Silver Max (red cap): favourite to land the Grade 2 Fourstardave
PICTURE: Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos
Preview: USA, Saturday 11.10pm BST (live on ATR)
Saratoga: Fourstardave Hcap (Grade 2) 1m, turf, 3yo+
GIVEN that so many weak turf races are allowed to carry Grade 1 status in North America, it is something of a mystery that the Fourstardave, named in honour of a Saratoga legend, remains a step below the top level.
Fourstardave was nicknamed the ‘Sultan of Saratoga’ after winning at least one race each year at America’s most beloved venue from 1987 to 1994. Not only does the race offer a major-league purse of $500,000, but it has been won for the last two years by none other than Wise Dan, who misses out this time as he recovers from his colic episode earlier this summer.
Yet even without the dual Horse of the Year, who is now back in training, the field contains at least a couple of the better US turfers, headed by prolific winner Silver Max (Dale Romans/Robby Albarado).
The five-year-old, who shoulders top-weight, remains the last horse to beat Wise Dan, albeit in a Shadwell Turf Mile that was moved to a sloppy all-weather track at Keeneland last year. Silver Max won the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch here a year ago on yielding turf; he comes in off yet another Grade 2 win in the Firecracker at Churchill Downs last month.
“He’s going to the front like he always does,” said trainer Dale Romans. “If someone can run by him, I want to buy him. He’s got himself in peak form. Mother Nature made a fast horse with stamina.”
Habitual front-runner Silver Max breaks from the rail in a field also featuring Hollywood Derby winner Seek Again (Bill Mott/Joel Rosario). Trained by John Gosden before making the regular Juddmonte transatlantic transfer, he was just a head behind Wise Dan in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic in May.
Shadwell’s Sayaad (Kiaran McLaughlin/Irad Ortiz) is on a four-timer after completing a hat-trick in much lesser grade.
Ladbrokes: 6-4 Silver Max, 5-2 Seek Again, 4 Jack Milton, 6 Sayaad, 12 Grand Arch, 33 Dorsett
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