Trainer Charlie LoPresti said July 31 that two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan will not make his comeback in the Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga Race Course, an event the 7-year-old gelding has won the past two years.
Wise Dan, a six-time Eclipse Award winner and back-to-back Breeders' Cup Mile victor, has been back in training after undergoing colic surgery May 16. He has had two starts of the year -- repeat wins in the April 11 Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland and in the May 3 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs.
"I want to do what's right for this horse and I kind of feel like it was maybe just wishful thinking to try and make this race," LoPresti said of the Fourstsardave Aug. 9. "Don't get me wrong, there's not a thing wrong with him; I just need more time. he's not dragging [exercise rider] Damien [Rock] around like he should yet, and maybe we've been pushing too hard to try to make this race."
LoPresti said the Aug. 30 Bernard Baruch Handicap, near the end of the Saratoga meet, is still an option for Morton Fink's homebred son of Wiseman's Ferry. Or he could wait until the Sept. 14 Ricoh Woodbine Mile at Woodbine, a race he has also won the past two years.
"The Bernard Baruch might be an easier comeback race for him, but between that, the Shadwell [Turf Mile, Oct. 4 at Keeneland] and the Woodbine Mile, those are three nice options for my horse that give me a little more time to catch my breath with him," LoPresti said.
"He doesn't owe me anything and the worst thing I can do is press on him and have him get beat when I know he wasn't ready. I'd never forgive myself. I don't want to be under the gun with him and this way I can space his works out a litlte bit and not push on too hard."
Wise Dan has breezed three times since returning to training -- four furlongs at Keeneland July 11 in :50 ⅖ seconds, four furlongs over the Oklahoma turf course at Saratoga in :49.12 seconds on July 18, and five furlongs on the same course July 25 in 1:03.72.
Bred in Kentucky out of the Wolf Power mare Lisa Danielle, Wise Dan currently has a record of 21 wins -- 10 of them in Grade 1 events -- and two seconds from 29 starts for earnings of $6,802,920.