03/02/2015 12:06PM

Wise Dan begins road back from injury

Barbara D. Livingston
Wise Dan resumed walking under tack on Monday.

Wise Dan, the 2012 and 2013 Horse of the Year, resumed tack walking Monday at Keeneland and will return to racing only if the fracture to his right front leg that he sustained last fall fully heals, trainer Charlie LoPresti said.

The tack walking, expected to last at least three weeks, was prescribed by Dr. Larry Bramlage to put some pressure on the area of the injury and increase blood flow. LoPresti said the fracture line is healed, but there “is one gray area on the outside” that still needs improvement if Wise Dan is to resume training. Wise Dan’s condition will be re-evaluated by Bramlage around April 1, LoPresti said.

He emphasized that Wise Dan is not in any discomfort, but that he and owner Mort Fink will not return him to racing unless he X-rays 100 percent.

“In a perfect world, you might see this horse midsummer,” LoPresti said. “The biggest thing Mr. Fink and I want for him – whether he runs again or not – is that he heals 100 percent or 95 percent to where maybe he could be a lead pony someday. Obviously, the goal is to get him back, but we’re not going to risk hurting him to prove a point.”

An 8-year-old gelding, Wise Dan was perfect in four starts last year. He missed the Breeders’ Cup Mile after a compression fracture to his right front cannon bone was discovered following his win in the Shadwell Turf Mile last October. He had won the two previous Breeders’ Cup Miles.

Wise Dan did not win any Eclipse Awards in 2014, getting outvoted in the turf male division by Main Sequence, the Breeders’ Cup Turf champion, and by Main Sequence and Palace Malice in the older male category.

Last year was a difficult one for Wise Dan, who also underwent emergency colic surgery in late spring after winning the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland and the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. He recovered and went on to win the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga in August and then the Grade 1 Shadwell.

“I want to stress to all his fans that he has never been in any distress at one time,” LoPresti said. “The last two months, he’s been on the farm, turned out for five or six hours a day.”

A son of Wiseman’s Ferry out of Fink’s top broodmare, Lisa Danielle, Wise Dan has won 23 of 31 races and more than $7.5 million.