In a day and age where horses run less and less for a variety of reasons, the sport needs high-profile stars that stick around for a while. In a perfect world, these stars would be easy for fans young, old, diehard, and casual to follow. In other words, racing needs more horses like Fourstardave, who was honored with the 2018 renewal of a Grade 1 race named after him this past weekend.
A number of fellow turf writers compared Fourstardave winner Voodoo Song to the Sultan of Saratoga in the wake of his victory. With all due respect to both the writers and the horse in question, I respectfully disagree with that assessment. There is no horse actively in training that will (or, for that matter, can) do what Fourstardave managed to accomplish during his long career. This week’s edition of “The Dark Day Files,” which will be posted to AndrewChampagne.com Monday, goes into greater detail on Fourstardave’s legacy and why he’s not remembered on a national scale as much as he probably should be.
SUNDAY’S RESULTS: We were washed out of the Pick Four when races were taken off the turf.
MONDAY’S PLAY: My action will revolve around #4 FLOWERS FOR LISA in the seventh. He’s the third choice on the morning line, and I hope it stays that way since he seems like the lone speed. I’ll put $10 on him to win, and I’ll single him in this 50-cent late Pick Four ticket that starts in the sixth and assumes turf races stay there: 2,7,8 with 4 with 2,4,5,7 with 1,4,8,11.
TOTAL WAGERED: $34
Best Bet: Flowers for Lisa, Race 7
Longshot: Fixed Point, Race 1
#1 GRANDMAS FAVORITE: Is one of two Wesley Ward trainees in this race, and I slightly prefer him. He hasn’t run since December, but he was third behind a stakes-quality horse that day, and I think he’s the one to beat if he’s ready; #6 FOOCH: Is the other Ward runner and tries turf for the first time. He’s certainly got plenty of early zip, but he’s not necessarily bred to run well on turf; #3 FIXED POINT: Was claimed last time out by an outfit that doesn’t claim many runners and has been going well at the meet. Luis Saez hops aboard, and we may get a price.
#6 ASIAN’S WAY: Ran well here earlier in the meet in a roughly-run event. She missed second by a neck despite having to check hard in the stretch, and given the win two back, it’s fair to assume she’s in peak form; #7 ANNA RAE: Had won two in a row prior to a misfire last time out, and she was claimed out of that race by Robertino Diodoro. She’s a top contender, although her chances go down in the event of a wet track; WOODLAND ENTRY: I prefer #1A PAULA’S PISTOL, who cuts back in distance and has yet to run a truly bad race this season. Kendrick Carmouche rides her back, and she could be prominent early.
Hit a Provisional
#7 SHANGHAI DREAMS: Rallied to be fourth in her debut, which turned out to be a strong race for the level. She adds Lasix, drops down in class, and doesn’t appear to catch the strongest maiden claiming field; #5 HIT A PROVISIONAL: Rallied strongly to just miss in her debut downstate. That race was contested at a shorter distance, and if that form translates to two turns, she’ll be very tough; #1 GRAND BANKS: Can’t be endorsed on top given her 0 for 20 career mark, but she’s finished second twice in three starts for this barn and figures to be running well late.
Fog of War
#7 HAWAIIAN NOISES: Has worked well ahead of his debut and has the pedigree to be a runner. He’s by Super Saver, out of a mare that’s produced several stakes horses, and runs for owner/breeder/trainer Wesley Ward; #10 SEISMIC JOLT: Hammered for $800,000 earlier this year despite a very modest pedigree, and has worked to the purchase price. I’m not crazy about the post, but he could be talented enough to work out a trip; #5 FOG OF WAR: Has a lot going for him ahead of his debut. He’s a Chad Brown trainee by War Front and out of a Galileo mare, and his second dam is multiple Grade 1 winner Riskaverse. If there’s hesitation here, it’s because he may want more ground.
Party in the Sand
#3 PARTY IN THE SAND: Takes a big drop to run in this maiden claiming event, and that could be enough in a race without much form shown by the other runners. She showed some zip last time out, and this barn’s horses have run well this meet; #2 TEQUILA SUNDAY: Has acquired some bad habits at the gate, and those cost her a runaway win three back. She was fourth at this level last time out, and this barn’s gotten hot of late; #4 LIGHTWORKER: May have bounced last time out after a good effort two back. A return to that form could get her a big piece of this.
#7 LOU’S CHARDONNAY: Was a runaway winner earlier in the meet and was claimed that day by Steve Asmussen. She’s got plenty of early speed, and it helps that Santana has opted to ride her back; #2 ORCHID PARTY: Gets back to her preferred surface and drops down in class after two unsuccessful outings on turf. She won three in a row earlier this year and was third in a restricted stakes race; #8 KAREN’S GEM: Just missed against similar company last time out. A similar effort would give her a shot, and she could sit an ideal trip just behind a fast early pace.
Flowers for Lisa
You’re to Blame
Take Your Guns
#4 FLOWERS FOR LISA: Has found his form of late for trainer Jorge Navarro and could get an ideal setup here. He’s probably the lone true speed horse in this field, and he capitalized on a similar scenario earlier in the meet; #2 YOU’RE TO BLAME: Has been running against stakes foes most of the year and drops down in class for this event. His best race puts him right there, but the recent running lines haven’t aged well; #5 TAKE YOUR GUNS: Was beaten just three lengths in the Grade 2 Brooklyn two back before not threatening Diversify in the Grade 2 Suburban. This is a more appropriate spot, though he may need more pace than he’s likely to get.
My Roxy Girl
Out of Orbit
Take Charge Aubrey
#5 MY ROXY GIRL: Gets my tepid top pick in a very confusing race. She’s finished second five times in a row, but is a play for me here given the likely race shape, which could favor her late kick; #4 OUT OF ORBIT: Ran third against what seems like a much better group here last time out. Her win two back was good, and it seems like she may have figured things out; #7 TAKE CHARGE AUBREY: Tried stakes company at Finger Lakes last time out, and those waters proved too deep. She cuts back in distance, gets Jose Ortiz, and will likely get plenty of support at the windows.
Cause I’m Alex (MTO)
#11 MOBRIDGE: Generally runs the same race every time out and was claimed by Danny Gargan, who does great work with new acquisitions. He’s run very well here in the past and beat similar company here a season ago; #8 VINCENTO: Has improved since switching to turf and beat my top pick last time out. Two turns on turf is a question mark, but he did win going two turns on dirt last winter at Aqueduct; IMPERIO ENTRY: #1A PECULIAR SENSATION seems like the main speed in here, but don’t sleep on #1 BRIMSTONE, who returns to turf and gets Luis Saez. DIRT SELECTIONS: CAUSE I’M ALEX, IMPERIO ENTRY, CHARMING INDY.