10/20/2012 12:43PM

Keeneland: Wise Dan has final Breeders' Cup work

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Tom Keyser
Wise Dan, 5 for 6 this year, will be a heavy favorite in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Wise Dan, the star gelding who has won 5 of 6 races this year and might be one of the heaviest favorites in any of the upcoming Breeders’ Cup races, had his final workout for the BC Mile when breezing five furlongs before dawn Saturday over the Polytrack surface at Keeneland.

The Keeneland clockers initially listed Wise Dan as going six furlongs in 1:13.80, but trainer Charlie Lopresti told them the work was supposed to go from the five-furlong pole to the wire, and thus the time was changed to 1:00.40. As usual, Wise Dan went through his work with great ease and gobbling strides, as he went in splits of 12, 23.60, 35.60, and 47.60 seconds.

“That was perfect,” said Lopresti. “That’s just the way he is. It looks like he is loping out there.”

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Lopresti said the work will be the only one for Wise Dan between his 2 1/4-length triumph in the Oct. 6 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland and the Nov. 3 BC Mile. Wise Dan is scheduled to be flown Oct. 30 on an equine charter flight to California, with Lopresti leaving the previous day via commercial flight. Wise Dan will walk the shed row and school in the paddock at Santa Anita on the Wednesday before the Breeders’ Cup, Oct. 31.

Another Saturday worker at Keeneland was Willcox Inn, second to Wise Dan in the Shadwell. Willcox Inn, a probable starter in the BC Mile for trainer Mike Stidham, went a half-mile in 48.60 seconds over the Polytrack.

Also, Golden Ticket (BC Classic) went five furlongs in 1:02.40, getting his final quarter-mile in 26.60.

On Saturday, trainer Mark Casse worked his BC hopefuls five furlongs over the main track at Churchill Downs in Louisville: Dynamic Sky (Juvenile, 1:01.20), Spring In the Air (Juvenile Fillies, 1:01.80), Spring Venture (Juvenile Fillies Turf, 1:02.80), and Pool Play (Classic, 1:01.80).

Young trainer doubles up

For a Hall of Fame trainer such as Jonathan Sheppard, winning two races Friday at Keeneland might as well have been another day at the office. Sheppard won a maiden special-weight race with a promising 2-year-old Pulpit filly named Remember Then and a division of the Grade 3 Valley View Stakes with Angel Terrace.

But for another trainer, 28-year-old Tevis McCauley, winning two races on the Friday card was “unbelievable. There’s nothing like winning a couple of races right here at home. I’ve won three on the same card before at Mountaineer, but doing it at my home track, it’s such a great feeling.”

McCauley won a $50,000 claiming race with a new claim, Cataract Canyon, then won an allowance race with Grace for Grace. Both were making their second starts of this 17-day fall meet, and both won by a head.

Rocco sore but not seriously hurt

Joe Rocco Jr. was extremely fortunate to avoid serious injury when Thermal Cat, his mount in the first race Friday, broke down badly at the eighth pole, throwing him with great force to the turf course.

His agent, Lenny Pike, said Saturday morning that Rocco was “body sore” and that he needed to take off all Saturday mounts but that the 30-year-old jockey might return to riding as early as Sunday. Rocco has 987 lifetime wins in a career of nearly 13 years, with one of his highlights being a 6-for-7 day at Delaware Park in 2011.

Thermal Cat, a 3-year-old colt trained by Wayne Catalano, was injured so catastrophically that he had to be euthanized on the track.

* After Five Afleet easily won the last race Friday, a $7,500 claiming route, the winner of a five-way “shake” for the 5-year-old gelding was the Victory Cigar Racing Stables LLC of Steve Batchelder and trainer Denis Roberson.

The most claims in for one horse so far this meet was nine for More Miss Crissy, a 5-year-old mare who won a $10,000 claiming race Wednesday. Owner-trainer Stephen Lyster got her.