07/20/2012 4:20PM

Saratoga: Wise Dan preps on turf for Fourstardave

Coady Photography/Keeneland
Wise Dan is likely to make the switch from dirt to turf for the Fourstardave at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Wise Dan is currently rated among the elite members of the nation’s handicap division. But on Friday morning, Wise Dan made his way over to the Oklahoma turf course, where he worked five furlongs in 1:02.76, much to the delight of his trainer, Charles Lopresti.

“That was perfect,” Lopresti said while watching Wise Dan give his rider all he could handle pulling him up after the work.

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Wise Dan is coming off a hard-luck, second-place finish behind Ron the Greek as the odds-on favorite in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs. He is one of two top handicap performers Lopresti currently has stabled here at Saratoga this summer along with the multiple graded stakes winner Successful Dan.

Lopresti said if Wise Dan comes out of his work well he will point him for the Grade 2 Fourstardave at a mile on the turf on Aug. 11 and Successful Dan for the Grade 1 Whitney one week earlier.

“Right now, for this meet here, we’ll try to keep them apart, keep them in one piece then make a decision and see from there,” Lopresti. “I let the horses tell me. I don’t tell them.”

In his work, Wise Dan broke off from the five-furlong pole at a leisurely pace, covering his opening quarter-mile in 26.61 seconds and three-eighths in 38.73 before finishing strong and galloping out six furlongs in 1:15.92.

“Look, look, look at him keep going,” said Lopresti as Wise Dan continued to gallop out down the backstretch following the conclusion of his work. “When he won the Ben Ali they couldn’t get him pulled up. It took two of them to finally pull him up.”

Lopresti was referring to Wise Dan’s resounding 10 1/2-length victory in Keeneland’s Grade 3 Ben Ali earlier this season.

“He’s just got great action on the grass and the synthetic,” said Lopresti. “He runs good on the dirt. I’m not thinking he really likes this dirt too much. I wanted to see how he moved over this thing and he moved really good this morning. I’ve always thought he’s a better turf horse but with Turallure, I’ve just been trying to jockey all these horses. With the absence of Turallure now, it makes it a little bit easier on me. It’s a good problem to have.”

Wise Dan may be joined in the Fourstardave by Upgrade, winner of the Grade 3 Jaipur at Belmont Park in his last start. Upgrade also worked over the Oklahoma turf on Friday, going an easy half-mile in 49.71 with his trainer, Michelle Nihei, aboard.

“It was easy, just a maintenance work,” said Nihei. “We’re aiming at the Fourstardave at the moment. It’s going to come up tough, I know. Wise Dan, maybe Get Stormy, there’s a whole list of them. He’s doing so well and he’s probably at the peak of what his late career is going to be. It’s hard to find the perfect situation leading up to the fall for him. It’s sort of the obvious stepping-stone.”