Wise Dan wins Firecracker Handicap
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan won his seventh consecutive start Saturday night at Churchill Downs, taking the Grade 2 $168,450 Firecracker Handicap by two lengths.
Trained by Charlie LoPresti and ridden by John Velazquez, Wise Dan was trapped behind horses for most of the race before overtaking pacesetter Seruni along the hedge in the final furlong.
The 6-year-old gelded son of Wiseman’s Ferry carried 128 pounds, giving at least 11 pounds to his four rivals. Three entrants scratched from the original eight-horse field.
Wise Dan covered a “yielding” turf mile in 1:39.82 for his 16th win in 23 career starts. The winner’s share of $104,439 pushed his career earnings to $4,164,070.
Wise Dan, winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile, won the 2011 Firecracker in his first career turf start.
The winner paid $2.40 and $2.10. Lea returned $3. Seruni was third. There was no show betting in the five-horse field.