Wise Dan captures Fourstardave despite boggy turf
Velazquez was waiting for that hole and urged Wise Dan on through. It took a few strides but the gelding soon bounded clear. The five-year-old son of Wiseman's Ferry easily drew off despite the water-logged, yielding inner turf course to finish up a mile in 1:37 1/5.
"I think he's incredible. For him to (win) on dirt, Polytrack, and grass -- soft turf -- I am very impressed with him," Velazquez praised his mount. "He's never been on (soft ground). (Trainer Charles Lopresti) 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.
"I am very excited to have (Wise Dan) here," Velazquez said when asked about retaining the mount after being sidelined with a broken collarbone. "Actually, I didn't know if (the trainer) was going to bring him here until after the spill (on June 16). He told (agent) Angel (Cordero), 'No matter what happens, John can ride him. The first time I bring him back, I'm going to send the horse to him.' I am really lucky and really blessed he said that."
"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," the rider added.
Corporate Jungle was a nice winner of the Grade 3 Appleton Stakes and Elkwood Stakes earlier this season, and entered the Fourstardave off a close fifth in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile. The dark bay four-year-old kicked it into gear in the stretch to suddenly draw even and then pass Get Stormy, but the Giant's Causeway colt couldn't keep pace with Wise Dan.
"I'm very proud of this horse, and the horse that won was a really good horse," said Chad Brown, who conditions Corporate Jungle. "The winner got a great slot when Get Stormy came off the rail. My horse is in peak condition. We lost ground on the turn, but I think it was a good move by (jockey) Javier (Castellano) to get the jump on the (winner Wise Dan) and hope he'd get bottled up inside. But I think my horse is good enough to win a Grade 1. We live to fight another day. He's a work in progress."
"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."
Wise Dan got a late start to 2012 but posted a 10 1/2-length romp in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes on April 22. He closed out his four-year-old campaign with easy wins in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap and Grade 2 Fayette Stakes, and also captured the Presque Isle Mile Stakes last season. The Kentucky-bred chestnut opened his stakes account in his black-type bow with a half-length score in the Grade 3 Phoenix Stakes in 2010, and now boasts a 10-1-0 mark from 17 career starts to go along with $1,394,418 in lifetime earnings.
Wise Dan is out of the winning Wolf Power mare Lisa Danielle, making him a half-brother to dual Grade 2 victor Successful Dan. Another half-sibling, stakes winner Our Royal Dancer, is herself the dam of Argentinean Group 2-placed Bailando Voy.
Lisa Danielle is herself a half-sister to Grade 1-placed Carsona, who has produced Grade 2 scorer Siphon City and Grade 3-placed Bronx City Girl. This is the family of German Group 1-winning highweight Scalo, and further back, French champion, classic winner and noted sire *Val de Loir as well as dual classic heroine and Irish champion *Valoris II.
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