Grand Arch (No. 2) holds off Ironicus in the Fourstardave Handicap
After a couple of grass workouts in company with heralded newcomer Brooklyn Bobby in July, Grand Arch went to the main track for a six-furlong workout Thursday.
Gearing up for a defense of his title in next Saturday’s $ 500,000 Fourstardave Handicap, the durable 7-year-old gelding turned in a bullet move in 1:14.55 seconds, the fastest of four at the distance.
“We lost a bit of time with him with the rain we had,” said trainer Brian Lynch. “He went a nice three-quarters on the dirt, got the work into him that we needed, and his energy level is very good.”
A horse for the course, Grand Arch finished a close second in the 2014 edition of the Fourstardave at odds of 11-1, and returned to prevail in a blanket finish last year at 8-1. He finished off a terrific season by winning the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile and running third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
The one-mile Fourstardave has been upgraded to Grade 1 status this year.
“We’re like a heavyweight fighter defending his title,” quipped Lynch. “You’ve got to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee in the Fourstardave.”
Ring Weekend, who ran a remarkable second in the Dixie after being sidelined for over a year by foot issues, breezed six furlongs on the Tapeta surface at Fair Hill on Friday, going the distance in 1:14.60 in company with Messi, winner of last year’s Grade 3 Knickerbocker Stakes at Belmont Park.
The 5-year-old gelding remains on target for the Fourstardave, reported trainer Graham Motion.
“He worked three-quarters with Messi and I was very happy with him,” said Motion, who was thrilled that Ring Weekend nearly won the Dixie despite being carried wide early by Grand Arch.
Due to a foot abscess, the Dixie marked Ring Weekend’s first appearance since winning the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile in March 2015.
Ring Weekend, who has earned over $ 1.1 million, will remain in Maryland until later next week.
“That’s the plan,” said Motion. “We probably won’t bring him until after we enter.”
Entries for the Fourstardave will be taken Wednesday.
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