Saratoga Weekly Roundup – Fourstardave Weekend
It was a roller-coaster week at Saratoga, but one highlighted by a few unbelievable shows of class.
Time flies when you're having fun, they say.
Does it also fly when you're making it rain cash all over Saratoga? How about when the complexities of horse racing rob the contents of your wallet and beat you about the head with them?
I guess the answer is an individual one, but no matter how fast or slow the time has seemed to go for each of us, the fact remains that we have all seen half of what was afforded us click by - the 20th of 40 days of Saratoga racing coming this past Saturday.
The same day that saw the return of the Horse of the Year.
Indeed, Saturday was about Wise Dan, the Charles LoPresti gelding who was named 2012's best after finishing the year with five wins and a place in six starts - collecting three Grade 1 wins in the process. He was returning to Saratoga to try and defend his Fourstardave title and continue his eight-race winning streak. And though he was challenged by a game King Kreesa, Wise Dan eventually did it with style, shrugging off the 11 extra pounds he was carrying and pulling away in deep stretch for a thrilling victory.
Racing's greatest horse cementing his reputation and furthering his historic legacy on his sport's greatest track. The type of titillating history that only Saratoga can provide.
On Sunday, the focus shifted from the sport's most established competitor to those just looking to announce themselves the best of the next wave in the Grade 2 Adirondack and Saratoga Special - the former for 2-year-old fillies, the latter for 2-year-old males. It was the fillies that got things started on Sunday in what turned out to be both controversial and tragic fashion.
Down the stretch they came with Michael Matz's Who's in Town on top, trying to hold off challenges from long-shot Designer Legs and the overwhelming favorite Fiftyshadesofgold. It was with this second challenger that problems would emerge, as twice in the stretch was the favorite's closing charge up the rail impeded by the leader. On the wire, Who's in Town nipped Designer Legs by a nose, but the Joel Rosario mount was disqualified for having impeded Fiftyshadesofgold. Designer Legs was named the winner with Thank You Marylou taking second. Fiftyshadesofgold, who should likely have won, was third. Who's In Town was placed fourth, with Hop the Six taking fifth.
Unfortunately, these were the only five of the six starters to cross the finish line. Charmed Hour, a John Velazquez mount, broke down on the far turn and was euthanized on the track - the first victim of racing's most tragic occasional byproduct in the meet's then 21 days of action.
And though hardly anyone in the building had the stomach to do it, the day's racing pressed on to the Saratoga Special, and what turned out to be an amazing race - its stretch drive proving far less controversial and infinitely more satisfying as Todd Pletcher's Corfu survived his own brutal pace to best the classy Wired Bryan in the closest of photo finishes. The win erased a curious hole in Pletcher's resume - despite being a dominant 2-year-old trainer, the best in the game had never won the Saratoga Special - and perhaps brought forth a potential Derby horse.
This week is "Filly Week" at The Spa. Wednesday is "Fabulous Filly Day," free admission if you wear pink. And Saturday the best 3-year-old fillies in the world will take center stage in the Grade I Alabama Stakes.
For a full preview of that race, and of the entire weekend of action - including "best bets," "sure things," and other betting advice - check out NoTicketSports.com.
Also, follow me on Twitter @Joe_1045 for more live-updates and handicapping tips from Saratoga.