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Wise Dan shows grass class in Fourstardave victory at Spa

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Fourstardave was the ultimate horse for the course, winning at least once at Saratoga for eight consecutive years (1987-94). Not only is there a Fourstardave Way on track property, but there's also a $500,000 turf race named in his honor.

The winner of the Fourstardave Handicap Saturday had never set foot on Saratoga's grass. Kentucky shipper Wise Dan received a ground-saving trip from John Velazquez, and the 3-2 favorite rallied up the rail to defeat Corporate Jungle by five lengths after a mile on yielding ground in 1:37.30.

Wise Dan paid $5 for his 10th win in 17 starts and second turf victory in three attempts. He earned $300,000, raising his career total to $1,394,418 for Morton Fink. Presenting the trophy was Keith O'Brien, son of Fourstardave's trainer, Leo O'Brien, who is also Velazquez's father-in-law.

Wise Dan hadn't run since June 16, when he and Velazquez lost by a head to Ron the Greek in the Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap on Churchill Downs' main track.

"There's not many who can do what he can do,'' trainer Charles LoPresti said. "He's won on dirt, he's won on grass and he's won on synthetic. Based on what he did today, he's as good as anyone on the East Coast.''

Notes & quotes: No one hit the pick six and the carry-over is $96,669 for today.

New York Sports