By Blood-Horse Staff
With Saturday’s $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland now in his rearview mirror, trainer Charles Lopresti can look ahead to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park in early November 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 (Can-IT). "I was concerned going in because of the new rider (Jose Lezcano filling 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 2 1/4-length triumph over outsider Willcox Inn.
"It worked out perfect," Lopresti said of the victory over 11 rivals. It was the fourth at Keeneland for Wise Dan, who is owned by his breeder, Morton Fink. "It was like a workout for him," Lopresti said
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 (gr. III), 2011 Fayette (gr. II), and 2012 Ben Ali (gr. III). Take Charge Lady won the 2001 Alcibiades (gr. II), 2002 Ashland (gr. I), and the 2002 and 2003 Spinster (gr. I).
Lopresti said Wise Dan, who has won his past three starts on turf by a combined 10 ½ lengths, likely would have one work here at Keeneland before shipping to Santa Anita.
"I know you have to be out there by Wednesday (Oct. 31), and I would like get there as close to the race as possible," Lopresti said.
Wise Dan also is a grade I winner on dirt. Although the 5-year-old Wiseman's Ferry gelding earned a berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) on grass on Nov. 3 with his Woodbine victory, there is a $5 million carrot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) that same day.
"I am going to talk it over with Mr. 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."