The Graded Stakes Committee really should take a better look at the Fourstardave. Year after year, it’s always a better horse race than the Grade 1 Sword Dancer and if its grade improved so then might the level of its entrants. But this 1 1-1/16th miles on the turf never fails to attract Grade 1 types, budding Grade 1 types, anyway. It should be at least Grade 2. It has better history that G3.

Anyway, now that Bill Mott got off the duck, we’ll look for him to begin surging, and War Monger (9-2) really fits the bill here. He ran as fast as most of these have as a three-year-old, earned his seasonal best figure over this course, has tactical speed, kick, and we like the idea that Mott makes a move to Robby Albarado, as patient on the turf as he is sometimes impulsive on dirt.

The interesting horses here are Danak (6-1) and Cosmonaut (5-1). Danak makes his return to the U.S. for new trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Principally a miler in Europe, he shipped here for the G1 Arlington Million in 2007, was bet to 4-1 and was beaten a length and a half despite having bled. First time Lasix will help a lot here. He’s been working bullets for months and Rajiv Maragh should provide good handling and perhaps insure a bettable price. Win or lose, great spot for his return.

Cosmonaut has lost a step to age but his figures remain consistently competitive at a high level. The switch to Julien Leparoux, who won the G2 Arlington Handicap and finished in the money in his other recent rides on the veteran. Julien is having a great meet, unless you think winning two G1s in week one is routine. He’s got enough speed to overcome the outside draw and Leparoux might just finesse him the rest of the way where he can be right there at the finish.

But we’re taking War Monger, at 4-1 or greater, and exacta key boxes first and second with his two rivals here.

Running Totals: (245) 77-51-27. Total Dollar Return: $467.30 [win selections only]