09/08/2012 1:26PM

Wise Dan ready for the Woodbine Mile


Wise Dan had his final breeze toward for the Woodbine Mile last Wednesday at Keeneland, and now the most important thing for trainer Charlie Lopresti is to keep the gelding “in one piece” leading up to the Sept. 16 race in Canada.

Lopresti has seen two of his other stable stars, Successful Dan and Turallure, fall by the wayside this year with minor injuries, and “I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” he said Saturday. “Those other two were big punches in the gut. I’m tempted to say Wise Dan is training lights-out, but we still have to get him up there and run him. I do know I wouldn’t trade places with anyone.”

The six-furlong breeze over the Polytrack surface was not timed by the Keeneland clockers, who are not paid to work every day during various times of the year. Lopresti said he caught Wise Dan in 1:13 in his first work since the gelding wowed the Saratoga clockers in his first workout after he won the Grade 2 Fourstardave by five lengths on Aug. 11. That Aug. 24 work came in 45.80 seconds over the turf.

“After training on the dirt at Saratoga, he’s just gliding over this Polytrack,” said Lopresti. “The work was just like a gallop for him. We’ll keep him ticking over and won’t do much more with him before we ship to Woodbine. We’ll put him on a van Thursday night and he’ll get there early in the morning Friday.”

Wise Dan, a 5-year-old gelding with 10 wins from 17 starts, is the likely favorite for the Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile, which Lopresti won last year with Turallure. The $3 million Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov. 3 will be the next race after Woodbine, assuming all goes well, Lopresti confirmed. Morton Fink bred and owns Wise Dan.

Shackleford making progress

Shackleford, scratched as the morning-line favorite from the Grade 1 Forego on closing weekend at Saratoga after coming down with a minor illness, is back on schedule and could have his next work sometime this week, trainer Dale Romans said Saturday.

“He’s here at Churchill Downs doing just fine,” said Romans. “He coughed once yesterday but was fine this morning. I think we’re all clear. We’re going to get him back on his game and keep pointing him to the Kelso at Belmont Park,” a one-turn mile race on Sept. 29.

Shackleford, an earner of more than $2.7  million from 17 career starts, finished last of eight in the Aug. 5 Vanderbilt at Saratoga in his only race since winning the Grade 1 Met Mile on May 28. Romans said the Nov. 3 BC Dirt Mile at Santa Anita is the most likely fall target for the 4-year-old colt.

Kentucky Downs renames several stakes

Although two of the opening-day stakes Saturday at Kentucky Downs – the Kentucky Cup Turf Dash and Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf – retain images of the bygone Kentucky Cup series at beleaguered Turfway Park, none of the four stakes to be run this coming Saturday, Sept. 15, has “Kentucky Cup” in its name.

In fact, the Kentucky Downs signature race has taken on a new name: the Kentucky Turf Cup. The Grade 3, $200,000 race had always been known as the Kentucky Cup Turf. The top names expected for the 1 1/2-mile race from a nominations list of 28 older horses are Rahystrada and Ioya Bigtime.

The other upcoming stakes are the Kentucky Downs Juvenile, Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies, and Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon.

The new names clearly are an attempt by Kentucky Downs management to distance itself from Turfway. This is the first year that the two tracks did not intersperse their Saturday races into one big program.