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Wise Dan and John Velazquez return after the 2012 Fourstardave Handicap
Whitney Handicap from Saturday
The feature race on Saturday at Saratoga was the $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap (G2) for older horses going 1 mile on the inner turf course. The 26,782 fans on hand braved rain through the day and temperatures in the low 80's, downgrading the turf to yielding. A field of 7 went to post, with Ben Ali (G3) winner Wise Dan sent off as the 3-2 favorite off his close second place finish in the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1). In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Corporate Jungle, fifth in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) last out, and 7-2 third choice Get Stormy off his second place finish in the Monmouth Stakes (G2).
The horses break from the gate for the Fourstardave
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 2 Wise Dan Velazquez 5.00 3.30 2.40 7 Corporate Jungle Castellano 4.00 2.90 3 Get Stormy Castro 3.00 Winning Time: 1:37.30 $2 Exacta 2-7 17.80 $2 Trifecta 2-7-3 43.80 $2 Superfecta 2-7-3-4 106.50
Left: Wise Dan in the winner's circle. Trainer Charles Lopresti said, "I guess the soft turf didn't bother him! It's always a concern when he's never run on soft turf like that. I was a little concerned, but Johnny said he wasn't a bit worried. When I saw him down on the inside, backing up a little bit, I thought, 'Oh, boy.' But Johnny said he had so much horse he could have pulled the trigger any time. He's really confident in the horse. He's done a great job with him. It worked out great. I wasn't worried if it came off the turf, because he likes the mud. He's just a neat horse. He loves to run. I've been around a lot of nice horses, but he's just a really nice horse."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Fourstardave. Jockey John Velazquez said, "I think he's incredible. For him to win on dirt, Polytrack, and grass – soft turf – I am very impressed with him. He's never been on (soft ground). Charles always had that in the back of his head – is he going to handle it? I guess he handled it today. He has done everything so well. Whatever Mr. Lopresti decides to do with him, I am going with him. This horse is doing incredible. I was not surprised with the way he ran in the stretch. He was going so well. As soon as I let his head go, he responded really well and took off."
Left: Wise Dan in the paddock. Jockey John Velazquez added, "It's ironic I come here to win the race (named for Fourstardave), who (my father-in-law) Leo O'Brien trained and won many races with. It stays in the family."
Right: Wise Dan heads out for the post parade. Trainer Charles Lopresti added, "I have a lot of options. I know he likes this dirt track now. So maybe, 10 days, we may breeze him over it, and maybe Woodward or the Woodbine Mile. He ran a great race in the Stephen Foster; just got beat a head, no disgrace. I think if he can win a Grade 1 on the dirt, people will start to recognize this horse as one of the top horses on the East coast. Not too many horses can win on synthetic, grass, and a Grade 1 on the dirt. We'll let the horse tell us."
Left: Second place finisher Corporate Jungle heads out to the track. Jockey Javier Castellano said, "I had a beautiful trip. I know the winner was much the best horse, and he had a dream trip. At the same time I tried to get the jump on the winner but the winner had the rail open up and he took off. I think he was the best horse in the race, but I am not disappointed in my horse. He showed up and ran a great race."
Right: Third place finisher Get Stormy heads out for the post parade. The 7-2 third choice set the early pace under jockey Eddie Castro, but tired late to finish third beaten 7 lengths. The Thomas Bush trainee improved his record to 11 wins, 5 seconds, and 4 thirds in 31 starts, earning $1,606,812 for owner-breeder Mary Sullivan (Sullimar Stable).
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