Photo: Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer
Horse of the Year Wise Dan
went out to the Oklahoma turf course Saturday morning for what likely
will be his only work for the Grade 2, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap on
regular exercise rider Damien Rock, Wise Dan hit the turf course at
9:45 a.m., with trainer Charles LoPresti watching, and unleashed a
sensational five-furlong work in 57.38 seconds. NYRA clockers caught the
6-year-old gelding galloping out six furlongs in 1:09.16 and seven in
1:22.56. His opening three-eighths fraction was 34 4/5 seconds.
never in my life had a horse like this," LoPresti said afterward.
"People don't believe me when I tell them, but he's a freak of nature,
Dan had a one-mile blowout on the main track last week, but LoPresti
considered this Wise Dan's first significant drill since the Grade 2
Firecracker on June 29 at Churchill Downs. LoPresti had not wanted a
work quite that fast, but he had no complaints afterward.
was never asked for anything, I'll tell you," LoPresti said. "I would
have liked for him to have gone in a minute, but that turf is not real
soft right now. But I don't worry about him. He does what he wants to
do. He's a horse that does it the way he wants to do it. You can't make
him do things you want him to do. If he had worked real slow, I might
have had to come back and do something else, but this looks like it's
going to put me right where I want to be."
Rock marveled after the workout, saying despite his extensive experience, Wise Dan continues to surprise him.
so hard to judge; he's got that huge stride," Rock said. "Once he
starts going 11s [seconds] like that, you pretty much have to sit there
and let him go because that's when he's comfortable.
me, clocking in my head over the year, I feel like I'm going closer to
59 on him, and then you come back and hear the time. Every time I go out
on him on the grass, I feel like I know him more and I've gotten closer
to [hitting the scheduled time], and it's like his stride has gotten
bigger this year. This year, he's been flying over the track from Day 1.
He just feels like a powerhouse underneath me."