After getting a well-deserved winter rest following his championship campaign last season, reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan put in his first serious move of 2013 when he worked four furlongs in :50 flat at Keeneland Saturday morning.
The 6-year-old Wiseman’s Ferry gelding has always been a stalwart in the mornings, often moving with such ease it can through even veteran clockers off. Such was the case again Saturday as trainer Charlie Lopresti said the chestnut champion “could have gone around again” and was bucking and playing under exercise rider Damien Rock.
“We just let him stretch his legs and he did it pretty easy,” Lopresti said. “I kind of wanted to let him go an easy three eighths of a mile and let him out a notch. They got him in :37 and change, galloping out in :50. I put the :50 down (as his work) because he was stronger at the gallop out as he was for the work.
“I’m just kind of ahead of schedule where I think I want to be. The weather was good today, the track was good and I thought I’d take advantage of it.”
Lopresti reiterated that the Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland on April 12 is the likely target for Wise Dan’s seasonal bow with the Grade III Ben Ali on April 21 still an option as well.
“I’m just going to let him tell us (when to start back), I’m not going to push him,” Lopresti said. “But I tell you the way he is, he’s the kind of horse where you could probably work him three or four times and run him. That’s the way he is.”
Owned and bred by Morton Fink, Wise Dan won the 1 1/8-miles Ben Ali by 10 1/2 in track record time last April to kick off his multiple Eclipse Award-winning campaign that culminated with his course-record setting win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Wise Dan won five of six starts in 2012, including consecutive Grade I wins in the Woodbine Mile, Shadwell Turf Mile and Breeders’ Cup, en route to becoming the first horse since John Henry in 1981 to sweep champion older male, champion turf male, and Horse of the Year honors.
Successful Dan, Wise Dan’s graded stakes-winning older half brother, also worked Saturday for Lopresti covering four furlongs in :51 at Keeneland. Successful Dan has been sidelined due to injury since last summer.
“He did it very easy, just like Wise Dan,” Lopresti said. “And (Grade I winner) Turallure worked this Tuesday as well. They’re all just where I want them. I thought Wise Dan might be a work behind them or two but after what I saw this morning, he’s right there with them.”