05/24/2013 1:10PM

Churchill Downs: Wise Dan possible for Firecracker

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Tom Keyser
Wise Dan is tentatively scheduled to race at Saratoga in August (the Fourstardave and/or Bernard Baruch) and Woodbine (Ricoh Mile) in September as final Breeders’ Cup preps.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Trainer Charlie LoPresti said he is seriously considering the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap on the final weekend of the Churchill Downs spring meet as the next race for Wise Dan, the 2012 Horse of the Year who is unbeaten in two starts this year.

The $150,000 Firecracker, scheduled for a mile on turf, is set for June 29.

“It’s just an option, just something we’re thinking about,” LoPresti said Friday from his Keeneland base. He added that owner-breeder Morton Fink “mentioned that we’ve got a long way to wait for Saratoga, and although I’m not having any trouble keeping him on the ground, it is something to think about. It’d be something to tick him over until Saratoga.”

The Breeders’ Cup – which race is as of yet unspecified – in early November is the year-end goal for Wise Dan, so LoPresti is working backward from there. LoPresti already has plotted out tentative races at Saratoga in August (the Fourstardave and/or Bernard Baruch) and Woodbine (Ricoh Mile) in September as the final BC preps for Wise Dan.

LoPresti considered the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap on the Churchill dirt but instead has committed Wise Dan’s older half-brother, Successful Dan, to that June 15 race.

“We don’t want to have to run them against each other if we can help it,” he said.

Wise Dan clinched Horse of the Year honors last fall by winning the BC Mile. To begin this year, the 6-year-old gelding won a pair of Grade 1 turf races, the Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland in April and the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the May 4 Kentucky Derby undercard.