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Wise Dan
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Mathea Kelley

Wise Dan to Run in Woodford Reserve

Trainer Charlie LoPresti of 2012 Horse of the Year: 'He's like a monster right now.'

A face-off between 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan and multiple grade I-winning turf star Point of Entry  is on for Derby Day, trainer Charlie LoPresti confirmed April 29.

LoPresti is sending Wise Dan, who made his 2013 debut with a victory in the April 12 Maker's 46 Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland, to tackle the Shug McGaughey-trained runner in the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs.

The last time 6-year-old Wise Dan and 5-year-old Point of Entry ran on the same day, Wise Dan won the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) by 1 1/2 lengths over eventual Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner Animal Kingdom . Point of Entry, meanwhile, missed the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) by half a length to Little Mike after encountering traffic trouble on the rail.

Point of Entry returned for the Phipps Stable in 2013 by beating Animal Kingdom by 1 1/4 lengths in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT).

"We're definitely looking at it, he's doing really good, he's like a monster right now," LoPresti said of his decision with owner-breeder Morton Fink to run the four-time grade I winner in the Churchill turf event. 

Jockey John Velazquez, who rode Point of Entry in the Breeders' Cup Turf and was also on Wise Dan in the Breeders' Cup Mile, will stick with Point of Entry while Jose Lezcano retains the mount on Wise Dan. Lezcano filled in for the injured Velazquez in the Maker's 46 Mile. He also rode Wise Dan in the 2012 edition of the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland when Velazquez had to honor a prior call.

Velazquez has been aboard Point of Entry for 11 starts, including his past three grade I wins. The pair combined for victories in the Gulfstream Park Turf, the Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park, and the Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga Race Course.

Lezcano was aboard the bay son of Dynaformer for a victory in the Man O'War Stakes at Belmont last July, Point of Entry's first grade I victory.

Wise Dan's grade I wins under Velazquez are the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (gr. IT) and the Clark Handicap (gr. I). He has ridden the gelded son of Wiseman's Ferry six times.

LoPresti said the decision to run Wise Dan was not only because his half-brother, Successful Dan, will target the June 15 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) on dirt after winning the April 21 Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) on the Keeneland Polytrack, but because the reigning Horse of the Year is ready to run again.

"Since Successful Dan won, Mr. Fink and I have talked about it and we might point Successful Dan to the Stephen Foster, but that alone is not the whole reason we're making our decision," LoPresti said. "(Wise Dan's) very, very good, but if there's so much as a hiccup over the next few days he will not run. Everything's got to be 100%. Right now, he's 110%."