Will he or won’t he? That is the big question concerning Wise Dan’s appearance in tomorrow’s Grade II Bernard Baruch Stakes at Saratoga. Considered to be the “best horse in America,” the 2-time defending Horse of the Year has not raced since winning the 1-1/8th mile Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on May 3rd. Two weeks after the race, the 7-year old gelding underwent surgery for colic after a piece of his intestines looped over itself.
Foaled February 20, 2007 Wise Dan is the first horse to win the same three Eclipse Awards in consecutive years, having been named American Horse of the Year,Champion Older Male and Champion Male Turf Horse in 2012 and 2013. Howecer, he would have to remain undefeated for the rest of this year to match Forego’s 3 consecutive Horse of the Year titles (1974, 1975 and 1976). He is currently 2 for 2 this season having also won the Grade I Makers 46 mile Stakes at Keeneland on April 11th.
At present, though, trainer Charles LoPresti stated he is not ready to think about that, “because then sometimes you might try to do the impossible.” Instead, his immediate concern is up to toting 127 lbs in the 1/16 mile grass race, despite the fact that Wise Dan won twice last year with 128 and 129 lbs on his back.
“That’s asking a lot, but he is 100%. I am pretty certain about that,” stated LoPresti. “But he hasn’t run since May. So we are very much leaning toward running him here, although coming off any kind of surgery, you have to be concerned. I don’t know if its affected him, but you never really know until you run.”
Note: readers might be interested to know that Wise Dan is a great-grandson of both Secretariat and Affrimed.