Morton Fink's two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan is progressing well since he returned to tack-walking at Keeneland at the beginning of March, but the chestnut gelding will require 30 more days in recovery before he can go to the track, trainer Charlie LoPresti said March 26.
A March 24 check-up with Dr. Larry Bramlage at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital near Lexington revealed that the non-displaced fracture at the bottom of the cannon bone in Wise Dan's right front fetlock, announced last Oct. 13, is healing well. Bloodflow to the area, which had diminished while the 8-year-old Wiseman's Ferry runner was turned out over the winter at LoPresti's Forest Lane Farm, has reactivated since Wise Dan began walking the shedrow at Keeneland with Amy LoPresti aboard.
"There's blood supply there and it's healing," Charlie LoPresti said. "It had kind of stalled out when he was at the farm because he wasn't doing enough, so now, doing this (tack-walking and round pen turnout) has increased the bloodflow."
Wise Dan missed a run in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Mile, a race he won in 2013 and 2012, due to the injury, although it resulted in only minor lameness. He began to heal with tack-walking and being turned out in a round pen at Keeneland, then followed his usual seasonal routine of turnout at Forest Lane before returning to LoPresti's shedrow at the end of this February.
Last year, Wise Dan had his season interrupted by colic surgery after taking the Maker's 46 Mile and the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic or the second season in a row. He came back to win the Bernard Baruch Handicap and won a second edition of the Shadwell Turf Mile before the injury ended his undefeated 2014 campaign. His connections have not given up hope of returning him to the races in 2015, although at this point, they would have to follow only a second half of the year campaign.
"I want to go. I'm ready to get him out there jogging and I was hoping we could go forward with him after this set of x-rays, but the most important thing is that he's going to have a normal ankle and whether he runs again or not, we want to get it healed perfect and then make that call," LoPresti said. "Dr. Bramlage is optimistic and whatever we're doing, it's working, because it's continuing to heal."
"Right now, he's taking a little step up all the time, and hopefully with this next set of pictures, we'll be able to start jogging him," Amy LoPresti added.
Wise Dan spends about an hour walking under tack and is also turned out in the round pen. He also stands on a vibration plate designed to stimulate bloodflow and bone development. He should undergo another check-up at the end of April.
"He says he's ready to go back to the track," Charlie LoPresti said. "He thought he was ready three weeks ago. He doesn't understand why we can't train yet."
Wise Dan, bred by Fink in Kentucky out of the Wolf Power mare Lisa Danielle, has taken 11 grade I races in his 23 wins and finished second twice from 31 starts, good for earnings of $7,552,920. He was named Horse of the Year in 2013 and 2012, and swept the titles for champion turf male and champion older male in both of those seasons as well.