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2023 Fourstardave Contenders at Saratoga

Fourstardave offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile

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.

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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. – US Legal and licensed online Saratoga OTB is a great way to bet horse racing at Saratoga Race Course in New York. Available to customers across the United States, OTB features both Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing from major racing venues in the US as well as top international racing from Europe, Italy, Japan, Australia and Hong Kong.

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