Taking a Shot Against Wise Dan in the Fourstardave

Saturday, Saratoga, Race 10, 5:45 PM EDT

The Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap, One Mile, Three-Year Olds And Up, Inner Turf

If this race were not being run under handicap conditions, we’d concede it to Wise Dan (3-5 morning line). He’s simply open-lengths better than the rest of this group. However, 129 pounds is a lofty impost, and he must concede double-digit weight spreads all around. Devotees of weight adjustments will tell you that he’s giving away a three-to-four-length handicap to his competition in the Fourstardave.

Screen Shot Wise Dan

We believe two horses who project for ground-saving, covered-up trips have a chance to upset Wise Dan if the weight concession is really as big a factor as we hope. Za Approval (8-1) exploded to a career-best 118 TimeformUS speed figure when he was second in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park.

Screen Shot Za Approval

The other horse who might present a challenge to Wise Dan is Mr. Commons (10-1). For a short time, Mr. Commons was regarded as the best miler in Southern California. He hasn’t been disgraced in two recent outings against Wise Dan, being defeated by three lengths on both occasions. Mr. Commons was the victim of a wide trip and ran a “better than looked” performance in his most recent race. He gets a 12-pound break in weights and projects for a covered-up trip.

Screen Shot Mr. Commons

The speed horses will target Wise Dan, and they will try to race-ride him just as they did last time. Look for John Velazquez to maneuver Wise Dan off the rail and possibly use up a little energy to get an outside stalking position. If Wise Dan gets beat, it will probably be by a rival that gets a perfect trip in behind him and makes good of the handicap. Still, it’s hard to imagine Wise Dan finishing any worse than second.

Betting strategy: Exacta Key: Za Approval and Mr. Commons on top of Wise Dan.

Free Fourstardave Handicap Past Performances at TimeformUS.com

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2 Responses to Taking a Shot Against Wise Dan in the Fourstardave

  1. Figless says:

    This is a tough race for a serious gambler to play, with a totally legit short priced favorite who, despite the handicap, towers over the rest. However, Saratoga has earned its moniker “The Graveyard of Champions”, Wise Dan certainly is all that, and this is the best argument I can make for playing against him.

    Lopresti claims to be concerned with King Kresa getting loose on the lead, but barring a late scratch of Skyring this appears to be unlikely. These two should provide honest fractions over what should be a tiring surface (labeled GOOD this morning but it took a lot of rain) with Dan sitting the trip just behind and getting the jump. But being concerned with the frontrunners perhaps Dan will move a tad too soon and one of the others will come running as imagined above? If so, who?

    For all the reasons described above Za Approval and Mr. Commons are my next two choices, however both appear questionable on non-firm turf, in particular ZA as pointed out by his trainer.

    So I have landed on Lea 3rd off the layoff. Lightly raced 4yo has room for improvement third off the layoff, rider change to Rosario a plus and his 2-2 record at Spa doesn’t hurt his chances.

    Will play $3 EX box, a $2 TRI box with Dan and Mr. C, and a $2 TRI key with DAN over those three. Investing $30 just to have a rooting interesting in what will logically be a chalky outcome.

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  2. Ev says:

    I normally don’t read write ups but enjoy your insights as we land on some of the same value horses. But for an extra 2 bets u must have a 3,4 ebx going.
    Agree about Mr. Commons but my other is Skyring. First bet i make is a 2,4 ebx…
    Good Luck and keep up the great work!

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