Saratoga Race Course Weekend Wrap Up – Fourstardave Weekend
Mother nature may have betrayed us, but the racing did not this weekend at Saratoga. Four stakes races gave race fans high expectations heading into it, and the performances of two brilliant juveniles conjured up separate high expectations exiting it, and looking to the future.
In horse racing, a little bit of rain can create a whole lot of chaos. Well, on Friday and Saturday we got a whole lot of rain at the Saratoga Race Course. Off turf and sloppy track racing colored the weekend's opening days, sending handicappers everywhere scrambling to find a live long-shot. Surprisingly, though, the rain brought only a few fortune-makers; prices stayed relatively low, with only four winners paying over twenty dollars.
One such winner was Quick Wit, who captured the weekend's first feature - the Hall of Fame Stakes - in a bob-for-bob stretch duel. In what was likely the most exciting race of the weekend, the Dale Romans trained 10-1 shot fought off the heavy favorite, Csaba, to earn a win that was only clear after close inspection of the photo finish.
Saturday's feature was taken in less hair-raising - yet more convincing and equally impressive - fashion, as John Velazquez celebrated his Hall of Fame induction by bringing Wise Dan through on the rail to take the Fourstardave. Much the way he won this year's Belmont Stakes with Union Rags, Velazquez positioned himself just off the lead and waited patiently for the leader to give him a hole. When such space was afforded him, the man the patrons refer to as Johnny V. effectively tipped his cap and strode through it like a man without a care in the world - cruising to victory.
Still, as impressive as Wise Dan's and Quick Witt's victories were, this weekend was about to become that of the two-year-old, future super stars. Todd Pletcher's Kauai Katie was up first, and if her romping maiden win didn't prove that she could very well be the class of the two-year-old fillies, this Adirondack Stakes was about to. Breaking quickly and posting fractions that almost force you to describe them as reckless, the Rosie Napravnik mount turned back all comers. She never seemed to feel the effects of those absurd early fractions, opening up a comfortable lead and maintaining it to the finish, stamping herself as one to watch come November.
With the glow of Kuaui Katie's fireworks still enveloping the track, Spurious Precision stepped to the starting gate to unleash the shine of his own radiant brilliance over a suspecting Saratoga audience. The odds-on favorite found himself one of three two-year-old colts atop a speed duel with such pace that - having called Kauai Katie's fractions reckless - you'd have to classify as dang near insane. The quarter went in :21, the half in :44, and while - one-by-one - the rest of the field was reduced to little more than the weary victims of unthinkable speed, Spurious Precision pressed on, opening on the field and claiming a spectacular win.
As it so often is at Saratoga, it was a first-rate weekend of racing, but these two dazzling juveniles were certainly the headliners. Their connections will have decisions to make about where next they'll display their awesome ability - but in all likelihood, we've only seen a fraction of what's to come.
Weekday racing resumes on Monday. Follow me on Twitter - by checking out the link below - for live tweeted updates and handicapping advice throughout the week, and be sure to check back at 1045theteam.com for a preview of next weekend's action, including feature race breakdowns and best bets.