Horse of the Year Wise Dan won the Fourstardave Handicap (G2) for the second year in a row and I think
the “Sultan of Saratoga” would approve. Fourstardave earned that nickname for
having won at least one race at the Spa every year for eight years from 1987 to
1994. Fourstardave had been the only horse to win this race in consecutive
years, which was then known as the Daryl’s Joy in 1990 and 1991.
Wise Dan used his long and
relentless stride to pass King Kreesa for his eighth consecutive victory. That
win streak began last year in this same race when Wise Dan carried only 119
pounds against six challengers.
This year Wise Dan was saddled with 129 pounds as six new horses went
into the gate to try and beat the defending champ.
King Kreesa was on the lead as expected and he got to set soft early fractions of
:24.24 and :47.48. Wise Dan saved ground on the rail in third position behind
King Kreesa and Skyring. Rounding the final turn John Velazquez moved Wise Dan
off the rail into the two path and just wore King Kreesa down. Velazquez easily
passed the leader and looked over both shoulders to see if there was any other
competition. The final time for Wise Dan’s win in the Fourstardave was 1:34.
In today’s handicap races,
horses are rarely asked to carry 129 pounds and after the race Velazquez said
of Wise Dan, “He’s amazing. With all the weight they put on him, he still ran
the way he has always done it. To show up and do it the way that he did it
today was incredible.”
Most likely that is last
time that weight will be an issue for Wise Dan in 2013. If he competes in the
same races as last year, Dan will face weight for age conditions.
A much more relaxed
trainer Charlie LoPresti said of his champion, “I think he showed everyone what
kind of horse he is, with the weight on his back and the fractions up
front. They went slow the first
quarter. King Kreesa ran a great race and he just gunned him down. He showed
everyone that under adversity that he can still run the way we think he can.”
Wise Dan has now won 17
out of 24 career races and over $4,500,000. It is appears that it is going to
be up to the other older horses to put together a campaign that can rival what
Wise Dan does race after race. There will be no room for the others to bobble
and take a loss, if they are going to compete for the 2013 Horse of the Year