LoPresti Ponders Classic Start for Wise Dan

  • Comments

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 dirt.”

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.

Challenge Leaders

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.

Recent Posts

More Blogs