Firecracker Handicap 2011 – Wise Dan closes Churchill Downs spring meet with a Turf Debut win

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Firecracker Handicap 2011 – Wise Dan closes Churchill Downs spring meet with a Turf Debut win
The four-year old gelding Wise Dan, came good on his turf debut for trainer, Charles Lopresti, when he made a powerful run down the stretch en route to a 2 ¾ length turf victory in the $175,000-added Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs on 4 July.
Trainer, Charles Lopresti, drove Wise Dan down to Churchill Downs from his Lexington base to see how the chestnut gelding likes the new surface under his feet.
The Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill Downs was chosen for the training sessions, half a mile workout in an impressive: 48 4/5 seconds was the second best out of nine other horses at the distance.
Lopresti saw all he needed to give Wise Dan was his debut on Turf in the Grade 2 Firecracker. A strong run on grass gave the son of Wiseman’s Ferry the thumbs up for a run on grass on 28 June.
The trainer obviously consulted with Morton Fink, who owns Wise Dan, and, both came to an agreement that the horse had a strong breeze ahead of the game.
Wise Dan started and was sent off at odds of 14-to-1, with a mile to run in the Firecracker, the chestnut gelding went about his pace and had the speed to stalk the leaders. Among nine other horses, Wise Dan under jockey Jon Kenton Court surged past his rivals near the eighth pole for the first win of the season.
The well deserved victory at Churchill turf increased Wise Dan’s bankroll earnings to $323,047.
The pair, Wise Dan, and, jockey Jon Kenton Court, ran an intelligent race. They kept stalking the leaders, Plutonium, and, Strike Impact, for the most part of the race, while the two leaders on firm turf exchanged leads every now and then.
After entering the stretch, Court realized his cue and urged Wise Dan to give it his all in the final furlong, which allowed them to take over near the eighth pole. The pace-setters were next but they weren’t much of a challenge, since Wise Dan has an ample amount of pace behind him due to the momentum he built, he surged past his rival to finish strong in 1 minute and 34.59 seconds.
Wise Dan had failed to make any impact before this win. He had three starts this year but did not even finish on the cards. This bold decision by trainer, Charles Lopresti, and, owner, Morton Fink, was a master class, which allowed the four-year old chestnut gelding to recognize a new turf, which made him more versatile.
Michael. J Maker trained, Baryshnikov, made a race of it as he snuck past Strike Impact to finish second, Mystic, and, Lubash, finished fourth and fifth in the 4 July Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs.



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