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Blog - RACING

Wise Dan winning the Maker's 46 Mile Stakes in April at Keeneland Race Course (Photos by Eclipse Sportswire)

Reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan will try to remain unbeaten in 2013 with a weighty task awaiting him on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course in the Fourstardave Handicap.

The defending Fourstardave winner – who capped a banner 2012 campaign with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile – was assigned 129 pounds for the 2013 Fourstardave, meaning he will be giving his six challengers anywhere from 11 to 14 pounds.

Wise Dan will make his fourth start of the year after posting clear wins in the Maker’s 46 Mile Stakes in April at Keeneland Race Course and the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes in May and Firecracker Handicap in June, both at Churchill Downs.

Wise Dan has been favored in each of his last nine races and has won 10 of his last 11 starts. His only defeat in that span was a runner-up finish by a head in the 2012 Stephen Foster Handicap, a Grade 1 race on the dirt.

The Fourstardave is a one-mile turf race, which is both Wise Dan’s best distance and surface. Wise Dan has nine wins in 10 races going a mile and has prevailed in eight of nine starts on grass.

WISE DAN AFTER WINNING 2012 BREEDERS' CUP MILE

12BCMile Inside12BCMile Inside

Photo by Horsephotos.com

Charles LoPresti trains Wise Dan for owner-breeder Mort Fink. In 2012, Wise Dan was honored with Eclipse Awards as Horse of the Year, champion older male and champion turf male. His connections have faced criticism this year for not planning a more challenging campaign that included perhaps longer distances on turf or trying the dirt again.

“Win, lose or draw, we’re proud of what he has accomplished,” LoPresti said of the 6-year-old Wiseman’s Ferry gelding. “They’ll never take those Eclipse Awards away from him. He’s undefeated this year, and, yes, I would like to keep him undefeated. That’s my goal. I’m not trying to chase anybody or prove anything. Now, I’ve got him where I want him.”

Each of Wise Dan’s six opponents in the Fourstardave is a graded stakes winner. Both Skyring and Za Approval boast Grade 2 wins in 2013, while King Kreesa rides a two-race stakes winning streak into the Fourstardave. Lea, runner-up in the Firecracker; 2012 Grade 1 winner Willyconker; and multiple graded stakes winner Mr. Commons also will challenge Wise Dan - the overwhelming 3-5 morning-line favorite.

“He’s the target every time,” LoPresti said. “I think it’s going to take a really good horse to beat him. He’s overcome some tough trips. I just want him to get an easy race this time. I don’t want it to be one of those where he’s trapped and has to overcome a lot of adversity to get to the winner’s circle.

“There’s pressure anytime you do anything with these racehorses. The biggest thing, I think, is don't let him feel the pressure. All he knows is, he likes to run. That’s his deal. That’s what he wants to do. He knows how to win now. I couldn’t ask for him to be any better. I don’t know how you would get him any better than he is right now.”

$500,000 Fourstardave Handicap

Saturday, Saratoga Race Course, Race 10, 5:45 p.m. EDT

3-year-olds and older, one mile (inner turf)

PP

Horse

Jockey

Weight

Trainer

Odds

1

Wise Dan

John Velazquez

129

Charles LoPresti

3-5

2

Skyring

Junior Alvarado

118

D. Wayne Lukas

15-1

3

Za Approval

Jose Lezcano

118

Christophe Clement

8-1

4

Mr. Commons

Edgar Prado

117

John Shirreffs

10-1

5

Willyconker

Jose Ortiz

115

Eric Guillot

30-1

6

King Kreesa

Irad Ortiz Jr.

117

John Englehart

6-1

7

Lea

Joel Rosario

117

Al Stall Jr.

5-1

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

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