08/11/2012 6:50PM

Saratoga: Wise Dan powers home to win Fourstardave

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

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Wise Dan, already a Grade 1 winner on dirt, gave every indication he may be even better on grass after exploding through the final furlong to a convincing five-length victory over Corporate Jungle in Saturday's $500,000 Fourstardave at Saratoga.

The Grade 2 Fourstardave was decided over a turf course softened by two days of rain and which was officially designated as yielding at post time. Both Data Link and Right One were scratched as a result of the softer conditions.

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Wise Dan won the Grade 1 Clark Handicap in his 2011 finale and probably should have won the Grade 1 Stephen Foster late this spring, both races run over the main track at Churchill Downs. But trainer Charles Lopresti contended all along that he believed Wise Dan could actually be better on synthetics and turf, a theory that was validated here Saturday.

With regular rider John Velazquez aboard, Wise Dan stalked the pace of Get Stormy, who won the Fourstardave in 2010.  Get Stormy set relatively fast fractions considering the give in the ground, with Wise Dan straining at the bit to run in behind the leaders.

Wise Dan appeared to be trapped in behind Get Stormy as the field turned into the stretch. But Velazquez found just enough room inside the tiring pacesetter to drive Wise Dan through the narrow opening and to his second win in three career starts on turf. What made the performance even more impressive was the fact Wise Dan completed his final quarter in under 24 seconds over the yielding surface.

Corporate Jungle bided his time near the rear of the pack but within early striking distance of the early leaders, made a quick move around horses to loom boldly into the stretch, but was no match for the winner. Get Stormy finished a tiring third.

Wise Dan, a 5-year-old homebred son of Wiseman's Ferry owned by Morton Fink, paid $5 as the favorite in the scratch-reduced field of seven older horses.

"It's always a concern when you've never run over soft turf like that before," Lopresti said. "He's never run over it, he's never worked over it, but obviously it didn't bother him. When I saw him along the inside backing up a little bit I was worried, but Johnny said he had so much horse he could have pulled the trigger any time he wanted to."  

Lopresti said earlier this week that he considered switching Wise Dan to the Whitney after stablemate Successful Dan was taken out of the race last week because of injury. But he decided to stick to his original plan and keep Wise Dan on grass, at least for the time being, in the Fourstardave. The key question is whether he will keep him on turf for his next start or put him back on the dirt, possibly to start in the Grade 1 Woodward, here on Sept. 1.

"I've got a lot of options," said Lopresti. "I know he likes this dirt track now, so maybe the Woodward, maybe the Woodbine Mile, maybe the Bernard Baruch. There's a lot of options right now. He's just a neat horse. He loves to run."