Reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan successfully passed his first test of 2013 on Friday with a one-length victory over Data Link in the Maker’s 46 Mile Stakes (G1).
“I was really proud of him,” trainer Charlie LoPresti said of Wise
Dan, who became the first horse in Keeneland history to record five
graded stakes victories at the track. “But I am glad yesterday is over. I
didn’t sleep for three nights. People think he is just going to come
back and pick up right where he left off, but all of those horses
yesterday had already run this year.”
Ridden by Jose Lezcano, Wise Dan rated off the pace while racing on
the outside and in the clear. Wise Dan took over at the head of the
stretch and held off Data Link, winner of the 2012 Maker’s 46 Mile, by a
length with a 23-second final quarter of a mile.
“The race came up a little bit tougher than I would have liked, but
it didn’t look like he had to run too hard,” LoPresti said. “It looked
like they could have gone around again and he would not have let that
other horse (Data Link) by him.”
LoPresti continues to be amazed by Wise Dan, a six-year-old gelding by Wiseman’s Ferry.
“People don’t realize what this horse can do. There’s no telling what
he will do the next time he runs,” LoPresti said. “He was a couple of
breezes short, but I have him where I want him now. We will take it easy
with him now and I would like to see him put a little more weight on.”
Next up for Wise Dan most likely will be the $500,000-added Stephen
Foster Handicap (G1) at 1 1/8 miles on the main track at Churchill Downs
on June 15.
“I haven’t talked to (owner-breeder) Mr. (Morton) Fink yet about it,
but it probably will be the Stephen Foster,” LoPresti said. “He is
nominated to the Woodford (Reserve Turf Classic, G1 on May 4) but it is
doubtful he would go there.
“I want to follow the same schedule as last year. Actually I am ahead
of last year because he started with a Grade 1. If he wins the Stephen
Foster, that gets us into the Breeders’ Cup. Then we can go to Saratoga,
the Woodbine Mile (G1) and then back here for the Shadwell (Turf Mile,
G1). If we want to go for the (Breeders’ Cup) Classic, we can go in
With Wise Dan’s return in the books, next up is Wise Dan’s older half-brother, Successful Dan, by Successful Appeal.
“We will know Tuesday afternoon if he is going to go in the Ben Ali
(G3, on April 21 here) or the Alysheba (G2, on May 3 at Churchill
Downs),” LoPresti said of Successful Dan, who has not raced since the
Cornhusker Handicap (G2) on June 30 at Prairie Meadows because of a
ligament strain in his left front ankle.
“He is going to breeze one more time on Tuesday and then Dr. (Larry)
Bramlage wants to look at his X-rays one more time. If the inflammation
is gone, he’ll go in the Ben Ali. If not, we will wait.”
Trainer Shug McGaughey said Data Link, owned by Stuart Janney III,
ran well in defeat and appeared to have come out of the race in good
“The Dixie at Pimlico is a good possibility,” McGaughey said of the next likely start for Data Link.
The Dixie is a Grade 2 race at 1 1/8 miles on the turf that carries a $300,000 purse.
McGaughey also trains Orb, winner of the Besilu
Stables’ Florida Derby (G1) and the Besilu Stables’ Fountain of Youth
(G2), and a major contender for this year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by
Yum! Brands (G1) to be run May 4 at Churchill Downs.
“He is going to work in the morning at Payson (Park),” McGaughey said
of Orb, who is owned by Janney and the Phipps Stable. “We will decide
after that work when he will ship.”