Wise Dan works on main track; Bernard Baruch, Woodward possible
By John Scheinman | 08/02/2014 12:31 PM ET
Two-time reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan worked five furlongs in 1:02.04 on the main track Saturday morning as trainer Charlie LoPresti continues to weigh his options for a run later in the meet at Saratoga Race Course.
Under regular exercise rider Damien Rock, Wise Dan began his work at 8:54 a.m. and easily went around with no urging. LoPresti said New York Racing Association clockers texted him fractional times of :25 2/5 seconds for the first quarter-mile and three-eighths in :37 2/5. They caught Wise Dan galloping out six furlongs in 1:15 2/5.
Wise Dan worked two prior times this summer at Saratoga, a four-furlong breeze in 49.12 seconds on July 19 over the Oklahoma turf training course and a five-furlong effort in 1:03.72 on July 25, also on the grass.
LoPresti was not happy with the second turf breeze - saying Wise Dan "slipped out" at one spot on the course and came back breathing a little hard - and chose the dirt on the main track for Saturday's work.
"I was very, very pleased with what I saw this morning," LoPresti said afterward at the barn. "He handled it really good, better than last week. Damien said he was in hand the whole way, and he was talking him out of it the whole way. That's the kind of work I was looking for this week. I want to see him back to where he used to be, and now he's coming the right way."
After the turf work July 25, LoPresti decided not to attempt to try and win the Grade 2, $500,000 Fourstardave on August 9 for the third straight year. Instead, he now is looking at the Grade 2, $250,000 Bernard Baruch, a 1 1/16-mile grass race, and the Grade 1, $600,000 Woodward at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt. Both races are scheduled for August 30.
"I've got two options," LoPresti said. "If he keeps going the right way, he'll either run in the Baruch or the Woodward, and I like what I saw today on the dirt. I wouldn't rule [the Woodward] out."
LoPresti also will consider a run in the Woodbine Mile, a race Wise Dan has won the past two years.
"There's plenty of time [to decide]," he said. "This [strong work] is going to give me a breather. I don't know what the general consensus over there was with the handicappers and the Racing Form guys, but that was an awesome work."