How to bet the Fourstardave

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TwinSpires Staff

August 12th, 2016

by Dave Litfin

You'll run into some problems working your way in and around Saturday's Fourstardave Handicap.

As good as the weather was in the Spa City last summer, that's how god awful it's been the past several days, with an overnight monsoon to start the week, followed by 90 degrees and tropical dew points. The weekend outlook is for more of the same, with a good chance for locally heavy downpours Friday and scattered storms becoming more widespread Saturday. Or it might not rain at all.

The race is a hot mess on paper. The BRIS Prime Power ratings have Force the Pass, Tourist, King Kreesa, Ring Weekend and A Lot separated by three points, which is real close.

That's before you factor in Grand Arch, who won the race last year and was beaten a neck the year before. He was reportedly outworked twice on turf recently by Brooklyn Bobby, the Frankel 2-year-old whose Whitney Day debut was a pratfall, but still...

Oh, and besides A Lot, Chad Brown also has Takeover Target in there. With eight stakes wins before the halfway point of the meet - and several instances where he ran one-two - Brown has gone from dangerous to downright ridiculous, with every photo seemingly going the stable's way. Rather than send Takeover Target to Arlington Park, Brown opted to keep him home, a chief reason being the weather. Takeover Target is 3 for 4 on non-firm turf, the defeat a second behind a slow pace. After watching the colt spin his wheels in the Poker on a surface that resembled a billiard table, Brown is doing a rain dance. The way things are going, I am packing an umbrella and hoping to get 4-1.

One more thing: have you seen what has gone on in important Saturday stakes with rank outsiders running amok? First there was Laoban loose at 27-1 in the Jim Dandy and ruining everyone's pick six dreams. Then there was Paola Queen dropping back on the turn yet somehow prevailing at 55-1 in a Test that featured a pace meltdown for the ages. My late pick four play (probably yours too) was alive for all of 82 seconds.

So, tackle the late pick four again, perhaps? I am leery about that 48 hours out. The race looks like a spread, and I still have four fillies open in the Adirondack the race before. And again, there is Mother Nature to deal with, because the sequence begins and ends with races that may or may not be on turf.

Well then, can we bet on a slow pace and see if King Kreesa hangs in there this time, after giving Wise Dan fits in 2013 and getting beat a length last year? For me, that only happens at 6-1 or better, and the presence of Irad Ortiz Jr. may rule that out.

While the Fourstardave is being run as a Grade 1 for the first time, it could've come up tougher had Obviously and/or Tepin run.

That sure would have made for some easier handicapping.