Today’s Churchill Downs notes:
Donegal Racing’s Dullahan appeared on the Churchill Downs work tab on Saturday for the first time since his seventh-place finish in the Belmont Stakes and trainer Dale Romans said the son of Even the Score would run next in Monmouth Park’s $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 29.
“We haven’t given up thinking he can run on dirt,” Romans said of the chestnut colt, who is 0-for-5 lifetime on dirt tracks. “If we want to try him on the turf after that, we can always wheel him back in the Secretariat.”
The Grade I Secretariat is scheduled for 1 ¼ miles on the turf at Arlington Park on Aug. 18.
Working in the second set after the renovation break, Dullahan breezed five furlongs on the fast main track in 1:00.60, which was the fifth fastest move of 28 at the distance. Dullahan recorded fractions of :12.60, :24.40, :36, :47.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.20.
“He worked well,” Romans said. “We wanted him to get out there and stretch his legs.”
Dullahan, a half-brother to 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, is one of many stars in the Romans barn and the Louisville-born trainer provided details Saturday on stakes plans for several of his major horses.
Mike Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge’s homebred Shackleford, winner of the 2011 Preakness and this year’s Grade I Met Mile, will make his next start in the Grade I Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 4. A 4-year-old chestnut son of Forestry, Shackleford breezed five furlongs on Saturday morning in 1:03.60
Little Mike, winner of the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Day undercard, has been shipped to California for next Saturday’s Grade I Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park while Tapitsfly, winner of the Grade I Just a Game at Belmont Park in her last start, will be pointed to the Diana on the turf at Saratoga on July 28.
Tapitsfly was under consideration for the Grade II Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs, but Romans decided he wanted the 5-year-old daughter of Tapit to have more time between races. Romans will have a starter in the Firecracker, though with Guys Reward being pointed to the event off his victory in the Opening Verse at Churchill Downs on June 9. I
One top performer in the barn without a short-term race target is Sassy Image, winner of last year’s Grade I Humana Distaff. Sassy Image returned from a more than eight-month layoff to finish sixth when trying to defend her title in this year’s Humana Distaff. She worked five furlongs on the main track Saturday morning in 1:00. It was the second fastest work at the distance.
WISE DAN IN GREAT FORM AFTER FOSTER; LOPRESTI POINTING TURALLURE TO CLOSING-DAY FIRECRACKER HANDICAP – Trainer Charlie Lopresti thought Morton Fink’s homebred Wise Danwas going to win last Saturdays’ Grade I Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs, but Ron the Greek under Jose Lezcano found an opening on the rail and got up just in time to beat the winner of last fall’s Clark Handicap.
“I thought we were going to win it and we started jumping up and down,” Lopresti said. “Then I saw the other horse coming and it was almost like the Breeders’ Cup.”
The Foster finish brought to mind last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs when Turallure, also trained by Lopresti, finished second by a nose to Court Vision. Turallure is slated to be among the favorites for next Sunday’s Grade II Firecracker on the closing day of the Churchill meet. Lopresti won the Firecracker last with none other than the aforementioned Wise Dan.
“(Wise Dan) ran a good race,” Lopresti said. “When you get beat like that, it’s not like your horse didn’t show up, you’re just a little unfortunate. The horse that beat us is a good horse and (trainer) Billy (Mott) had a huge night. He’s a great trainer and any time you run second to him in a big race like that, you can’t be too disappointed.”
Lopresti said has been pleased with the 5-year-old chestnut son of Wiseman’s Ferry in the days since his runner-up effort in the Stephen Foster.
“Wise Dan is doing very, very well,” Lopresti said. “He’s not even acting like he ran, which is scary. He’ll go to the Whitney.”
Wise Dan was entered in the Foster as an entry with another Fink homebred, Successful Dan, who was scratched the morning of the race. Successful Dan, who won the Grade II Alysheba in track-record time, was entered only as a back-up plan if Wise Dan needed to scratch.
“Successful Dan is doing great,” Lopresti said. “He’s going in the Cornhusker next week at Prairie Meadows.”
WORKTAB – At the nearby Trackside Training Center, Hansen, the champion 2-year-old of 2011, breezed five furlongs on the fast track on Saturday morning in 1:01.20. Trainer Mike Maker said after the work that Hansen will make his next start in the Grade III Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows on June 30. It will be his first start since finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby.