a baseball cap, hooded gray sweatshirt and blue jeans, trainer Charlie
LoPresti stood grazing a horse outside his barn on the Saratoga Race
Course backstretch Sunday morning.
night before, the Brooklyn-born LoPresti was standing in the winner's
circle in a jacket and tie, after reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan pushed his win streak to eight races by defending his title in the Grade 2, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap.
think I'm doing all right for a poor fella," LoPresti said. "I went to a
restaurant [after the race] and by the time we got the horse all done
up and everything, I was home by 9 o'clock. I was whipped, I'll tell
you. Mentally, I was whipped."
favored at 2-5 in a field of six, Wise Dan overcame high weight of 129
pounds to win the Fourstardave by 1 ¼ lengths over stubborn pacesetter
King Kreesa. The winning time of 1:34 was just .58 off the one-mile
inner turf course record.
everything I can see, he looks great this morning," LoPresti said. "I
came back and checked him at 9 last night and he ate all his feed and
walked around the stall good. We had him out early this morning and
bathed him, walked him and grazed him, and it doesn't look like it took a
whole lot out of him. It was a pretty easy race for him."
The biggest concerns for LoPresti going into the race were the weight -
more than Wise Dan had ever carried and 11 to 14 pounds more than his rivals -
the trip. For much of the early part of the race, he was boxed down
inside behind Skyring and Lea before hitting a seam rounding the final
turn and steadily gaining toward the wire under a hand ride from Hall of
Fame jockey John Velazquez.
knew they were going to try to do that, because that's what good race
riders do; they try to beat the favorite," LoPresti said. "It was a good
race for him. He proved to everybody what kind of horse he was. There
shouldn't be any more question about weights and all that.
wasn't going to not run him because of the weights. I told [NYRA racing
secretary] P.J. [Campo], 'As long as you guys don't kill him, I'll run
him,' and I think they were very fair in what they did. I think
everybody that ran against him had a fair chance to beat him with the
weights. They had their chance."
said Wise Dan will remain with him in Saratoga while he picks out the
next spot on the way to the Breeders' Cup Mile in November, either the
Woodbine Mile on September 15 or the Shadwell Turf Mile on October 5.
LoPresti was still basking in the win as well as the reception fans had
for Wise Dan, from the backyard to the grandstand.
raised the hair up on the back of your neck when you're walking over
with the horse and all the people are hollering, 'Go, Dan,'" LoPresti
said. "I hope by bringing him here it was a good day of racing. They had
a lot of people there. Last year, he was an unknown. I mean, he was a
good horse, but he wasn't a great horse. That's what it's all about."
his latest Fourstardave performance added to the horse's resume,
LoPresti said Wise Dan might have moved himself into some elite company.
tells me he's every bit of what people think he is," LoPresti said.
"Maybe he will go down as like a Forego and John Henry and Kelso and
some of those horses they've been talking about."
LoPresti added that Wise Dan's older half-brother, Successful Dan,
remains under consideration for the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward on
August 31. Successful Dan was a closing second in the Grade 1 Whitney
Handicap on August 3.
now, he's good. Very good," LoPresti said. "We're excited. He's
training good. We're just probably going to get a little breeze here
sometime maybe next week, if weather permits. We're not going to do a
whole lot with him."