SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Rain fell here Wednesday, and there was more expected Friday and maybe Saturday.
That was all trainer Chad Brown needed to keep Takeover Target in New York for Saturday’s $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap rather than shipping him to Chicago for Saturday’s Grade 1 Arlington Million.
Takeover Target was one of 10 horses entered in the Fourstardave, a one-mile turf race that was elevated to Grade 1 status for the first time this year.
Also entered were Grand Arch, the 2015 Fourstardave winner and 2014 runner-up; King Kreesa, the 2013 Fourstardave runner-up; Ring Weekend, Reporting Star, Force the Pass, Tourist, Blacktype, and A Lot. Weekend Hideaway was entered to run only if the race is run on the main track.
Brown had Takeover Target among the horses he was considering for the Arlington Million, but he didn’t ship that horse to Chicago on Tuesday based primarily on the wet forecast in upstate New York.
“There’s a chance of rain here, we don’t have to ship, there will be more pace,” Brown said of his decision to run Takeover Target at Saratoga.
Takeover Target has proven to be a solid horse over good to soft ground. Two starts back, he won the Grade 2 Dixie on “good” turf at Pimlico over Grand Arch. In 2015, he won the Grade 2 Hill Prince over yielding ground.
Takeover Target wore blinkers for the first time in the Dixie, and Brown felt they made a difference. He finished fourth in the Grade 3 Poker in his most recent start, a oneturn-mile race dominated by Obviously.
“The horse is a much better horse with the blinkers on,” Brown said. “It didn’t work out for him last time. It was my fault. I ran him in too sharp a mile race on firm ground in a one-turn race, and it just wasn’t for him.”
Takeover Target drew post 4, one slot outside of stablemate A Lot, who finished second to Takeover Target in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame Stakes here last summer.