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Blog - GAMBLING

Wise Dan on his way to winning the 2012 Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park. (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

By Ellis Starr – National Racing Analyst for Equibase

The 29th running of the $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap could belong to Wise Dan, the brilliant 2012 Horse of the Year who goes for his eighth consecutive win. That streak was started in last year's Fourstardave with a five-length win and he has been nothing short of sensational in every start since that race. The biggest competition to Wise Dan could come in the form of speedy King Kreesa, who is on a two-race winning streak, including the Grade 3 Poker Stakes last month. Both wins came at a mile on turf and King Kreesa led from start to finish in each. Za Approval finished second in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile Stakes following back-to-back Grade 3 stakes wins so he has to be considered a factor as well. Skyring won the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes in May but has lost both times he has faced Wise Dan in his career. Likewise, Mr. Commons is 0-for-2 versus the champ, plus he hasn't won since February 2012. Willyconker won the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile but that was back in March 2012, and he enters the Fourstardave off a ninth-place effort. Last but certainly not least is Lea, who finished second to Wise Dan at the end of June in the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap and who is an improving type who could have a say in the outcome.

Wise Dan returned to the races in April following five months off and his strong victory in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile, an effort in which he earned a career-best 123 Equibase Speed Figure. In his 2013 debut, Wise Dan won as if he had not been off those many months, taking the Maker's 46 Mile Stakes before winning the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes and Firecracker Handicap easily for his sixth and seventh wins in a row. Arguably the best miler in North America if not the world at this time, the physical and mental ability he showed in winning those last two races on soggy turf courses and a recent scintillating five-eighths of a mile workout suggest Wise Dan will keep his winning streak alive in the Fourstardave.

Za Approval finished second to the best miler on the West Coast, Obviously, last month in the Shoemaker Mile. Prior to that, Za Approval won both the Appleton and Red Bank Stakes at a mile on grass, earning a career-best 115 Equibase Speed Figure in the Appleton. Therefore, if Za Approval can reach back and repeat those efforts, he has a slight chance to post an upset in this race.

KING KREESA WINNING 2013 POKER STAKES

Fourstardave Inside

Photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese/NYRA

King Kreesa is the most likely early leader in the Fourstardave, as he has been in front from the start in his last three races, winning his last two in rather easy fashion. First taking the Kingston Stakes with a career-best 116 Equibase Speed Figure, King Kreesa cruised to an easy win last month in the Poker Stakes. Although those were Grade 3 races and this is a Grade 1, his ability to get to the front and dictate the tempo could help him run very well once again.

The rest of the Fourstardave field (with their best representative Equibase Speed Figure): Lea (110), Mr. Commons (110), Skyring (111) and Willyconker (109).

My Selections:

Wise Dan

Za Approval

King Kreesa

$500,000 Fourstardave Handicap

Saturday, Saratoga Race Course, Race 10, 5:45 p.m. EDT

3-year-olds and older, one mile (inner turf)

PP

Horse

Jockey

Weight

Trainer

Odds

1

Wise Dan

John Velazquez

129

Charles LoPresti

3-5

2

Skyring

Junior Alvarado

118

D. Wayne Lukas

15-1

3

Za Approval

Jose Lezcano

118

Christophe Clement

8-1

4

Mr. Commons

Edgar Prado

117

John Shirreffs

10-1

5

Willyconker

Jose Ortiz

115

Eric Guillot

30-1

6

King Kreesa

Irad Ortiz Jr.

117

John Englehart

6-1

7

Lea

Joel Rosario

117

Al Stall Jr.

5-1

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

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