In an impressive display of skill and horsemanship, jockey Luis Saez guided the 7-year-old Casa Creed to victory once again in the prestigious $500,000 Grade I Fourstardave Handicap. The well-attended event drew a crowd of 36,760 spectators, all keen to witness the thrilling Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifier.
The Road Ahead: A Decision Looms for Trainer Bill Mott
Following this remarkable triumph, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott is now faced with a crucial decision regarding Casa Creed’s future. The bay offspring of Jimmy Creed’s spectacular performance earned him more than just accolades; it secured him a coveted berth and expenses to the $2 million Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park on November 4. This victory was achieved by edging out Annapolis by three-quarters of a length, the same competitor he had vanquished in the Spa’s Kelso Stakes just the previous month.
Mott’s response, although cautious, reflects the magnitude of the decision at hand. “If we proceed to the Breeders’ Cup, the Mile is the chosen path,” he stated. When queried about Casa Creed’s training regimen, Mott’s response was equally considered. “A period of rest may be well-deserved. He is a remarkable horse, truly exceptional. His consistent improvement over the years is a testament to his quality. His present form is a testament to his peak performance.”
Strategic Victory: A Repeat of a Winning Formula
Casa Creed’s strategy in this race closely mirrored the winning tactics employed in the previous year. Saez’s expertly timed riding positioned him fourth in a competitive field of seven, maintaining this position through the backstretch. As the final stretch approached and Casa Creed closed in on the pace-setting Annapolis, Saez urged the horse forward. This strategic execution paid off as Casa Creed surged ahead within the last sixteenth of a mile, securing the lead and ultimately triumphing over Annapolis and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. The Brazilian-bred Ice Chocolat secured third place, trailing by a mere half-length.
Under the Fourstardave’s handicap conditions, Casa Creed bore a high weight of 125 pounds while 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, which garnered a rating of good.
A Storied Career and Coveted Prize
Casa Creed’s participation in the Fourstardave marked his 33rd racing appearance, with four of those outings culminating in victory in this very race—now achieved twice. The race rewarded Casa Creed with a substantial purse, an impressive $275,000, payable to LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable. These earnings bolster his career total to over $2.4 million.
While entering the Fourstardave as the second betting choice at odds of 9-5, Casa Creed proved his mettle once again. The wagering public had favored Annapolis, making him the 6-5 favorite. Casa Creed returned $5.70 for a win, $2.70 for a place, and $2.40 for a show. Annapolis yielded payouts of $2.50 and $2.30, while Ice Chocolat’s show price was $3.70.
Expert Strategy and Celebratory Triumph
Following the race’s conclusion and the winning photos, jockey Luis Saez celebrated a triumphant riding triple for the day. Reflecting on his strategy, Saez explained, “He had a solid start, breaking well from the gate. I recognized that the top contender, Annapolis, presented a formidable challenge. I strategically chose to follow his lead, understanding that he prefers to sit just off the pace. I allowed Casa Creed to maintain proximity. As we entered the stretch, I was confident we had secured victory.”
Legacy Honored: Presentation by Retired Trainer Leo O’Brien
Adding a touch of nostalgia to the event, the Fourstardave trophy was presented by the retired trainer Leo O’Brien. Notably, O’Brien had guided Fourstardave to achieve victory at Saratoga each year from 1987 to 1994, an unprecedented feat that earned the horse enduring recognition.
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