Thorough Evaluation: Casa Creed Clinches Victory in Prestigious Fourstardave Handicap
Exemplifying exceptional horsemanship, jockey Luis Saez skillfully piloted the 7-year-old Casa Creed to triumph for the second consecutive year in the prestigious $500,000 Grade I Fourstardave Handicap. The event drew an impressive crowd of 36,760 spectators, all eagerly attending the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifier.
A Pivotal Crossroads: Trainer Bill Mott’s Decision Dilemma
In the aftermath of this remarkable feat, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott is confronted with a weighty decision regarding Casa Creed’s next move. The bay progeny of Jimmy Creed’s stellar performance not only earned accolades but secured an invaluable entry, along with expenses, to the $2 million Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park on November 4. This victory came by edging out Annapolis by three-quarters of a length, a rival previously vanquished in the Spa’s Kelso Stakes a month prior.
Mott’s response, laden with due consideration, underscores the significance of the choice ahead. “Should we venture to the Breeders’ Cup, the Mile presents itself as the logical pursuit,” he opines. Addressing Casa Creed’s training regimen, Mott’s reflections remain judicious. “A period of respite seems warranted. He is an extraordinary equine, truly exceptional. His incremental growth across the years testifies to his caliber. His current form mirrors his zenith.”
Strategically Triumphing: A Repeat of a Winning Formula
Paralleling his prior success, Casa Creed executed a strategy mirroring that of his previous year’s victory. Saez’s adept timing positioned him fourth among a competitive field of seven, a stance sustained through the backstretch. As the final stretch approached and Casa Creed closed the gap on pace-setter Annapolis, Saez invoked acceleration. This strategic execution reaped rewards as Casa Creed surged forth within the last sixteenth of a mile, seizing the lead and triumphing over Annapolis and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. Brazilian-bred Ice Chocolat claimed third, trailing a mere half-length behind.
Under Fourstardave’s handicap conditions, Casa Creed bore a substantial weight of 125 pounds, conceding one pound to Annapolis and seven pounds to Ice Chocolat. Casa Creed covered the distance in 1 minute and 34.20 seconds over the inner turf course, graded as good.
A Storied Journey and Coveted Achievement
Casa Creed’s participation in the Fourstardave marked his 33rd racing appearance, with four of those outings culminating in victory within this very race—now achieved twice. The race garnered Casa Creed a generous purse, an impressive $275,000, payable to LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable. These earnings elevate his career tally to over $2.4 million.
Though entering the Fourstardave as the second betting choice at odds of 9-5, Casa Creed once again validated his prowess. The wagering public favored Annapolis, establishing him as the 6-5 frontrunner. Casa Creed rewarded with returns of $5.70 for the win, $2.70 for placing, and $2.40 for showing. Annapolis yielded payouts of $2.50 and $2.30, while Ice Chocolat’s show price amounted to $3.70.
Strategic Mastery and Celebratory Triumph
In the wake of the race’s conclusion and victory photographs, jockey Luis Saez celebrated a triumphant riding triple for the day. Reflecting on his strategy, Saez expounded, “He initiated a strong start, breaking seamlessly from the gate. Recognizing the caliber of the top contender, Annapolis, I chose a calculated approach to follow his lead. Understanding his preference to maintain some distance from the pace, I allowed Casa Creed to maintain a proximate position. As the stretch materialized, my confidence in securing victory grew.”
Legacy Commemorated: Presentation by Retired Trainer Leo O’Brien
Infusing a touch of nostalgia into the event, the Fourstardave trophy was ceremoniously presented by the retired trainer Leo O’Brien. Notably, O’Brien achieved a remarkable feat, overseeing Fourstardave’s annual victories at Saratoga from 1987 to 1994, thus etching an enduring legacy.
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