Justenuffhumor (by Distorted Humor) served notice he should be a force to be reckon with in the turf division during the second half of the season after surging through the final furlong to an impressive 2 1/2-length victory over Florida invader Mambo Meister while making his stakes debut in Sunday s $158,750 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga.
At the same time as Justenuffhumor's fortunes continue to rise, those of three-time Grade 1 winner Kip Deville have steadily declined over the past several months. The 2007 Breeders Cup Mile winner was hung wide into the first turn and was never a serious factor, ultimately finishing a disappointing and well beaten eighth as the 122-pound highweight in the Grade 2 Fourstardave. Kip Deville had finished fourth as the 3-5 favorite in his previous start, the Grade 3 Poker, following a tenth-place finish earlier this spring in the Dubai Duty Free.
Justenuffhumor entered the Fourstardave undefeated on the grass for Darley Stable and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. As was the case in each of those turf tallies, Justenuffhumor was content to race well off the early leaders in the run down the backstretch as 2-1 favorite, Cowboy Cal, set the pace while pressed by longshot Papa Bear. Justenuffhumor advanced to closer contention under jockey Alan Garcia entering the stretch, split the leaders with an impressive turn of foot to readily overtake 2-1 favorite Cowboy Cal nearing the sixteenth pole then readily pulled away to his fifth consecutive victory.
Mambo Meister, making his first start outside of south Florida this season, slipped along the hedge under a heady ride by Jose Lezcano to finish second, a half-length in front of the tiring Cowboy Cal. Cosmonaut was another three parts of a length farther back in fourth.
Justenuffhumor covered a mile and one-sixteenth in 1:42.83 seconds over a good course and paid $9.50
"That was a great set up for him," said McLaughlin. "He's finished that same way every time we ve run him on the turf. He's always been a difficult horse at the gate, you saw how he acted up right before the start today. The gate crew has done a good job with him and Alan rode him beautifully. He'll have to keep stepping up and we ll take a look at the Bernard Baruch next on Travers day."