Won last year by eventual turf male champion World Approval, Saturday’s $500,000 Fourstardave H. (G1) at Saratoga features several Eclipse Award aspirants in the one-mile inner turf fixture, most notably Heart to Heart and Yoshida.
After a prolonged drought in Grade 1 company, the seven-year-old Heart to Heart finally broke through at top level when taking the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) back in February. He promptly followed up with a more decisive win in the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland, but was out-gained late by Hunt in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita when last seen in May.
Like a couple others in the Fourstardave field, Heart to Heart owns a perfect record on the turf at Saratoga, including a victory last summer in the Bernard Baruch H. (G2). To maintain that mark, the speedy son of English Channel will in the early stages likely have to overcome Voodoo Song, who is four-for-four on the Saratoga lawn and took the $150,000 Forbidden Apple at Belmont last time in blistering 1:31 3/5 for one mile.
The pace scenario might be more favorable for Yoshida, who kicked off his four-year-old campaign with a victory in the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day following a seven-month layoff. He handled the testing conditions well, defeating Beach Patrol by three-quarters of a length. Last time, the Bill Mott trainee ran a solid fifth over a straight mile in the Queen Anne (G1) on opening day of Royal Ascot.
Third to Heart to Heart in the Bernard Baruch last year was Delta Prince, who went to the sidelines afterward and finally reappeared in the June 30 King Edward (G2) at Woodbine. Fourth early, the lightly-raced five-year-old stormed home late to win by 1 3/4 lengths around a one-turn mile.
Made You Look, who landed the With Anticipation (G2) at Saratoga in 2016, won an allowance and finished second to Oscar Performance in the Poker (G3) in two starts thus far since joining the Chad Brown barn. Multiple Grade 1 winner Divisidero was re-routed here from the Arlington Million (G1), also on Saturday. He most recently registered a narrow victory in the Arlington H. (G3) over 1 3/16 miles.
Postponed from last week due to wet weather, the $100,000 Lure at 1 1/16 miles on the turf attracted a field of eight, plus two main-track-only entries.
Restricted to non-winners of a graded stakes this year, the field includes graded veterans Projected, Mr Cub, Blacktype, Inspector Lynley, Conquest Panthera, and Forge. Zennor, meanwhile, has not run since taking last year’s edition by a length over Projected.