At this time last year, Wise Dan
made a splash in the sprint ranks with a sharp victory in the Phoenix
(G3) at Keeneland. Fast forward to the present and it is on the turf
where Wise Dan is turning heads.
Monday morning, Wise Dan worked a half-mile in :46.20 around the “dogs”
over a firm turf course as a final tuneup for Saturday’s $600,000
Shadwell Turf Mile (G1).
smokes. He’s a different horse on grass,” trainer Charlie Lopresti said
as Wise Dan finished his work with jockey Jon Court up.
“He went off easy and I had him coming home the last quarter in :22 and change.”
Clockers got Wise Dan going the opening quarter-mile in :24 and then galloping out five furlongs in :58.40.
Until this summer, Wise Dan never had trained on the grass.
had not considered it before,” Lopresti said. “The only time he had
been on grass was galloping up the hills at my farm. The only thing I
ever said about him was I thought he’d be a better horse going long.”
Dan was nominated to the Firecracker Handicap (G2) on July 4 on turf at
Churchill Downs and a week before he got his first turf work at
Churchill Downs with Court up.
first part of it, he was swapping leads and didn’t know what he was
doing, but he came home in 23 seconds,” Lopresti said. “I talked it over
with (owner) Morton (Fink) and we decided to take a shot.”
Wise Dan won the one-mile Firecracker by 2¾ lengths with Court aboard and a turf star was born.
were no mile turf races at Saratoga, so that’s why I didn’t take him
there,” Lopresti said of Wise Dan, who is undefeated at the distance in
three starts.”I took him up to Presque Isle (for the Mile on September
9) and that set him up perfect for this.”
Shadwell Turf Mile is a “Win and You’re In” race for the TVG Breeders’
Cup Mile (G1) to be run November 5 at Churchill Downs. Lopresti already
has one horse headed that way in Woodbine Mile (G1) winner Turallure, who is scheduled to work on the main track here Tuesday morning.