Marcus Hersh: Picks for Fourstardave, Del Mar Oaks, Torrey Pines

By Marcus Hersh, Daily Racing Form on

Published in Horse Racing

Ideally, one would include in a Saturday stakes-selections piece like this a section on the day's biggest race.

But while I'm as curious as anyone where Maximum Security's insane career goes next, I'm not interested in playing him or playing against him in the Pacific Classic.

From what've I've seen on workout video, Maximum Security, moving with more energy, greater purpose in his training, will take a considerable forward step from his uninspiring San Diego showing. Higher Power is the danger. His peak rises meaningfully when he gets out to 1 1/4 miles, but the win odds will lack appeal.

For depth of field, Saturday's best race is the Fourstardave at Saratoga.




Chad Brown has four cards to play. Valid Point has limited credentials. Brown's other three merit serious consideration.

I'm playing against the Brown-trained Uni with full knowledge her top race is the best race among Fourstardave entrants. Uni did look heavy coming into her delayed 2020 comeback run, the Just a Game, which was controlled on the front end by her stablemate Newspaperofrecord. These two have continued working together at Saratoga, with Newspaperofrecord's rider jamming his feet into the dashboard to keep his mount from running away. That alone doesn't indict Uni's chances, but this is a 6-year-old who hit a level for several races at age 5 she'd never approached. Her chances of getting back to that rare air are lower than 50-50, and she won't get the strong pace that enhances her run.

Tracking Brown stable jockey moves can knot your brain, but Joel Rosario winds up on Raging Bull, leaving Uni, his Breeders' Cup Mile winner. Raging Bull's Shoemaker score, deeply pace- and trip-aided, was overrated. Raging Bull wasn't really a different, better horse that day, and he showed it with a third-place finish at 6-5 in the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland.

Now, Raging Bull had an untimely homestretch switch to the wrong lead at Keeneland, and I suspect he disliked that sand-based course many good horses find uncomfortable. But it also looked as though Without Parole enjoyed it even less. He traveled through the Maker's Mark Mile nothing like the horse we saw over a tighter course in the BC Mile and in the Shoemaker. There, as Raging Bull stormed to the front, Without Parole was blocked on the rail, nowhere to run until inside the final half-furlong, a ridiculously bad trip already sufficiently documented. He, too, switched to the wrong lead at Keeneland, and even as he was putting up a fast last quarter, it looked like harder work than it should have been. Without Parole won his major overseas race, the one-turn-mile St. James's Palace Stakes, with a stalking trip that got him first run on the closers. Here's hoping he's ridden like that Saturday in a race where Halladay and Got Stormy are the likely front-runners at a modest tempo.


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