06/09/2012 2:23PM

Churchill Downs: Wise Dan, Royal Delta assigned top weights in Foster, Fleur de Lis

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Coady Photography/Keeneland
Wise Dan (above) will face Ron the Greek and Alternation in the Foster.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Wise Dan and Royal Delta have been assigned high weight of 123 pounds apiece for their respective handicaps, the Stephen Foster and Fleur de Lis, this coming weekend at Churchill Downs.

Wise Dan has been pronounced fit and ready to go by trainer Charlie Lopresti for the Grade 1, $400,000 Foster Handicap, the highlight of a Saturday night program that will include three other graded stakes. One of those, the Grade 2, $150,000 Fleur de Lis, makes a return following a one-year hiatus and will get the 2011 3-year-old filly champion in Royal Delta, ninth versus males in the $10 million Dubai World Cup in her last start March 31.

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said he regrouped Royal Delta upon her return from overseas and had not settled on a return spot for her until recently.

“She’s doing really well and has had a couple of nice works since coming back,” Mott said. The Fleur de Lis “wasn’t something that was planned right after the World Cup, but it’s something we came up with a couple weeks ago.”

A medium-sized field of fillies and mares is shaping up for the 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis, with the possible challengers to Royal Delta being Pachattack (120), St. John’s River (118), Hard Seven (117), Absinthe Minded (116), and Afleeting Lady (116).

Royal Delta and her Mott stablemate Ron the Greek are scheduled to arrive here from New York by charter flight Monday along with other horses returning to Churchill after competing on Belmont Stakes weekend.

Ron the Greek, winner of the Santa Anita Handicap in March, was assigned 119 pounds, four fewer than Wise Dan and three fewer than Alternation, whose trainer, Donnie K. Von Hemel, has confirmed his stable star for the 1 1/8-mile Foster. Other possible starters include Nates Mineshaft (118), Fort Larned (117), Mission Impazible (116), Nehro (116), Astrology (115), and Rogue Romance (115).

Entries for all Saturday races will be taken and drawn Wednesday. The other stakes are the Grade 3, $100,000 Regret and the Grade 3, $100,000 Matt Winn.

The Saturday card will start at 6 p.m. Eastern. It will be the second of three Downs After Dark programs this month, with the first having been held June 2 and the last set for June 30.

Opening Verse: Guys Reward rallies

Guys Reward rallied from last at the quarter pole Saturday at Churchill to capture the $73,392 Opening Verse, the nominal feature of an 11-race card that preceded the simulcast of the 144th Belmont Stakes from New York.

With Shaun Bridgmohan aboard for owner Mike Bruder and trainer Dale Romans, Guys Reward returned $6.40 as second choice after finishing the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:41.98 over firm turf. Seruni, the 11-10 favorite, got a perfect trip under Corey Lanerie but was unable to hold off the winner in the final stages.

Middie and Achaemenes were early scratches, leaving a field of six older horses.