Morton Fink's two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan turned in his first breeze of the summer season at Saratoga Race Course July 18, progressing toward trainer Charlie LoPresti's goal of making the Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT).
The 7-year-old Wiseman's Ferry gelding was credited by clockers from the New York Racing Association with a four-furlong breeze over the Oklahoma turf training course in :49.12, registering a five-furlong gallop-out in 1:02 1/5 under regular exercise rider Damien Rock. It was the second breeze in his recovery from May 16 colic surgery, coming after a move one week ago on the Keeneland course near Lexington.
"I just wanted to build on the breeze at Keeneland," LoPresti said. "He went really good, and I was really happy with him—in hand the whole way, never asked for anything."
Earlier this year, Wise Dan won the Maker's 46 Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland and the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs, both for the second year in a row. Bred in Kentucky by Fink out of the Wolf Power mare Lisa Danielle, his current record stands at 21 wins—10 of them in grade I events—and two seconds from 29 starts for earnings of $6,802,920.
Should he run in the Aug. 9 Fourstardave, the six-time Eclipse Award winner will be going for his third straight victory in the one-mile event, a race he won in 2012-13 before eventually taking the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) each year.
"I'd like to have two more works (before Aug. 9) and I don't think that's going to be a problem," LoPresti said.
In the past the trainer had mentioned possibly working Wise Dan on the dirt, a surface he has not raced over since a runner-up finish in the 2012 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I). He won the Clark Handicap (gr. I) on the dirt at Churchill in 2011.
But LoPresti said a dirt work at Saratoga "isn't in the cards" for Wise Dan for now.
"We're just going to keep going on the grass," he said. "I'm just going to take every breeze as it comes. Nothing's set in stone. He was really happy this morning; he pranced all the way over there and he's eating up well."