Race of the Week 2017

Woodford Reserve Possible for Wise Dan

Wise Dan 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Trainer Charlie LoPresti was one happy camper Saturday morning, the day after Morton Fink’s reigning two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan made a triumphant return to the races with a victory in the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) on Friday.

“I am glad that is over,” LoPresti said of the much anticipated debut. “I had him maybe 80 percent and would have liked to have had a couple more breezes. I had to put some wind in him and that’s why I breezed him the other day (a :35 three-eighths move; :22.80 through the stretch).”

Wise Dan’s three-quarter length victory over Kaigun represented his Keeneland record sixth graded stakes score, ninth Grade 1 win overall and 16th graded stakes victory.

“He’s doing fine this morning and he ate up everything last night,” LoPresti said. “He got a little tired at the 16th pole and I think that breeze is what got him home.”

Tentatively on the schedule next for Wise Dan is the $500,000-added Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 3. He won the race last year.

“That is not set in stone yet,” LoPresti said. “I just wanted to get through this first.”

The Woodford Reserve is on the radar for Kaigun.

“He is doing great this morning and I am very proud of him,” trainer Mark Casse said. “He has turned into a good horse.”

The runner-up effort marked Kaigun’s best stakes result in his 10-race career and it has Casse looking forward to the Derby Day race.

“The Woodford is the plan,” Casse said. “That’s the reason we ran here, to see if he belongs (with this company). If not, we would have gone in another direction.”

Third-place finisher Lochte is scheduled to return to his South Florida base on Monday with Sabrina Simon and Wayne Barnett looking over the Marcus Vitali trainee until he leaves.

“I was thrilled with his race, really happy,” Vitali said before starting his drive back to Miami. “We tried to beat the beast, but Wise Dan is a tough act to follow.”

Vitali said it was too soon to cement plans for a next start for Lochte.

“I have two or three spots in mind,” Vitali said with options including the Woodford Reserve and/or the $400,000 Dixie Handicap (G2) at Pimlico on May 17.



The victory by reigning two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan in Friday’s $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) marked the gelding’s second consecutive win in the Spring Meet’s premier turf race and gave  his owner, Morton Fink, his eighth graded stakes victory at Keeneland.

Fink of Northbrook, Ill., received a gold tray as part of Keeneland’s signature graded stakes trophy program. Only 19 owners in Keeneland history have achieved such an accomplishment. Ken and Sarah Ramsey reached the milestone on closing day of the 2013 Spring Meet.

Wise Dan and his older half-brother Successful Dan are responsible for Fink’s position. Wise Dan has won a Keeneland-record six graded stakes: 2010 Phoenix (G3), 2011 Fayette (G2), 2012 Ben Ali (G3), 2012 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) and 2013-2014 Maker’s 46 Mile. Successful Dan won the 2010 Fayette and 2013 Ben Ali. Charlie LoPresti trains both horses.

Keeneland’s gold tray is handcrafted in partnership with premier American jeweler and silversmith Tiffany & Co.



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