2023 Fourstardave Contenders at Saratoga

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NYRA Press Release
Updated: August 10, 2023

Fourstardave offers a "Win and You're In" berth to the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile

Casa Creed (LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stables) will take on a pair of multiple graded stakes winners in Annapolis and Emmanuel as he attempts to protect his title in the 39th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap going one mile over the Saratoga Race Course inner turf on Saturday, August 12.

The Fourstardave is a "Win And You're In" qualifier, offering an automatic entry into the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile in November at Santa Anita Park.

The Fourstardave is carded as Race 9 on Saturday's 11-race program, which also includes the $150,000 Galway in Race 7 and the Grade 2, $200,000 Herb Moelis Saratoga Special Stakes in Race 8. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.

2023 Fourstardave Field & Odds

Race 9 at Saratoga

Saturday, August 12 - Post 5:44 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Emmanuel 3-1 Jose Ortiz
121 Lbs
Todd Pletcher
2 Full Screen 30-1 Manuel Franco
115 Lbs
Mark Casse
3 My Sea Cottage (IRE) 30-1 Dylan Davis
114 Lbs
Mark Casse
4 Annapolis 8-5 Irad Ortiz, Jr.
124 Lbs
Todd Pletcher
5 So High (GB) 20-1 Ruben Silvera
116 Lbs
Naipaul Chatterpaul
6 Casa Creed 7-5 Luis Saez
125 Lbs
William Mott
7 Ice Chocolat (BRZ) 8-1 Joel Rosario
118 Lbs
Mark Casse

Casa Creed, who sports field-high earnings of $2,185,308, boasts a 5-3-0-2 record over the Spa turf. The 7-year-old Jimmy Creed bay's winning form at Saratoga includes triumphs in the 2019 Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame as well as the Grade 3 Kelso last out on July 15, where he raced to the outside of Annapolis down the backstretch before launching his bid around the far turn en route to a one-length victory. In last year's Fourstardave, Casa Creed bested eventual Champion Female Turf Horse Regal Glory by 1 1/2 lengths after finishing third in the prior two runnings.

A win in the Fourstardave would give Casa Creed a pair of dual victories in a Grade 1 on the NYRA circuit. He captured back-to-back editions of the Grade 1 Jaipur going six furlongs at Belmont Park in 2021-22 before finishing third to reigning Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner Caravel in this year's renewal on June 10.

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said Casa Creed, who finished a close second in the Group 3 1351 Turf Sprint in February at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Saudi Arabia, continues to train with vigor.

"He hasn't missed any days. He's been to the track, he's had a couple of nice works. We're just hoping for good weather," Mott said. "He's one of those horses that really takes good care of himself. He's just in a good cycle. I guess he likes this time of year."

Bred in Kentucky by Silver Springs Stud, Casa Creed was a $105,000 purchase at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He is out of the unraced Bellamy Road mare Achalaya, whose New York-bred yearling filly by Authentic sold for $725,000 to Live Oak Plantation at Day 2 of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale.

Luis Saez will pilot Casa Creed, who will carry 125 pounds, from post 6.

Bass Racing's Kentucky homebred Annapolis will attempt to turn the tables on Casa Creed as one of two Fourstardave aspirants for Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher.

The 4-year-old son of War Front raced to the inside of Casa Creed and fanned 4-to-5 wide around the far turn but could not reel in the winner in deep stretch. He entered the Kelso from a triumphant seasonal debut when defeating stakes-winner Churchtown by a head in the May 4 Opening Verse at Churchill Downs.

Annapolis enjoyed a prosperous sophomore campaign, which included a victory against elders in the Grade 1 Coolmore Turf Mile in October at Keeneland, defeating Grade 1 winner Ivar and 2020 Breeders' Cup Mile winner Order of Australia. He won the Grade 3 Saranac prior to the Coolmore Turf Mile and was second to multiple Grade/Group 1 winner Nations Pride in last year's Grade 1 Saratoga Derby Invitational.

Pletcher expressed hope that Annapolis can work out a more favorable trip when attempting his second Grade 1 conquest.

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"We just didn't get away great. We got bottled up in the first turn and Casa Creed got the jump on us," Pletcher said. "We were able to get to him late. This time, we'd like to get free a little bit sooner."

Annapolis is full-brother to stakes-placed Nevisian Sunrise and is out of the Grade 1-placed dual surface star My Miss Sophia, whose half-brother Materiality won the Grade 1 Florida Derby in 2015.

Pletcher will also saddle WinStar Farm and Siena Farm's Emmanuel, who enters from two month's rest after winning the Grade 3 Poker on June 10 at Belmont Park and earned a career-high 100 Beyer Speed Figure. The dual surface winning son of More Than Ready was previously a close third in the Grade 3 Dinner Party on May 21 at Pimlico Race Course.

The bay colt sports a consistent 5-3-0-1 record this season, which kicked off with victories in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay in February and the Grade 3 Canadian Turf in March at Gulfstream Park. His only off-the-board effort this year took place when a distant seventh in the Grade 1 Marker's Mark Mile in April at Keeneland.

"He's doing well. We ran him back in three weeks following the Pimlico race, so we wanted to give him a little freshening for this race," Pletcher said. "He's pretty versatile in his running style so we'll see how the field shapes up."

Emmanuel initially contested dirt, winning his first two career starts and finishing third in the Grade 1 Blue Grass last April at Keeneland behind Zandon and Smile Happy before capturing his turf debut in last year's Grade 2 Pennine Ridge at Belmont Park.

Emmanuel, a $350,000 purchase at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, is out of the unraced Hard Spun mare Hard Cloth - a half-sister to multiple Group 1 winner Hawkbill and Free Drop Billy, a Grade 1 winner on dirt.

Current meet leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. will pilot Annapolis [124 pounds] from post 4, while Emmanuel [121 pounds] will leave from post 1 in rein to Jose Ortiz.

Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse captured nonconsecutive runnings of the Fourstardave with multiple Grade 1-winning distaffer Got Stormy [2019, 2021] and will saddle three contenders for this year's running.

Gary Barber, Adam Wachtel and Peter Deutsch's Ice Chocolat [post 7, Joel Rosario, 118 pounds] brags the most graded stakes form of the Casse bunch and enters from a fourth in the Kelso. The Brazilian-bred Goldikovic 5-year-old was a close second in the Grade 3 Jacques Cartier on May 14 over the all-weather surface at Woodbine Racetrack three starts back and was runner-up in the Grade 2 Kennedy Road on November 27 over the same course.

Gary Barber's My Sea Cottage [post 3, Dylan Davis, 114 pounds] will see a boost in class, entering from a local starter allowance score on July 13 going the Fourstardave distance. The Irish-bred Shalaa 5-year-old has yet to contest a graded stake, but has finished no worse than third in his previous seven starts.

Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber's Full Screen [post 2, Manny Franco, 115 pounds] will race with blinkers off in his second start for Casse, arriving from a fifth in a local one-mile allowance optional claimer on July 20. The Ontario-bred Big Screen dark bay won Woodbine's Elgin last August and Lake Ontario in November for his previous conditioner Julie Belhumeur.

Rounding out the field is the Naipaul Chatterpaul owned and trained So High [post 5, Ruben Silvera, 116 pounds], who races with cheek pieces off following a seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 United Nations on July 22 at Monmouth Park.

The Fourstardave honors the "Sultan of Saratoga" who was best known for winning at least one race at the Spa every year from 1987-1994 in a racing career that featured 100 starts. Trained by Leo O'Brien and owned by Richard Bomze and Bernard Connaughton, Fourstardave was a 10-time winner at Saratoga, with five of those races taking place on the turf, including two editions of the West Point and back-to-back editions of his namesake race in 1990-91, which at the time was run as the Grade 3 Daryl's Joy.

Pre-Draw News

Casa Creed Pointing Towards Fourstardave Title Defense

July 16 - 7-year-old multiple Grade 1-winner Casa Creed (LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stables) proved he is still at the top of his game with a one-length score over Grade 1-winner Annapolis in the Grade 3, $175,000 Kelso, at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, July 15.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the Jimmy Creed bay earned his third graded win traveling one-mile over the Spa's inner turf, adding to scores in the 2019 Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame and last year's Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap.

It's fitting that the evergreen Casa Creed will now point to a title defense in the Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap on August 12 which offers a "Win and You're In" berth to the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile in November at Santa Anita Park.

Fourstardave, a New York-bred gelding, won at least one race at each year at Saratoga from 1987-1994, including the 1988 Albany, the 1989 and 1991 West Point Handicap, as well as consecutive runnings of the Grade 3 Daryl's Joy in 1990-91. In 1996, the Daryl's Joy was renamed the Fourstardave to honor the horse that made 21 starts at the Spa.

Casa Creed has made seven starts at Saratoga, dating to his second-out graduation as a 2-year-old in August 2018 in an off-the-turf sprint. He added the Grade 2 Hall of Fame to his ledger as a sophomore and finished third in consecutive runnings of the Fourstardave in 2020-21.

"He's now run six years in a row at Saratoga and won four times," said co-owner Lee Einsidler of LRE Racing. "That's beyond remarkable. He's a horse owner's dream come true. It's hard to imagine you would have a horse at 7-years-old that's still at the top of his game. He's taken us around the world and, honest to God, we're so fortunate to have him in our life. He's like one of the family."

The $105,000 purchase from the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale has banked more than $2.1 million through a record of 32-8-5-5, including consecutive scores in the 2021-22 Grade 1 Jaipur sprinting six-furlongs at Belmont Park. He finished a close second in both the 2022-23 Group 3 1351 Turf Sprint at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Saudi Arabia and was fifth in last year's Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

Einsidler credited trainer Kenny McPeek for selecting Casa Creed as a potential prospect.

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"Kenny said to me, 'I know you want to run in Saratoga, and this one will get you there. He could be either grass or dirt,'" Einsidler recalled. "But you could never imagine you would have this horse on the track for six years. You buy a horse and hope he can get to the races - and some don't even make it to the races. But you can never buy a horse at any price and think they would run over 30 times, make over $2 million and take you around the world a couple of times."

Luis Saez provided Casa Creed with a picture-perfect ride on Saturday, tracking to the outside of 4-5 mutuel favorite Annapolis before making an early move for the lead through the far turn. Casa Creed swooped beyond the pacesetting Big Everest to establish a half-length lead at the stretch call and staved off the bid of Annapolis to stop the clock in a final time of 1:35.51. The victory garnered a 100 Beyer Speed Figure.

Einsidler said much of Casa Creed's success is down to Mott's meticulous horsemanship.

"Bill Mott is special. I was with him early this morning and he puts his hands on every horse in the barn," Einsidler said. "He goes over every horse personally. He's an amazing trainer and a very close friend. He's really managed Casa Creed brilliantly. He gave him a lot of time off after winning the Hall of Fame as a 3-year-old and put him away thinking he'd be even better as an older horse and he came back the next spring and was a monster. We're happy to run him three or four times a year and just take good care of him."

Einsidler said Casa Creed exited his stylish Kelso score in fine fettle and will hopefully be ready for a fourth Fourstardave attempt in one month's time.

"We're going to train him like he's going to be in the race. It comes up maybe a week quicker than we'd like, but if he's ready he'll run," Einsidler said. "He was perfect this morning - looked fabulous and doing great. He's come out of the race in perfect order, and if he's doing good we'll be there in mid-August."

Casa Creed has made three previous Breeders' Cup appearances, finishing off-the-board in both the 2020 Grade 1 Mile at Keeneland and 2021 Grade 1 Mile at Del Mar and ninth in last year's Turf Sprint at Keeneland. With the Grade 1 Turf Sprint being contested at five furlongs this year at Santa Anita, the rugged bay will again point to the Grade 1 Mile as a year-end target.

Whether or not Casa Creed returns as an 8-year-old to race for a seventh straight summer at the Spa remains to be seen as the ownership group has already been approached about potential stud opportunities.

"We've had some inquiries. Not that he couldn't race next year, but we'll see," Einsidler said.

And for those looking to find a potential Casa Creed of their own, it's worth noting that his dam, Achalaya, has a New York-bred filly by Authentic listed as Hip No. 227 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Preferred Yearling Sale slated for August 7-8.

G3 Kelso runner up Annapolis will point to G1 Fourstardave

July 16 - Pletcher saddled Bass Stables' homebred Annapolis to a runner-up finish as the 4-5 favorite in the 2023 Grade 3 Kelso going one mile over Saratoga's inner turf.

The 4-year-old son of War Front broke a touch slow and was not as forwardly placed as planned when racing from sixth down the backstretch to the inside of eventual winner Casa Creed. Approaching the far turn, jockey Luis Saez began to inch Casa Creed away from Annapolis, who swung four wide around the bend in pursuit but could not catch the winner.

"We didn't get to the position we wanted in the first turn," Pletcher said. "We wanted to be laying third behind the five and the six [Big Everest and Filo di Arianna], they looked like the main speed. He tossed his head a touch at the start and got jostled around, so we were sixth in the second pocket instead of the first pocket. Luis [Saez] was on the outside of us and held us in there and got first run at us. I thought he did well once he got clear, but it was a good horse who got the jump start on us."

Pletcher added that the Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap going one mile on August 12 at Saratoga will be a likely next start for Annapolis as well as Emmanuel, who captured the Grade 3 Poker on June 10 at Belmont last out.

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