JC / Railbird

Young Dan

Wise Dan seems “strapping” now, easily dispatching rivals despite weight, weather, and rough trips, but he was once a maiden, looking a little green and eager. Partymanners has posted on YouTube the reigning Horse of the Year’s first career win (his second start), a 15 1/4 length romp at Turfway in 2010. “This son of a gun is either a freak or he’s crazy,” an exercise rider told trainer Charles LoPresti after an adventurous training gallop at Keeneland back then.

Wise Dan was given a Beyer speed figure of 101 for winning the Firecracker Handicap (replay). There are four possibilities for his next start, all at Saratoga — the Whitney, Fourstardave, Bernard Baruch, and Woodward. It would be a lot of fun to see him in the Whitney or the Woodward — he hasn’t raced on dirt since finishing second in the 2012 Stephen Foster.

“I’d like to win a Grade I on dirt with him this year,” LoPresti told the Churchill Downs press office. “If we get a Grade I on dirt with him and then keep him going and get a few wins on the grass and then get to the Breeders’ Cup, maybe he’ll get Horse of the Year again.” Sounds like a plan.