Horse of Year Wise Dan aims to pad 7-race streak
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP)
Horse of the Year Wise Dan returns to the track Saturday to run in the contest where he launched his seven-race winning streak.
The 6-year-old gelding, 3-for-3 during the current season after ending his last campaign with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita, will defend his title in the Fourstardave Handicap. The race will be run at a mile over the turf course at Saratoga Race Course. Six of the seven races in his current year-old streak have been run at a mile on grass.
''Win, lose or draw, we're proud of what he has accomplished,'' trainer Charles LoPresti said of Wise Dan, who is also the 2012 champion older male. ''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.''
Wise Dan, who will be ridden by Saratoga's all-time leading jockey John Velazquez, will concede from 11 to14 pounds to his rivals as the 129-pound high-weight.
''I think it's going to take a really good horse to beat him,'' LoPresti said. ''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.''
The Fourstardave is a $500,000 Grade II race for 3-year-olds and up.
Six horses will oppose Wise Dan, including Lea, runner-up to the 3-5 favorite in their most recent start, the June 29 Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs. Lea will be ridden by Joel Rosario.
The others: Skyring (Junior Alvarado), Za Approval (Jose Lezcano), Mr. Commons (Edgar Prado), Willyconker (Jose Ortiz) and King Kreesa (Irad Ortiz Jr.).