Saratoga Moment

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Charlie LoPresti stood at the big screen TV in the clubhouse, surrounded by Wise Dan’s team. Owners Morton and Elaine Fink waited to LoPresti’s left, assistant Reeve McGaughey and exercise riders Damien Rock and Kelly Wheeler stood in front of LoPresti as Wise Dan warmed up on the main track, minutes to post for the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch, the fifth race on the afternoon but the feature of the year.

“We have to put it into perspective today,” LoPresti said. “It’s not about winning today. I hope he does, but he doesn’t have to win today.”

The pep talk was as much for himself as for anybody else.

McGaughey looked at the ground. Wheeler looked at the TV. Rock filled space, “Good luck guys.”

Wise Dan loaded into stall 4 in the field of nine, his team stood in silence, then winced in agony as Wise Dan reared up and Velazquez scrambled to his right, latching onto the pole of the gate.

“Oh no, no, no, no, no,” LoPresti pleaded, as Velazquez leapt out of the back of the gate.

Backed out, Wise Dan stood for a moment, a few feet from his stall as Velazquez walked it off.

To read the rest of the Bernard Baruch recap, download Sunday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by Keeneland Sales.