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Wise Dan making great strides in comeback attempt

Two-time Horse of the Year in first breeze since colic surgery

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 11, 2014) — Trainer Charlie LoPresti was pleased with the performance of Wise Dan, two-time reigning Horse of the Year, on Friday at Keeneland.

In his first breeze since emergency colic surgery less than two months ago, the 7-year-old Wiseman’s Ferry gelding and regular exercise rider Damien Rock covered a half-mile in :50.40, galloping out five-eighths in 1:02.40 and three-quarters in 1:17.

File photo of Wise Dan and jockey John Velazquez (Photo courtesy of Churchill Downs)
File photo of Wise Dan and jockey John Velazquez (Photo courtesy of Churchill Downs)

“I was nervous about this one,” LoPresti said. “I’d say it was better than I expected. What I liked about the way he worked today is it wasn’t one of those speedy works. It was slow starting out then he really kicked it coming home. He went the last quarter in :24, and he galloped out in 1:02 and a tick.”

Winner of the 2012 and 2013 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), Wise Dan opened his 2014 campaign April 11 at Keeneland with his second consecutive win in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1). He won the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) on May 3 at Churchill Downs for the second year in a row.

On May 16, Wise Dan underwent colic surgery. Five days later, he began his recovery at Forest Lane Farm, the Lexington-area farm owned by LoPresti and his wife, Amy. The gelding began jogging and galloping in the farm’s indoor arena and returned to Keeneland June 23 to resume training on the five-furlong training track while the 1 1/16-mile main track is being renovated.

LoPresti said Wise Dan would leave for Saratoga on Sunday and be among his 15 horses there. If the gelding continues to progress, LoPresti said he would work once over the turf course there and that the Fourstardave (G2) on Aug. 9 was “definitely in the cards.” Otherwise, the Bernard Baruch (G2) on Aug. 30 might be the target.

Future races could include the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1) on Sept. 14 and the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) on Oct. 4 at Keeneland. Wise Dan won the Fourstardave and the Woodbine Mile the past two seasons and has a win and a second in the Shadwell Turf Mile.

Wise Dan, a homebred racing for Mort Fink, has won 21 of 29 races in five seasons and has earned more than $6.8 million. Based at Keeneland during his career, he has won a record six stakes here.