World Approval Relishes ‘Good’ Turf In Fourstardave Victory

A rain shower that caused a slight delay in the afternoon’s races did not hamper Live Oak Plantation’s homebred World Approval on Saturday; the 5-year-old gray son of Northern Afleet stormed home to win the second Grade 1 race of his career in Saratoga’s Fourstardave Handicap. Ridden by Manny Franco, World Approval settled off the early pace, came three-wide around the far turn and exploded down the lane to win by 2 1/4 lengths at the wire. Trained by Mark Casse, the gelding covered one mile on the “good” turf in 1:37.65 (Equibase officially ranked the course yielding, but the track had it ranked as good).

Sassy Little Lila strode out strongly to take the early lead, drawing away to a two-length advantage over Ballagh Rocks and World Approval. Around the first turn, the filly made it very tight on Ballagh Rocks, who was forced to pull back and angle to her outside, leaving World Approval three-wide on the course. Time Test followed the leading trio, with Disco Partner at the rear of the pack and American Patriot well behind.

Through fractions of :24.64 and :49.86, Sassy Little Lila held her advantage, but Ballagh Rocks came up to challenge on her outside around the far turn. World Approval made his move shortly thereafter, still three-wide, and the three turned for home on nearly even terms.

Ballagh Rocks took over the lead, but World Approval would not be denied. Driving past his rival, World Approval stretched his margin of victory out to 2 1/4 lengths over the closing Time Test. Ballagh Rocks had to settle for third, and Disco Partner checked in fourth.

Bred in Florida by his owner, World Approval adds the Fourstardave to the United Nations victory already on his resume. The big, consistent gray has now won nine of his 22 career starts, and earned over $1.4 million.

Watch the race replay here:

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