Morton Fink's homebred Horse of the Year Wise Dan went out to the Oklahoma turf at Saratoga Race Course the morning of July 27 and unleashed a sensational move that will likely be his only work before the Aug. 10 $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT).
Under regular exercise rider Damien Rock, Wise Dan hit the turf course at 9:45 a.m. with trainer Charles LoPresti watching, and blew through five furlongs in :57.38 seconds. Clockers caught the 6-year-old gelded son of Wiseman's Ferry galloping out six furlongs in 1:09.16 and seven in 1:22.56. His opening three-eighths fraction was :34 4/5 seconds.
"I never in my life had a horse like this," LoPresti said afterward. "People don't believe me when I tell them, but he's a freak of nature, this horse."
Wise Dan had a one-mile blowout on the main track last week, but LoPresti considered this Wise Dan's first significant drill since winning the June 29 Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs. LoPresti had not wanted a work quite that fast, but he had no complaints afterward.
"He was never asked for anything, I'll tell you," LoPresti said. "I would have liked for him to have gone in a minute, but that turf is not real soft right now. But I don't worry about him. He does what he wants to do. He's a horse that does it the way he wants to do it. You can't make him do things you want him to do. If he had worked real slow, I might have had to come back and do something else, but this looks like it's going to put me right where I want to be."
Rock marveled after the workout, saying despite his extensive experience, Wise Dan continues to surprise him.
"He's so hard to judge; he's got that huge stride," Rock said. "Once he starts going 11s (seconds) like that, you pretty much have to sit there and let him go because that's when he's comfortable.
"For me, clocking in my head over the years, I feel like I'm going closer to :59 on him, and then you come back and hear the time. Every time I go out on him on the grass, I feel like I know him more and I've gotten closer to (hitting the scheduled time), and it's like his stride has gotten bigger this year. This year, he's been flying over the track from day one. He just feels like a powerhouse underneath me."
Last year Wise Dan won the Fourstardave by five lengths to kick off a seven-race win streak in graded stakes, five of them grade I events, including a record-setting romp in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT). The Kentucky-bred gelding out of the Wolf Power mare Lisa Danielle is en route to defending that Breeders' Cup victory at the end of the season.