Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga drew an interesting field with three Grade 1 winners and three others who have put forth performances worthy of winning such an event.
Heart to Heart, Divisidero, and Yoshida are all Grade 1 winners, with Heart to Heart having done so twice at the Fourstardave distance of a mile. But the recent efforts of Delta Prince, Voodoo Song, and Made You Look – all at a mile – put them right in the mix of this race that helped start World Approval’s run to an Eclipse Award as champion male turf horse last year.
Delta Prince, a 5-year-old son of Street Cry trained by Jimmy Jerkens for Frank Stronach, may be primed for a breakthrough performance in the Fourstardave. He came off a near 10-month layoff to win the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes at Woodbine, where he ran a mile in 1:32.35. He is 4 for 5 at a mile, with a half-length loss in the Grade 3 Appleton in April 2017.
“He had trained really well, he’s very willing training-wise,” Jerkens said. “He’s one of those naturally athletic horses. If anyone could do it off a long layoff it would be him.”
The question is, can Delta Prince do it again? His most recent workout, a half-mile move in 47.01 seconds on Monday, suggests he can.
“The work before on the turf was a little slow,” Jerkens said. “I didn’t want a killer work, and the rider overcompensated early in the work then he finished nicely. That’s why we came back and did a little more with him. He’s carrying a little more flesh than he did last year.”
Jerkens said his biggest concern is the condition of the course. Last year, in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch run over a yielding turf, he was beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Heart to Heart.
“He didn’t accelerate like he does when it’s firm,” Jerkens said. “He tried anyway because he’s got so much guts.”
Heart to Heart, a 13-time stakes winner who is just shy of $2 million in earnings, should be the favorite in the Fourstardave. After a seventh-place finish in the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale to begin his 7-year-old season, he won the Gulfstream Park Turf and the Maker’s 46 Mile – both Grade 1 stakes – before getting beat a neck by Hunt in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita.
“The horses he’s beat, the way he’s done it, he just seems like he’s come to himself at this stage,” trainer Brian Lynch said.
Heart to Heart, the 124-pound highweight under Julien Leparoux, figures to be stalking Voodoo Song early in the Fourstardave.
Voodoo Song, who went 4 for 4 at Saratoga last summer, is coming off a victory in the Forbidden Apple Stakes at Belmont, where he ran a mile in 1:31.67.
“At Belmont this summer we were dealing with a lot of track records and firm courses, and I think he definitely liked that,” trainer Linda Rice said. “I guess my only concern is the weather and soft turf.”
Yoshida is a two-time Grade 1 winner at 1 1/8 miles. He is coming off a 1 1/4-length loss when fifth in the Group 1 Queen Anne at Royal Ascot in June.
“At the furlong marker he tipped to the left, actually got head and head for the lead, then they started the incline, and there were just a couple of horses that were just a little stronger than him,” trainer Bill Mott said.
Divisidero, also a two-time Grade 1 winner at 1 1/8 miles, is coming off a half-length victory in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap at 1 3/16 miles. Made You Look, trained by Chad Brown, was second in the Grade 3 Poker to Oscar Performance.
The Fourstardave goes as race 8 on an 11-race card that includes the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes for 2-year-old fillies and the $100,000 Lure Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, a race that was canceled last Saturday and rescheduled.
Delta Prince, by Street Cry
Last 3 Beyers: 101-99-98
◗ Is 4 for 6 on turf, with all four wins at a mile.
◗ Didn’t care for the yielding turf when third to Heart to Heart in the Bernard Baruch.
◗ Comes off a course-record performance winning the King Edward in 1:32.35 off a lengthy layoff.
Heart to Heart, by English Channel
Last 3 Beyers: 104-105-103
◗ May be in career-best form, having won two Grade 1’s and losing another by a neck in his last three starts.
◗ Has learned to rate, a style that would suit him well with Voodoo Song in this field.
◗ Is 2 for 2 at Saratoga.
Yoshida, by Heart’s Cry
Last 3 Beyers: NA-106-96
◗ Came off an extended layoff to beat a good field in Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Derby Day.
◗ Goes back on Lasix after racing well without it in England in the Group 1 Queen Anne.
Voodoo Song, by English Channel
Last 3 Beyers: 102-100-98
◗ Went 4 for 4 over the Saratoga turf last summer.
◗ Will likely try to take this field gate to wire under Jose Lezcano, aboard for all those wins last year.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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