Wise Dan winning the 2014 Shadwell Turf Mile.
Anne M. Eberhardt Photo - Order Photo
While owner-breeder Mort Fink likely will keep Wise Dan
pointed toward a try at a third straight Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I) victory
this season, trainer Charlie LoPresti can’t help but wonder if perhaps a new
hurdle is in order: the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I).
LoPresti was thinking out loud about a Classic start after
Wise Dan earned a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” victory in the
Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (gr. I) Oct. 4 at Keeneland. The race, the first with
a $1 million purse in Keeneland history, saw Wise Dan rally past six horses in
the final quarter mile to register a fourth grade I win at the Lexington track,
the most by any horse in Keeneland history.
After the connections celebrated another Wise Dan victory,
the 20 stakes win of his career, LoPresti said he was considering
a Classic start for the two-time Horse of the Year. Adding fuel to LoPresti’s
curiosity is the dirt track recently added at Wise Dan’s Keeneland base, where
the 7-year-old Wiseman’s Ferry has thrived.
“It’s a hard decision to make. He’s 7-years-old and a horse
of his age, you don’t know how many more races he has in him,” LoPresti said.
“You don’t want to ask the impossible of him but I think he deserves some
consideration for the Breeders’ Cup Classic because of the way he’s trained on
With Keeneland’s move to dirt after the spring 2014 meeting,
LoPresti has witnessed some impressive moves on the surface by Wise Dan,
including a stretch run blowout in :11 2/5 two days before the Shadwell Turf
Mile. The 1 ¼-mile distance of the Classic would be the longest race of Wise
Dan’s career, but LoPresti believes he would adjust.
Owner-breeder Fink remains more cautious.
“He’s doing what he’s been doing and there’s no reason to
change,” Fink said. Lopresti noted that he’d spend about ten days deciding
between the Mile and the Classic but said Fink would make the ultimate call.
Challenge Races Nearly Over
The final Breeders’ Cup Challenge race will be Wednesday,
Oct. 8, the J. P. Morgan Chase Jessamine Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland, a “Win
and You’re In” event to the Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT). The 1 1/16-mile
turf race has attracted nine juvenile fillies, including 7-2 morning line
favorite Quality Rocks, who enters off a win in the Arlington-Washington Lassie
Stakes at Arlington Park.
Galileo will finish as the leading sire of individual Breeders’
Cup Challenge race winners with four in Tapestry (Filly and Mare Turf [gr. I]), Found
(Juvenile Fillies Turf [gr. I]), John F. Kennedy (Juvenile Turf [gr. I]), and
Australia (Turf [gr. I]).
Other sires with multiple Challenge race winners include Choisir, City Zip, and Hard Spun. Choisir has Olympic Glory and Obviously (both
to Mile). City Zip boasts Palace and Work All Week (both to Xpressbet
Sprint [gr. I]) and Hard Spun has Big John B and Hardest Core (both to
Turf) [gr. I]).
City Zip - Tony Leonard Photo/Courtesy of Lane's End Farm
Thirty individual Challenge race winners were bred in
Kentucky, leading all states, provinces, and countries. Other states and
provinces with multiple Challenge winners include Ontario, Florida, and New
York. Countries with multiple winners are headed by Ireland with 10, a list
that also includes Great Britain, New Zealand, and South Africa.