08/12/2012 11:53AM

Saratoga: Wise Dan has Woodward as possible next start

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Tom Keyser
Wise Dan, with John Velazquez guiding him, wins the Fourstardave.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - In three performances this year, Wise Dan has proven to be equally proficient on synthetic, dirt and turf. It’s a rare trait and one that gives his connections plenty of options when they sit down to plot out the future for the 5-year-old gelding.

On the morning after Wise Dan’s five-length victory over Corporate Jungle in Saturday’s Grade 2, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap, which came over a yielding Saratoga turf course, trainer Charlie Lopresti mentioned several options for a next start, the most intriguing being the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward Invitational Handicap over the dirt here on Sept. 1.

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At one time, Wise Dan was being considered for the Whitney on the dirt, but Lopresti and owner Morton Fink thought they had Successful Dan for the spot before an injury derailed that plan. Also, Lopresti was not overly enthused with how Wise Dan was training over Saratoga’s dirt course.

That was then. This is now.

Recently, Lopresti has seen Wise Dan handling Saratoga’s dirt course better in his morning gallops. A workout by Wise Dan in 10 days or two weeks over the main track could help make the decision a little easier.

“He’s right here in his backyard,” said Lopresti, whose barn is situated not far from the five-furlong pole on the backstretch. “We might breeze him over it and see how he breezes and let the exercise rider and myself sit down and decide. When he breezed on the turf there was no doubt in my mind he was going to run good over it. His first breeze was good, the second breeze was phenomenal.”

Wise Dan has run well on dirt in the past. He won the Grade 1 Clark Handicap last November at Churchill Downs. In June, he was beaten a head by Ron the Greek in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster, also at Churchill.

“If we could come back and win a Grade 1 on dirt you could probably say he’s one of the best horses in training,” Lopresti said.

Prior to the Stephen Foster, Wise Dan won the Grade 3 Ben Ali over Keeneland’s synthetic surface setting a track record of 1:46.63 for 1 1/8 miles while winning by 10 1/2 lengths.

In the Fourstardave, Wise Dan ran a mile in 1:37.30 over a yielding turf course and was assigned a 108 Beyer Speed Figure.

Asked what he believes is Wise Dan’s preferred surface, Lopresti said, “I don’t think it matters, he just likes to run. A horse like him comes around once in a lifetime.”

If Lopresti and Fink decide to skip the Whitney, the other options would be to wait for the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Sept. 29 or keep him on turf in the $1 million Woodbine Mile on Sept. 16. Last year, Lopresti won the Woodbine Mile with Turallure, who got beat a nose in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Meanwhile, trainer Chad Brown said that Fourstardave runner-up Corporate Jungle came out of his race in good order and would most likely be pointed to Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 6. Brown was pleased with his colt’s performance and tipped his hat to the winner for getting through on the rail.

“If [pacesetter] Get Stormy had stayed right on the fence maybe he gets stuck there for a little while and I get the jump on him,” Brown said, referring to Wise Dan. “At the end of the day you can’t win races just hoping other horses get in trouble when they’re the best horse. Yesterday he was the best horse. . . . My horse will have his day. He’ll knock off a big race if he stays the way he is because he’s got tons of talent.”

 

 

Frank More than 1 year ago
Impressive gelding. He showed a lot of heart and talent last Saturday. He taught me a lesson at the windows too :(
Jordan More than 1 year ago
What Breeder's Cup race should they point Wise Dan towards? He appears slightly better on synth and turf than dirt. With no synth race, that leaves the BC Mile on turf, and on dirt, the Dirt Mile and Classic. With no form at 10 furlongs on dirt, and with his less than stellar finish at 9 furlongs in the Foster, do they roll the dice for the big money? Or, do they go with something Wise Dan's proven at, like running a middle distance on either dirt or turf. Turf many suit Wise Dan slightly better, but that means having to face the Euros. I suppose it's a good dilemna to have. In my opinion, Wise Dan is the best(most talented) older horse in the East, although I think Ron the Greek is a better BC Classic prospect because of his proven form at 10 furlongs and at Santa Anita.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
definitely the BC Mile. Wise Dan is only 1 for 5 on a fast track, and it never rains in California.
Jason Kristopher More than 1 year ago
I don't think the BC Dirt Mile makes sense... He's a gelding and what does he gain by running in that race? He has proven to be as good, if not better, on the turf - with the BC Turf Mile having double the purse as the dirt mile. I think his end goal should be Turf Mile or Classic.
KeenelandCapper More than 1 year ago
im a huge fan of chad brown but corporate jungle is not a grade 1 horse this year and i think a little overrated in grade 1 company
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
keep wise dan on turf at a mile,then go to the breeders cup mile turf,dont get gready and mess up a nice horse.
Jason Kristopher More than 1 year ago
I don't think "taking a shot" at another Grade 1 on the dirt will mess the horse up... He's a gelding so his owners main concern should be purse money and places he can win... He's won at 1 1/8th on the dirt so there's no reason he can't do it again.. or at least be competitive in a race like the classic where there isn't a standout.