Trainer Charlie LoPresti and owner Morton Fink have some unfinished business to address, and it's called the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I).
Five days after reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan won the Maker's 46 Mile (gr. IT) in his 2013 debut on the Keeneland lawn to become the first horse in Keeneland history to win five graded stakes races, LoPresti confirmed the June 15 dirt test at Churchill Downs would most likely be the next target for the stable star.
"I'll tell you what, he's doing really good, that horse," LoPresti said April 17. "He came out of his race good, he's really strong. We took him to the track yesterday; I just jogged him, but he's in pretty good shape. It's a long way to wait for the Stephen Foster, so I'll talk to Mr. Fink more about it, but I think that's what we're probably going to do."
Wise Dan was second by a head to Ron the Greek after getting carried out in the stretch of the 2012 Stephen Foster, his lone dirt start in a year that saw him collect two additional Eclipse Awards as outstanding turf horse and top older male. He came into the 1 1/8-mile event off a record-setting 10 1/2-length romp on Keeneland Polytrack in the 2012 edition of the Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III).
"I would like to win that race," LoPresti said of the Foster. "This is just me talking, but I'd like to win that race and then do everything I did last year, and then make the decision if we get to the Breeders' Cup whether we go in the Mile or the Classic. But I would want to do the grass races (during the summer)."
Wise Dan, a 6-year-old son of Wiseman's Ferry bred by Fink out of the Wolf Power mare Lisa Danielle, is currently riding a five-race win streak in graded stakes, four of them grade I races, including a record-setting run in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT). After his runner-up finish in the Stephen Foster, he took the Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT), the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Can-IT), and the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) before closing out the season with his Breeders' Cup score.