Nothing to Lose, guided by John Velazquez through a couple of narrow gaps in the stretch, squeezed through along the hedge close to home and went on to a narrow victory over Silver Tree in the $200,000 Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Saratoga turf Saturday.
Nothing to Lose completed the 1 1/16-mile turf test in 1:39 2/5, three-fifths of a second off Fourstardaves track mark set in 1991.
Trained by Bobby Frankel for owners/breeders Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, Nothing to Lose reversed a neck loss to Silver Tree in the Bernard Baruch (gr. IIT) at Saratoga July 30. The 4-year-old bay son of Sky Classic
-Cherlindrea (Clever Trick) had lost to Silver Tree in June at Belmont Park as well.
"If he don't try to get through, he probably doesn't win the race," said Frankel. "Silver Tree has beaten me twice. The last time we ran, I thought I had the best horse, but he got bumped pretty good. This time, he had the best trip and got through."
Velazquez was able to find a comfortable spot on the inside and saved ground while mid-pack in the field of 11 as Royal Regalia and Jorge Chavez set the moderate pace of :23 3/5 and :46 2/5. On the turn for home, the field lined up for the stretch assault and it was a little crowded. Velazquez brought Nothing to Lose off the rail briefly in the stretch to split rivals, then squeezed back to the inside of Royal Regalia in deep stretch.
Silver Tree, with Jerry Bailey aboard, was in a full drive for the wire on the outside and it appeared he would get home on top. However, after finding room along the inside, Nothing to Lose came back and won in the closing strides.
"I thought I had a good trip," Velazquez said. "We got lucky. We could have got shut off and got beat. The horse ran really, really well. It was nice turning the tables on Silver Tree."
Bailey agreed that the trip made the difference.
"I only had one choice on the turn, and that was to follow Johnny (Velazquez) or try to get the jump on them," Bailey said. "I didn't think I could follow him and let him get the first move on me. So, I elected to lose a little ground and get the jump on him, which I did, but it wasn't enough. He ran hard."
Royal Regalia inherited the pace when expected frontrunner Royal Spy stumbled badly coming out of the gate, and held on through a desperate stretch run for third.
Nothing to Lose finally won for the first time in six starts this year. Prior to the narrow loss in the Baruch, his most recent start, he finished third, beaten by 1 1/4 lengths, in the July 3 United Nations (gr. IT) at Monmouth. Nothing to Lose won for the third time in as many tries at the distance.
Frankel took over training duties from D. Wayne Lukas at the start of the year.
Lifetime, Nothing to Lose has won five of 12 starts with earnings of $437,210.
The slight 9-5 choice paid $5.80, $3.10 and $2.60. Silver Tree returned $3.80 and $3 and Royal Regalia was $6.30 to show.
Hotsufanthensome, Union Place, Ay Caramba, Gulch Approval, L'Oiseau d'Argent, Christine's Outlaw and Royal Spy followed.