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Wise Dan Proves His Versatility in Fourstardave Victory

wise dan
Wise Dan parlayed a ground-saving journey to an impressive score in Saturday’s Fourstardave Handicap  (G2) over a yielding turf course at Saratoga.

Given a patient ride by recent Hall of Fame inductee John Velazquez, Wise Dan waited for an opening along the rail in the stretch run after tracking the early pace of Get Stormy. Corporate Jungle was the first to engage Get Stormy on the outside, but once given his head in mid-stretch, Wise Dan quickly accelerated away from his rivals. He simply exploded along the inside, promptly dispatching Corporate Jungle and Get Stormy, the second and third-place finishers, to win by five lengths. The winner covered one mile on turf in 1:37.30.

“I think he’s incredible,” said Velazquez. “For him to [win] on dirt, Polytrack, and grass – soft turf – I am very impressed with him. He’s never been on [soft ground]. [Trainer Charles Lopresti] always had that in the back of his head – is he going to handle it? I guess he handled it today. He has done everything so well. Whatever Mr. Lopresti decides to do with him, I am going with him. This horse is doing incredible. I was not surprised with the way he ran in the stretch. He was going so well. As soon as I let his head go, he responded really well and took off.”

On winning the Fourstardave, named for a horse trained by his father-in-law, for the eighth time: “It’s ironic I come here to win the race [named for Fourstardave], who [my father-in-law] Leo O’Brien trained and won many races with. It stays in the family,” Velazquez said.

Winning trainer Charles Lopresti was impressed with his charge’s performance.

 “I guess the soft turf didn’t bother him! It’s always [a concern] when he’s never run on soft turf like that,” said Lopresti. “I was a little concerned, but Johnny [Velazquez] said he wasn’t a bit worried. When I saw him down on the inside, backing up a little bit, I thought, ‘Oh, boy.’ But Johnny said he had so much horse he could have pulled the trigger any time. He’s really confident in the horse. He’s done a great job with him. It worked out great.

“I wasn’t worried if it came off the turf, because he likes the mud,” he added. “He’s just a neat horse. He loves to run. I’ve been around a lot of nice horses, but he’s just a really nice horse.”

Wise Dan/NYRA photo