Despite spotting 12 pounds to the runner-up, Horse of the Year Wise Dan
(Wiseman’s Ferry) earned his eighth-straight win and second-consecutive GII Fourstardave H. title at the Spa yesterday. Backed down to 2-5 over a turf course that had taken plenty of moisture in the previous two days, the Mort Fink homebred was away in midpack and inched worked his way into the pocket entering the first turn as fleet-footed New York-bred King Kreesa
(King Kugat) showed the way. Loaded for bear around the home bend, the champion looked briefly as if he might run into the same kind of traffic trouble he did last time in the GII Firecracker H. But pilot John Velazquez tipped Wise Dan into the two path to confront the pacesetter in upper stretch, and though King Kreesa gave the chalk all he could handle to midstretch, Wise Dan called on his class late to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths. Second choice Lea
(First Samurai) finished 4 1/4 lengths back in third. “As I told some of you today, to prove that he's a great horse like everybody's talking about, he had to carry that weight,” said winning trainer Charlie LoPresti. “He was cruising up the rail. I was worried about that front-runner. When he cruised up to him on equal terms, he had so much horse he just went right on by him. Johnny [Velazquez] just kind of rode him out. The :24 and change worried me; you don't let a speed horse get out there like that. Johnny had so much confidence in him. They started to pick it up and ran fast the last part of it. I know that horse of ours has a great kick. And he proved he's a great horse today.” Saturday, Saratoga Race CourseFOURSTARDAVE H.-GII
, $500,000, SAR, 8-10, 3yo/up, 1mT, 1:34, gd.
1--WISE DAN, 129, g, 6, by Wiseman's Ferry 1st Dam: Lisa Danielle, by Wolf Power (SAf) 2nd Dam: Askmysecretary, by Secretariat 3rd Dam: Laquiola (Fr), by Lyphard
O/B-Mort Fink (KY); T-Charles LoPresti; J-John
Velazquez. $300,000. Lifetime Record: Horse of the
Year, Ch. Older Male, Ch. Male Turf Horse, MGISW,
24-17-1-0, $4,464,070. *1/2 to Successful Dan
(Successful Appeal), MGSW & MGISP, $923,154;
and Our Royal Dancer (Roy), SW, $195,070. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: C+.
, 117, g, 4, King Cugat--Storm's
Advance, by Storm Creek. O-Gerald & Susan Kresa;
B-Horse Partners (NY); T-Jeremiah Englehart.
, 117, c, 4, First Samurai
--Greenery, by Galileo
(Ire). O/B-Claiborne Farm & Adele Dilschneider (KY);
T-Albert Stall Jr. $50,000.
Margins: 1 1/4, 4 3/4, 1 1/4. Odds: 0.40, 5.20, 4.60.
Also Ran: Mr. Commons, Willyconker (Ire), Skyring. Scratches: Za Approval. Click for the brisnet.com chart, the brisnet.com PPs or the free brisnet.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO.
“[He] Broke well, was in the right place following the speed in the race,” offered Velazquez. “After that, it was pretty easy. I knew the horse on the lead was going to take me a long way. It ended up being a nice race down the lane with the horse on the lead. I was right where I wanted to be, not too far back. I knew at the time I pulled out it was going to be a fight down the lane and I know my horse is a fighter. It was awesome. It was a much tougher race than last year. The horse who was second was peaking at the right time. But my horse still did it, and with a lot of weight on top of him, too."
While many have lamented that Wise Dan’s 2013 campaign has been less-than-ambitious, the chestnut has certainly impressed in the consistency he has shown from last year to this one. He first looked like one to watch on the big stage when turning in a devastating 10 1/2-length romp on seasonal debut in last April’s GIII Ben Ali S. at Keeneland and suffered a rare loss by a head in Churchill’s GI Stephen Foster H. in June. It’s been nothing but trips to the winner’s circle since then, as Wise Dan began his streak with a five-length win over an even boggier course here a year ago. Wise Dan reeled off similarly impressive scores in the GI Woodbine Mile, GI Shadwell Turf Mile and
GI Breeders’ Cup Mile to sweep all categories he was up for at the Eclipse Awards. He returned at Keeneland again in the GI Maker’s 46 Mile Apr. 12, and came into this off yielding-turf victories in Churchill’s GI Woodford Reserve Turf Classic May 4 and GII Firecracker H.--the latter came by two lengths over Lea.
Wise Dan became the first back-to-back winner of this race since Fourstardave himself did in 1990 and 1991 when it was called Daryl’s Joy S. He will likely follow the same path he did last year, with starts in the Woodbine Mile Sept. 15 and Breeders’ Cup Mile Nov. 2. His connections finished a close second last weekend here in the GI Whitney H. with Wise Dan’s half-brother Successful Dan.
King Kreesa’s trainer Jeremiah Englehart was quick to tip his hat to the winner. “I knew [King Kreesa] was going to keep digging,” he said. “With 129 pounds, [Wise Dan] still had the heart to run him down. It takes a real nice horse, and he is a champion. [Wise Dan] had a serious competitor today, and as good as both horses are doing, I was really happy with my horse's effort."
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