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Apr 18, 2014

NTRA Poll tightens up between Game On Dude and Wise Dan


New York, NY ( - Two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan finally made his 2014 debut last week and his victory put him right behind Game On Dude in the NTRA Poll,

Wise Dan, trained by Charles LoPresti, won his second straight Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland and advanced in the rankings from fourth to second only two points behind leader Game On Dude. Wise Dan received a leading 25 first-place votes and 444 points putting him right on Game On Dude's tail.

"I was worried about it (being Wise Dan's 2014 debut)," LoPresti said, "just because of the winter and how much (training) time we lost. I told (jockey) Johnny (Velazquez) going into the race that 'I just don't have him as tight as I need to but just give him an easy race and if he's good enough to win just do the best you can to save him for the next one.' This one is going to put us where we need to be."

Game On Dude garnered 17 top votes and 446 points to maintain a slight margin over his fellow 7-year-old gelding. Trained by Bob Baffert, Game On Dude will start Saturday night in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic.

Will Take Charge continues in third after winning the Oaklawn Handicap for his first victory of the year. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, the 4-year-old colt got one first-place vote and 389 points.

Palace Malice fell from second to fourth with six top votes and 369 points.

Remaining fifth in the poll is Donn Handicap winner Lea with a single first- place vote and 288 points. He's followed in the top 10 by Mucho Macho Man (223), Apple Blossom winner Close Hatches (128), Santa Anita Derby champ California Chrome (1, 99), Winning Prize (95) and Beholder (81).

California Chrome remains a solid leader in the 3-year-old rankings as the 140th Kentucky Derby approaches on May 3. Trained by Art Sherman, the colt received 48 first-place votes and 506 points.

Florida Derby winner Constitution continues second behind California Chrome with 372 points.

Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong gained a spot into third with two first- place votes and 309 points. Dropping from third to fourth is Santa Anita Derby runner-up Hoppertunity with 266 points.

Samraat, second in the Wood Memorial, is up a spot to fifth with 220 points as Florida Derby runner-up Wildcat Red also gained a rung to sixth with 164 points.

Louisiana Derby winner Vicar's in Trouble is now seventh with 161 points followed by Arkansas Derby champ Danza (158), Cairo Prince (120) and Untapable (118).

"It's really fun to have a special horse like that and have him run like that," jockey Joe Bravo said after winning the Arkansas Derby with 41-1 longshot Danza. "I'm not a fortune teller, but hopefully, in a couple of weeks we can do that again. I'm crossing my fingers he's my Derby horse."

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