Woodbine Mile Next for Wise Dan

Wearing 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.


The 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.


"I 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."


Heavily 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.


"From 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 -

and 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.


"I 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.


"I 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."


LoPresti 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.


Meanwhile, LoPresti was still basking in the win as well as the reception fans had for Wise Dan, from the backyard to the grandstand.


"It 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."


With his latest Fourstardave performance added to the horse's resume, LoPresti said Wise Dan might have moved himself into some elite company.


"It 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.


"Right 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."




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Older Comments about Woodbine Mile Next for Wise Dan...

No turf today or Wednesday PM....Still cool with more rain possible. Have set up for lane 1 and turf course looks great...Only variable will be the amount of moisture between now and Sunday when it is supposed to be dry
I'll be there Vic with Camera and Camera phone in hand..lol. I am ready for Dan's Close up.
I'll be there Vic with Camera and Camera phone in hand..lol. I am ready for Dan's Close up.
Racing Form columnist assured me that he has already made arrangements to be ni Toronto on the 15th

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