Linda Rice stood alone on the clubhouse stairs and took a deep breath. With a raincoat draped over her left forearm and her papers pinned to her chest, Rice breathed that great sigh of elation and relief, the one that only a horse trainer at Saratoga knows.
“I was just thrilled. You know?” Rice said. “We’ve had a bit of a trying meet trying to get these turf horses to perform on this soft ground, so I’m just thrilled that at least someone liked it.”
Voodoo Song loved it, somehow scampering over taxing ground to win the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap for owner/breeder Barry Schwartz. The son of English Channel led every step over the good turf to stave off Delta Prince by a neck. Jose Lezcano guided the 4-year-old to win the mile turf stakes in 1:35.96.
Last year Voodoo Song won four races, including the Grade 3 Saranac, at Saratoga. A year later, he became a Grade 1 winner in likely his only start at Saratoga.
“This is when one equals four,” Schwartz said.
“Running four times at Saratoga…but winning four times at Saratoga, it was really special,” Rice said. “How do you improve on that? Well, I guess you win the Fourstardave.”
Voodoo Song broke sharply from post 5 in the field of six and for a moment matched strides with the only other speed horse, Heart To Heart, to his inside. Lezcano, definitive as a gavel, made sure Julien Leparoux aboard Heart To Heart abstained, angling Voodoo Song to the inside going into the first turn. Head cocked to the right and running on his left lead, Voodoo Song cleared the field and ripped through the first quarter mile in :23.53. Leparoux placed Heart To Heart in second, 5 lengths off Voodoo Song and a solid 3 lengths in front Made You Look. Favorite Yoshida settled in fourth as Delta Prince and Divisidero slotted in the back.
To read the rest of the Fourstardave recap, download Sunday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by EasyFix Stable Solutions.