts. We know she’ll come with a turn of foot in every race she’s run for us. We’re super excited to give her a shot. A couple of breezes on the grass and if she were be able to tackle this group, then we would look at the Breeders Cup Mile, but we don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves.”
Uni enters the Fourstardave off of five consecutive victories. Two starts ago, she notched her first Grade 1 win in the Matriarch at Del Mar. A winner of three graded stakes, her lone start this year took place in the Perfect Sting at Belmont Park, which she won by one length.
Uni is one of three entrants trained by Chad Brown, who also has entered Peter Brant’s Grade 1 winner Raging Bull [post 4, Jose Ortiz, 122 pounds] and Three Chimneys Farm’s graded stakes winner Made You Look [post 9, Jose Lezcano, 116 pounds].
Jockey Joel Rosario, who piloted Seek Again (2014) and Tourist (2016) to victory in the Fourstardave, has the call aboard Uni, who will leave from post 3 carrying 117 pounds.
Invading from Europe for the Fourstardave is Godolphin’s Group 2 winner Ostilio, who makes his first start since a distant eighth in the Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge at Newbury in May.
The 4-year-old chestnut son of New Approach is trained by Simon Crisford and seeks his first win since the Group 2 Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein in October at Longchamp.
Jockey Andrea Atzeni will pilot Ostilio from post 5 carrying 120 pounds.
Completing the field are Dr. Edgar [post 2, Julien Leparoux, 118 pounds], Krampus [post 7, Junior Alvarado, 118 pounds], Hembree [post 8, Luis Saez, 117 pounds], and Gidu [post 10, Manny Franco, 116 pounds].
The Fourstardave is slated as Race 9 today’s 11-race card. The first post is slated for 1 p.m.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Long Weekend, an impressive five-length debut winner, will take a step up in class and distance as part of a talented eight-horse field of juveniles making their respective stakes debut in today’s Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special presented by Miller Lite at Saratoga Race Course.
Owned by B.C.W.T., Long Weekend bested a seven-horse maiden field at five furlongs in his first start on June 23 at Churchill Downs. Trainer Tom Amoss will now see the Majesticperfection colt stretch out to 6 ½ furlongs at Saratoga, where he’s registered four breezes since shipping from Kentucky.
“He’s doing really good,” Amoss said. “He’s had three breezes at Saratoga, the most demanding was a five-eighths work [on July 28]. He’s handled everything we’ve given him.”
Long Weekend drew post 5 with jockey Joel Rosario picking up the mount.
“It’s not so much the distance, it’s more [facing] a higher caliber field,” Amoss said. “We think he’s a good horse, but for that to be true, he has to show it on Saturday. That’s the concerns of ours: how he handles the high-level competition, as well as the extra distance.”
Purchased for $225,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale in April and bred by Woodford Thoroughbreds in Kentucky, Long Weekend last breezed on Sunday, going four furlongs in 47.54 seconds over Saratoga’s main track.
Another maiden winner who posted a five-length debut score settling in to Saratoga is Joseph Sutton’s homebred, Noose. The Eddie Kenneally trainee won at six furlongs on June 28 over a fast Churchill track and arrived in New York in good order following a four-furlong work in 47.20 on August 2 at Churchill.
“He overcame some traffic issues and was very professional for a first-time starter,” Kenneally said. “He beat a full field of pretty nice maiden horses. He’s done real well since then and shipped up here just fine. No issues; he’s ready to go.”
A son of More than Ready, Noose seems primed to take on the challenge based on his works, according to his conditioner.
“He had a really good breeze on Friday and worked super to set himself up perfectly for this race on Saturday,” Kenneally said. “Obviously, this is a tougher group of horses we’re going to be running against, but I think he’s an improving horse. He’s already run at six furlongs and won. This being 6 ½ isn’t a huge leap forward. The question is, has he improved enough?
“He’s settled in lovely. We’re real positive. He’s doing great,” he added. “He did all of his training at Churchill for his first start and then he ran there and won, so we figured we’d just continue with that. I’m sure he’ll take to this track just fine, also.”
Corey Lanerie, aboard for that win in Kentucky, will have the return call from post 1.
Zayat Stables’ Zyramid broke his maiden at second asking last out, posting a 2 ¾-length win at 5 ½ furlongs on a fast Saratoga main track on July 13 for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
Zyramid ran third in his first start on June 8 at Churchill before earning a trip to the winner’s circle at the Spa last month. The son of City Zip, bought for $275,000 at the same sale as Noose, will pick up the services of jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr., drawing post 2.
August Dawn Farm’s Tuggle, a first-out winner on June 21 on an off-the-turf five-furlong sprint in the slop at Belmont Park, will look to earn stakes blacktype for trainer Jeremiah Englehart. Purchased for $160,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale, Tuggle will now race for the first time across Union Avenue, drawing post 4 with Luis Saez on the call.
Stronach Stables’ Green Light Go recorded a field-best 84 Beyer Speed Figure for his debut win on July 4 at Belmont, leading gate-to-wire for a 3 ¼-length score. Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, the Hard Spun colt will stretch out from 5 ½ furlongs to the Saratoga Special distance, drawing post 3 with Junior Alvarado getting the return assignment.
Rounding out the field is Iberico, a maiden winner at third asking for trainer Antonio Sano, breaking from post 8 with Tyler Gaffalione in the irons; King Snake, second in his debut on July 13 at Arlington for trainer Jack Sisterson [post 6; Jose Ortiz]; and Peruvian Boy, a maiden winner in his second try on July 13 at Arlington, for trainer Ignacio Correas [post 7, Julien Leparoux].
The Saratoga Special presented by Miller Lite is carded as Race 8 today’s 11-race card.