With Saturday’s $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) now in his rearview
mirror, trainer Charles Lopresti can look ahead to the Breeders’ Cup
World Championships at Santa Anita next month for stable star Wise Dan.
“I knew I did the right thing by the way he ran,” said Lopresti, who
brought Wise Dan back to the races three weeks after a victory in the
Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1). “I was concerned going in because of the new
rider (Jose Lezcano, who filled in for John Velazquez, who had a prior
commitment at Belmont Park) and traffic with a lot of horses.”
Lezcano kept Wise Dan in the clear the whole way, sweeping to the
lead coming off the final turn and cruising to a 2¼-length triumph over Willcox Inn.
“It worked out perfect,” Lopresti said of the victory over 11 rivals
that was the fourth at Keeneland for Wise Dan, who is owned by breeder
Morton Fink. “It was like a workout for him.”
The four victories tie Wise Dan with Take Charge Lady for
the most stakes victories at Keeneland. Wise Dan also has won the 2010
Phoenix (G3), 2011 Fayette (G2) and 2012 Ben Ali (G3). Take Charge Lady
won the 2001 Alcibiades (G2), 2002 Ashland (G1) and the 2002 and 2003
Lopresti said Wise Dan likely would have one work here at Keeneland before shipping to Santa Anita.
“I know you have to be out there by Wednesday (October 31) and I
would like get there as close to the race as possible,” Lopresti said of
Wise Dan, who has won his past three starts on turf by a combined 10½
Wise Dan also is a Grade 1 winner on dirt. Although the 5-year-old
Wiseman’s Ferry gelding earned a berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup
Mile (G1) on grass on November 3 with his Woodbine victory, there is a
$5 million carrot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) that same day.
“I am going to talk it over with (owner) Mr. (Mort) Fink, but we will
probably stick with the Mile,” Lopresti said. “I am a little concerned
about the track out there being a bit loose and speed favoring. For him
to run on a track that he never has been on and face a horse like Game On Dude that has won over the track would be like throwing him to the wolves.”