Grand Arch (No. 2) holds off Ironicus in the 2015 Fourstardave Handicap
Jim and Susan Hill’s millionaire Grand Arch will take on a salty field of turf specialists as he looks to defend his title on Saturday in the 32nd running of the Grade 1, $ 500,000 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.
Grand Arch has shown a penchant for the Saratoga grass in the last two editions of the one-mile Fourstardave, which has been awarded Grade 1 status for the first time this year.
The Brian Lynch trainee turned in a close runner-up effort in his Spa unveiling, finishing a neck behind Seek Again in 2014. Last summer, Grand Arch turned the tables on his rivals with a neck victory over Ironicus and launched into a successful fall campaign that also included a win in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland and a gutsy third-place finish to Tepin in the Breeders’ Cup Mile to close out his 6-year-old season.
“He’s never run bad at Saratoga so we’re hoping he gives us a repeat performance,” Lynch said “There’s the old saying ‘horses for courses’ and it seems like he likes this one.”
Returning as a 7-year-old, Grand Arch finished third in a blanket finish behind Takeover Target and Ring Weekend in the Grade 2 Dixie at Pimlico Race Course on May 21 before checking in a dull sixth in his most recent race, the Grade 3 Poker on June 18 at Belmont Park.
“I gave him a little bit of a freshener off that race because it wasn’t one of his better performances,” said Lynch. “But he’s never really run good in those one-turn mile races at Belmont. We gave him a little bit of time and hopefully we’ve got him back on the right track. He seems like he’s in good order going into Saturday.”
Grand Arch, who boasts a 7-6-8 record from 26 starts and earnings of over $ 1.8 million, has drawn post 5 and will be ridden by regular jockey Luis Saez.
Chad Brown will be represented by stakes winners Takeover Target and A Lot as he pursues his first training victory in the Fourstardave.
Dixie winner Takeover Target, who took last year’s Grade 2 Hall of Fame by a half-length over A Lot, will look to rebound from his fourth-place finish in the Poker last time out. Manny Franco picks up the mount aboard Takeover Target, who will break from post 4.
A Lot won the Elusive Quality in April, his first start since transferring to the Brown barn this spring. The 4-year-old Tapit colt will be ridden for the first time by Javier Castellano from post 3.
Trainer Christophe Clement will send Blacktype, who picked up his first stakes win in the Grade 3 Oceanport on July 31, for Jump Sucker Stable. The French-bred Dunkerque gelding will leave from post 2 with Junior Alvarado in the irons.
Tourist will be seeking his first win of the year for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. The 5-year-old son of Tiznow most recently finished a half-length behind Midnight Storm in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on June 4 at Santa Anita to earn a field-high 109 Beyer Speed Figure. Joel Rosario will be the irons; the pair will leave from post 6.
Rounding out the field for the Fourstardave are Reporting Star, who will break from the rail with Kendrick Camouche for Merribelle Stable and trainer Elizabeth Voss; fan favorite New York-bred King Kreesa, ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. from post 7 for David Donk; Colts Neck Stable’s 2015 Belmont Derby winner Force the Pass, who has hit the board in all 11 of his career starts and will depart from post 9 with Jose Ortiz aboard for the Alan Goldberg barn; and Graham Motion-trained Ring Weekend, set to make his second start of the year with Hall of Famer John Velazquez from the outside post.
Weekend Hideaway is entered for the main track only.
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