04/13/2013 12:49PM

Wise Dan may switch to dirt for Stephen Foster Handicap

Coady Photography/Keeneland
Wise Dan won the Grade 1 Maker's 46 Mile by a length Friday at Keeneland in his 2013 debut.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Wise Dan came out of his winning comeback in the Maker’s 46 Mile in fine shape and most likely will switch to dirt for his next race in the Stephen Foster Handicap in June, trainer Charlie LoPresti said Saturday at Keeneland.

LoPresti said Wise Dan “ate up good and isn’t as tired as I thought he’d be. He’s settled but not knocked out. I’m just glad we got the race behind us and got that monkey off our backs.”

Wise Dan, the 2012 Horse of the Year for owner-breeder Mort Fink, was a one-length winner on turf Friday in the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 over Data Link, the defending race champion. It was the first start for Wise Dan since he clinched championship honors by winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile last November at Santa Anita.

LoPresti said he “would just love to” have the 6-year-old gelding win the Grade 1 Foster on June 15 on the Churchill Downs main track, the same race in which Wise Dan lost for the only time in six starts last year. Otherwise, LoPresti is not committing to anything else “besides what works best for us in getting back to the Breeders’ Cup in peak shape. In a perfect world, that’d be the Foster, Saratoga, Woodbine, and then back at Keeneland for the Shadwell. But that’s getting way ahead of ourselves.”

In the meantime, LoPresti and Fink will turn their attention to Successful Dan, the 7-year-old half-brother to Wise Dan. Successful Dan is a candidate to run Sunday in the Grade 3 Ben Ali at Keeneland, “although we won’t decide if we’re running until we scan him after he breezes one more time” Monday or Tuesday, LoPresti said.

Successful Dan has been hindered by ligament problems, and “we want to make sure he’s 110 percent before he runs again,” LoPresti said. “If not the Ben Ali, then maybe the Alysheba” on the May 3 Kentucky Oaks undercard at Churchill.

As for another stable star, Turallure, fifth in an April 6 turf allowance here, “we need to win a race with him,” LoPresti said. “We’re looking at another allowance on the grass at Churchill on Derby Week.”

Full field likely for Kentucky Oaks

With entries to be drawn just two weeks from Tuesday, on April 30, an oversubscribed field of 3-year-old fillies seems assured for the 139th Kentucky Oaks on May 3 at Churchill.

Like the Derby, eligibility for the Oaks is being determined for the first time this year by a points system. The Beaumont Stakes on Sunday at Keeneland was the final points races for fillies only – although trainer Ken McPeek is considering a run against males in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland to earn Oaks points for Pure Fun.

As of April 6, these are the 14 fillies atop the Oaks points list: Beholder, Rose to Gold, Unlimited Budget, Dreaming of Julia, Emollient, Close Hatches, Live Lively, Flashy Gray, Princess of Sylmar, Fiftyshadesofhay, Midnight Lucky, Silsita, Manuka Honey, and Seaneen Girl.

One filly in the original 14, Iotapa, is no longer under consideration for the Oaks, trainer John Sadler said Friday from California.

Meanwhile, Pure Fun and her McPeek stablemate, Taken By the Storm, breezed five furlongs in company Saturday over the Keeneland Polytrack, going in 1:01.40. McPeek said he may wait until Lexington entries are drawn Wednesday to decide whether Pure Fun will run.

– additional reporting by Brad Free