10/06/2013 11:09AM

Keeneland: Wise Dan, Groupie Doll headed to Breeders' Cup despite losses

Coady Photography
Silver Max will have a rematch with Wise Dan in the Breeders' Cup Turf after beating him in the Shadwell Turf Mile (above).

LEXINGTON, Ky. – All the major players from an incredibly eventful Saturday of stakes racing at Keeneland were reported in good order Sunday morning, with the camps of a pair of vanquished champions, Wise Dan and Groupie Doll, saying they already are putting the disappointments behind them while looking forward to the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.

Wise Dan was defeated for the first time in 10 races when Silver Max held him off for a 1 1/4-length triumph in the richest race of the 17-day fall meet, the $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile, which was transferred to the Polytrack at 1 1/16 miles because of wet conditions. Several downpours made for an adventurous afternoon for the 27,849 on hand, not to mention for the horses and their connections.

“Those were not ideal conditions [Saturday],” said Charlie LoPresti, who trains Wise Dan, the 2012 Horse of the Year, for Mort Fink. “I was a little disappointed that he lost, but he never stopped trying and was gaining on the winner. I looked at the Trakus after the race and it showed he ran 40 feet farther than the winner. That computes to losing about four lengths.”

Wise Dan will run next in the BC Mile, which is set for Nov. 2 on the Santa Anita turf. Wise Dan won it last year in clinching Horse of the Year honors. LoPresti said Wise Dan will follow a travel schedule identical to last year, flying to California on the Tuesday (Oct. 29) of Breeders’ Cup week.

The original Equibase chart showed the Shadwell as a Grade 2, down from its original Grade 1 ranking, but that is only because it is the policy of the American Graded Stakes Committee to downgrade a race by one notch in the case of a surface switch. But by Monday morning, the committee already had restored the race to a Grade 1. The Grade 3 Bourbon was rained off the turf on Sunday, and it also retained its graded status. Neither race had any late scratches.

Meanwhile, trainer Dale Romans said Silver Max, the front-running winner in his first synthetics start, very likely will have a rematch with Wise Dan in the BC Mile. The Shadwell was designated a Win and You're In race for the Mile, but that designation was rescinded because of the surface switch.

[BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Win and You’re In schedule and results]

Wise Dan was the 1-2 favorite in a field of 10 in the Shadwell. Those were exactly the same odds for Groupie Doll three races earlier when she finished third with no apparent excuse behind Judy the Beauty and Gypsy Robin in the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes, a six-furlong Polytrack race.

“We’re disappointed, but we’re really looking forward to getting back to seven furlongs on the dirt,” said Groupie Doll's trainer, Buff Bradley, referring to the conditions of the Nov. 2 BC Filly and Mare Sprint, which Groupie Doll won last year as an overwhelming choice as divisional champion.

Judy the Beauty earned a Win and You’re In berth to the Filly-Mare Sprint and definitely will run, said trainer Wesley Ward, while Gypsy Robin is “not likely” for the race, said trainer Mike Puype.

“She’s substantially better on synthetic,” he added. “She ran too good to lose.”

These are the notable Beyer Figures from the five Saturday stakes at Keeneland: Silver Max, 108; Wise Dan, 106; Judy the Beauty, 100; Groupie Doll, 95; Better Lucky (First Lady), 98; Havelock (Woodford), 97; We Miss Artie (Breeders’ Futurity), 70.