11/14/2011 2:19PM

Churchill Downs: Wise Dan points to Clark Handicap

Coady Photography/Keeneland
Wise Dan, winner of the Fayette at Keeneland in his last start, is being pointed to the Nov. 25 Clark Handicap on dirt at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Wise Dan, winner of three rich stakes since the summer, will bypass the River City Handicap on Saturday in favor of the Nov. 25 Clark Handicap, trainer Charlie Lopresti said.

Wise Dan had been named the 122-pound highweight for the Grade 3, $100,000 River City, which goes at 1 1/8 miles on turf. The Grade 1, $500,000 Clark goes at the same distance on the main track. Other known prospects for the Clark at this early date include Flat Out, Ruler On Ice, and Mission Impazible.

Lopresti, who incurred surely the toughest beat in his nearly two decades of training when Turallure was beaten a nose in the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Mile, sent out the first-place finisher, Successful Dan, in the Clark last year, only to see the gelding disqualified for stretch interference.

Wise Dan has won the Firecracker at Churchill, the Presque Isle Downs Mile, and the Fayette at Keeneland within the last several months. Lopresti said the four-length victory in the Oct. 29 Fayette by the 4-year-old gelding was enough to convince him to try the Clark.

Turallure, meanwhile, is in the process of being turned out for the winter and will be pointed to major grass races next year, probably starting with the Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland in April, Lopresti said.

◗ With Wise Dan out, Tajaaweed could wind up the 119-pound highweight in the River City, the lone stakes of the coming weekend. Other probables include Blues Street, 116; Gleam of Hope, 115; Bergerac, 114; Plutonium, 114; Allie’s Event, 113; and Zimmer, 112. Entries will be taken Wednesday.

◗ The only “Downs After Dark” program of the meet is on tap for Friday, when “Animal Kingdom” will be the theme for ontrack fans. First post is 4:30 p.m. Eastern, with general admission $10. A new “Millionaire’s Lounge” is being introduced for the first time. The last race is scheduled for 9:36 p.m.

◗ Scotus, with Manny Cruz riding for trainer Ken McPeek, returned to form with a 3 3/4-length victory in the allowance feature Sunday. Scotus was winning for the first time since taking the Grade 3 Matt Winn here in the spring. He earned an 82 Beyer Speed Figure in the 1 1/16-mile race.