SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- The complexion of Sunday's $150,000 Fourstardave changed several hours before the race was drawn early Thursday afternoon when trainer Tom Bush made the decision to withdraw his multiple Grade 1 winner Get Stormy from consideration for the event. Get Stormy would have gone postward as the 122 pound highweight and vied for favoritism with Sidney's Candy had he started.
The last-minute defection of Get Stormy left a field of only seven older turf specialists to contest the Grade 2 Fourstardave, which shares top billing on Sunday's card with the $250,000 Ruffian, a Grade 1 race for older fillies and mares that also drew a field of seven.
Bush said he discovered an issue with Get Stormy shortly after he returned from a routine gallop Thursday. It was Get Stormy's first morning back to the track since working an eventful five furlongs over the Oklahoma grass course Monday during which he had to be eased up by jockey Ramon Dominguez nearing the wire due to a loose horse on the track.
"He has a little insult to the outer edge of his right front tendon, and we have to be careful with something like this," Bush said. "Fortunately after ultrasounding the area, it looks like we're in pretty good shape. His injury is described as Peritendonitis and does not involve the body of the tendon itself. Hopefully with some anti-inflammatory medication and a few days' rest, it will completely return to normal, although we'll re-ultrasound him to make sure in a few days. Although it's disappointing we cannot run on Sunday, it was definitely the right call not to enter the race."
The absence of Get Stormy will leave Sidney's Candy as the heavy favorite to win the Fourstardave in his first start since being purchased privately and transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher's barn late this spring. The winner of the 2010 Santa Anita Derby has not started since being beaten a nose in the Grade 2 American Handicap at Hollywood on May 28. Sidney's Candy turned in a sensational five-furlong work in 57.60 seconds over the Oklahoma turf course on Sunday.
Sidney's Candy will carry high weight of 120 pounds and breaks from post 5 under John Velazquez.
The remainder of the Fourstardave field includes Beau Choix, 115, Ramon Dominguez; Turallure, 116, Alex Solis; Blues Street, 118, Javier Castellano; Paris Vegas, 114, Robby Albarado; Moryba, 116, Rajiv Maragh; and Voodoo Swinge, 114, Alan Garcia.
Beau Choix, Turallure, and Blues Street all enter the Fourstardave off wins. Beau Choix was Grade 1 placed at 3, finishing third behind Prince Will I Am in the Jamaica Handicap.
Blues Street, Sidney's Candy's uncoupled stablemate from the Pletcher barn, has started just twice in 2011 after winning 3 of 5 starts, including a pair of graded stakes a year ago.
Payton d'Oro and Pletcher's Super Espresso top the field for the 1 1/8-mile Ruffian, which is a Win and You're In race for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.
Payton d'Oro has finished second in each of her last two tries, including the Ogden Phipps in her Grade 1 debut on June 18. She'll break from post 5 while going postward as the co-highweight along with Super Espresso under a relatively light 116 pounds.
Super Expresso finished third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Payton d'Oro, in the Phipps and will be reunited with Dominguez, who guided her to a game victory over that same rival four weeks earlier at Pimlico in the Grade 3 DuPont Disffaff.
Ask the Moon (115), Absinthe Minded (115), Distoted Legacy (114), Dynazaper (114), and Tiz Miz Sue (115) complete the field.