Weekend Stakes Preview 8/6

Fourstardave tops Saratoga Saturday 

Saratoga Race Course is smack dab in the middle of the season and this Saturday’s feature event is the $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap on the grass.  The Grade 2 event drew just six runners including Grade 1 winner Silver Max whose been assigned the high weight of 122 pounds.  Silver Max is coming into the Fourstardave off a win in the Grade 2 Firecracker at Churchill Downs.  Silver Max is a front runner who always is at his best when on the early lead, so the presence of Sayaad could be a big thorn in his side.  Sayaad is another horse who has been showing sub 23 second speed in his opening quarters lately and who can get the lead will have a huge impact on who is around at the finish.  If Silver Max and Sayaad go at it hard early on it could be Seek Again who picks up the pieces.  The Grade 1 winner as a three year old has ran two very strong efforts so far in 2014, finishing 2nd in the Woodford Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, just a head behind Wise Dan, and third behind Real Solution in the Manhattan.  Joel Rosario will be on board for trainer Bill Mott and it will be the first career start at Saratoga for Seek Again.

Jack Milton is a deep closer who always puts in a late rally.  He was fifth last time in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile behind front-running winner Obviously.  Javier Castellano will once again be on board and if the pace completely falls apart Jack Milton could have a big say in the final yards.

BetPTC.com Selections for the FourstarDave

  1. Seek Again
  2. Jack Milton
  3. Silver Max

Longshot: Grand Arch

La Jolla Handicap is Del Mar Saturday feature 

The Grade 3 La Jolla Stakes is the second in the Del Mar Derby Series and offers up a $150,000 purse.  Enterprising turned in a flashy closing effort to take home the Oceanside Stakes last time out and will certainly be a big contender in here.  He had to pass ten rivals in the Oceanside going from last to first, but with the small field of six, whether or not he’ll get the same pace to run into could be the question.  That being said, Enterprising has been close up to the pace in most of his career starts, so his versatile style should be helpful.  The horse that Enterprising caught late in the Oceanside was Argyle Cut who was second that day and is back to contest the La Jolla.  Argyle Cut was roused to the lead late in the stretch after rallying from mid-pack, but he just couldn’t outkick Enterprising late.  Schoolofhardrocks ships back to Southern California after a rather decent fourth in the American Derby as the favorite.  Prior to that Schoolofhardrocks had just two starts over the grass, a win and a second, both at Santa Anita.

An intriguing addition to the race could be Tonito M. who will be making his turf debut in the La Jolla.  He was a Group 3 winner in Puerto Rico and has come to the States and ran three times over the dirt, all against graded stakes company.  Last time out he was third behind Shared Belief and Candy Boy, both of whom are serious runners.

BetPTC.com Selections for the La Jolla

  1. Enterprising
  2. Tonito M.
  3. Argyle Cut

Longshot: Sammy Mandeville

The Gardenia Stakes is Ellis Park’s signature event

Ellis Park in Kentucky will offer up the biggest race of the season on Saturday as the annual Gardenia Stakes will be contested.  The Grade 3 event is run at a mile over the main track at Ellis and has drawn a nice field of nine runners.  Molly Morgan drew the inside and has been made the 3/1 morning line favorite in the Gardenia.  The race itself starts in a chute and they run straight onto the clubhouse turn, so she’ll be able to save ground right from the minute they spring the latch.  She’s a Grade 2 winner already and is coming off a dull effort in the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap.  She certainly won’t be seeing any Princess of Sylmar’s in this spot though.  Quiet Success could be a player as she ships into Ellis Park for the first time.  Quiet Success is coming off two of her best career efforts.  She missed by a neck in the $200,000 Sugar Maple at Charles Town and two back and most recently finished second in the $100,000 Iowa Distaff at Prairie Meadows.  Quiet Success does like to be on or near the lead, so if she’s able to get up front and relax she could be tough.  Livi Makenzie also has early speed but as of late she’s been struggling greatly to keep pace later in her races.  Her last win was over a year ago and will have to find more late.  A possible price play could be Tapit’s World who is coming off two terrible turf efforts.  Prior to that, she had been racing on the dirt and ran two races at Oaklawn Park that would make her a contender in this spot.

BetPTC.com Selections for the Gardenia Stakes

  1. Tapit’s World
  2. Molly Morgan
  3. Quiet Success

Longshot: Interest Free

Pair of undefeated two year olds square off in the Ontario Debutante

Unhindered and Starless Night will both put their undefeated careers on the line on Saturday as they face four other rivals in the $125,000 Ontario Debutante Stakes.  Both horses are two for two and both have a stakes win on their ledger.  Both have also been on the lead at all points in their races, so who gets the early advantage could play a big role in who gets the win.  Starless Night put up a 21 and 4 opening quarter mile in the Shady Well Stakes last time out which might give her the early speed advantage.  She’s drawn in the six hole here for the Ontario Debutante, just one spot outside of Unhindered. Unhindered had a three and a half length lead in mid-stretch of the five furlong My Dear Lady Stakes last time out but only held on to win by three quarters of a length over Sweet Dreams.  Sweet Dreams was second throughout the My Dear Lady and was gathering up momentum late, so the additional furlong could be very advantageous to her.

BetPTC.com Selections for the Ontario Debutante

  1. Starless Night
  2. Sweet Dreams
  3. Unhindered

Longshot: Happy To Go

Saturday Stakes Action at BetPTC.com


Race 2                  Cool Caravan Stakes                           8:04pm EST

Race 6                  Careless Navigator Stakes                    10:00pm EST

Race 7                  Minnesota Oaks Stakes                       10:28pm EST

Race 8                  Minnesota Derby Stakes                     10:56pm EST

Charles Town

Race 8                     Robert Leavitt Memorial                      10:11pm EST

Del Mar

Race 5                      La Jolla Handicap                               7:00pm EST

Ellis Park

Race 8                     Gardenia Handicap                             5:10pm EST

Emerald Downs

Race 8                      Washington Oaks                              8:54pm EST

Finger Lakes

Race 7                      Niagara Stakes                                  4:20pm EST


Race 4                  Desert Vixen Stakes                              2:49pm EST

Race 10                  Dr. Fager Stakes                                6:02pm EST

Indiana Grand

Race 9                  Bob Woodward Memorial Final             8:49pm EST


Race 11                  Monmouth Oaks                                6:10pm EST


Race 7                  Two Year old sales Stakes                     5:48pm EST

Race 8                  Two Year old Filly Sales Stakes            6:16pm EST

Prairie Meadows

Race 9                     Prairie Meadows Juvenile Mile               11:03pm EST

Santa Rosa

Race 9                      Jess Jackson Owners Handicap            8:15pm EST


Race 10                   Fourstardave Handicap                          6:10pm EST


Race 8                  Ontario Debutante                                     4:27pm EST

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