06/21/2013 11:27AM

Churchill: Casino Dan heads wide-open turf allowance


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – If he knew anything about it, Casino Dan might feel like Cooper Manning, an athlete with two brothers who have made it huge.

Like Peyton and Eli to Cooper, the equine analogies for Casino Dan are his older brothers Wise Dan and Successful Dan, whose feats made their dam, Lisa Danielle, the 2012 Broodmare of the Year in Kentucky.

Casino Dan, their 5-year-old half-brother, was not blessed with the enormous ability of his siblings. In 10 career starts, he has just one win and one second, although that modest record could improve Sunday, when the only allowance on a 10-race card is run at Churchill Downs.

Casino Dan, with Corey Lanerie to ride, is part of an extremely well-matched field of 12 in the ninth race, a $52,000 first-level allowance at a mile on turf.

As with the other “Dans,” Casino Dan is owned by his breeder, Morton Fink, and based at Keeneland with trainer Charlie LoPresti. Whereas Successful Dan was sired by Successful Appeal and Wise Dan by Wiseman’s Ferry, Casino Dan was sired by Mutakddim.

Casino Dan will be making the third start in his form cycle after finishing second in a Polytrack sprint at Keeneland and fourth over a sloppy track at Churchill upon returning from a lengthy layoff. He looks as good as any in a bulky field that also has logical contenders in Bi Flash, Channel Marker, Raven’s Honor, and Golden Ridge.

“Obviously, I don’t know that he’s his brothers, but I have to think he’s going to be able to make it through a one-other-than condition,” LoPresti said. “His last race, he absolutely could not stand up in the mud, so you can just forget that one. He’s actually a pretty nice horse, and I’m thinking the move over to the grass will move him up.”

First post is 12:45 p.m. Eastern, with the nominal feature set for 4:59.

After Sunday, Churchill goes dark for three days until action resumes Thursday for the final four programs of the 38-day spring meet. Closing day is next Sunday, June 30.

◗ Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey continue to close in on the all-time Churchill meet owner’s record of 27 wins, set by A.J. Foyt 3rd during a 93-day meet in 1994. Into Friday, the Ramseys had 24 wins following a wire-to-wire victory by Bernie the Maestro in the eighth race Thursday.

The Ramseys are scheduled to have six runners Sunday, all likely to be among the favorites. They are Gamekeeper in the second, Blues and Silvers in the third, Believe in Kitten in the fourth, Smittenwithkitten in the seventh, and the stable entry of Auston Got Even and Restricted List in the 10th.