June 18, 2024

Raging Bull leads eight in Fourstardave; Asmussen sends Gunite, Red Run to Special

Raging Bull
Raging Bull wins the 2021 Maker's Mark Mile (Photo by Coady Photography)

Fourstardave H. (G1) – Race 10 (6:13 p.m. ET)

Three-time Grade 1 winner Raging Bull will be the one to beat in Saturday’s $500,000 Fourstardave H. (G1) at Saratoga. The six-year-old horse tops a field of eight, including three mares, in the one-mile turf affair, and the Fourstardave will award a berth to the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Del Mar as a “Win & You’re In” race.

Conditioned by Chad Brown, Raging Bull opened this year with a victory in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) at Keeneland and a head second in the June 20 Poker S. (G3) at Belmont Park. The French-bred son of Dark Angel is 2-of-4 on Saratoga’s turf, taking the Hall of Fame S. (G2) and Saranac (G3) in 2018, but the veteran has dropped both previous appearances in the Fourstardave, the best result being a runner-up finish in the 2019 edition.

Irad Ortiz Jr. will be back up on the likely favorite.

Brown has also entered Blowout, who will face males in her first outing since a wire-to-wire victory in the Distaff Turf Mile (G2) on the Kentucky Derby Day undercard. Joel Rosario pilots the frontrunning five-year-old mare.

Casa Creed merits respect for Hall of Famer Bill Mott following a 10-1 upset in the June 5 Jaipur S. (G1) at Belmont Park. The five-year-old has captured two straight stakes, and he’ll be running late with Junior Alvarado. Set Piece, who reeled off three straight turf stakes wins in advance of the Fourstardave, rates as a contender for Brad Cox. Florent Geroux will be in to ride the late-running Grade 2 winner.

Winner of the 2019 edition and second last year, Got Stormy will be back for another running of the Fourstardave. The classy six-year-old mare opened 2021 with a Grade 3 win at Gulfstream, but Got Stormy must improve upon a fifth in the Jaipur most recently. Tyler Gaffalione will be up for Mark Casse.

Completing the lineup are four-time Grade 3 scorer Field Pass, who exits a win in the July 24 Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup (G3); Grade 3 victor Whisper Not, who invades from Southern California for Richard Baltas; and multiple Grade 3-winning mare Daddy Is a Legend, last seen recording a third in the June 5 Just a Game (G1) at Belmont.

Saratoga Special S. (G2) – Race 9 (5:39 p.m. ET)

A pair of colts from the first crop of hot new sire Gun Runner, Gunite and Red Run, are entered in the $200,000 Saratoga Special (G2) one race earlier on the program. Both are trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, and Gunite figure to compete for favoritism following an outstanding maiden triumph at Churchill Downs on June 26.

A total of 12 two-year-olds are set for the 6 1/2-furlong test.

After getting away slowly in his first two starts, Gunite showed high speed against a full field of rivals on the Stephen Foster undercard, winning comfortably by a 1 1/2-length margin. The dark bay adds blinkers and should be rolling from the starting gate with Ricardo Santana Jr.

Red Run, a sharp debut winner at odds-on in mid-May, is eligible to perform better after a troubled trip as the favorite in the June 26 Bashford Manor (G3), checking in fifth following the poor start. Manny Franco takes over the assignment.

Bashford Manor winner Double Thunder is a major player for Todd Pletcher, who will also send out Saratoga debut winner Midnight Worker. John Velazquez retains the mount on Double Thunder, and Irad Ortiz sticks with Midnight Worker.

Other runners of interest include Doctor Jeff, Glacial, High Oak, Nakatomi, and Stolen Base.