From today’s Keeneland notes:
With Saturday’s Grade I, $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile now in his rearview mirror, trainer Charles Lopresti can look ahead to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita next month for stable star Wise Dan.
“I knew I did the right thing by the way he ran,” said Lopresti, who brought Wise Dan back to the races three weeks after a victory in the Grade I Woodbine Mile. “I was concerned going in because of the new rider (Jose Lezcano, who filled in for John Velazquez, who had a prior commitment at Belmont Park) and traffic with a lot of horses.”
Lezcano kept Wise Dan in the clear the whole way, sweeping to the lead coming off the final turn and cruising to a 2¼-length triumph over Willcox Inn.
“It worked out perfect,” Lopresti said of the victory over 11 rivals that was the fourth at Keeneland for Wise Dan, who is owned by breeder Morton Fink. “It was like a workout for him.”
Lopresti said Wise Dan likely would have one work here at Keeneland before shipping to Santa Anita.
“I know you have to be out there by Wednesday (October 31) and I would like get there as close to the race as possible,” Lopresti said of Wise Dan, who has won his past three starts on turf by a combined 10½ lengths.
Wise Dan also is a Grade I winner on dirt. Although the 5-year-old Wiseman’s Ferry gelding earned a berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile on grass on November 3 with his Woodbine victory, there is a $5 million carrot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic that same day.
“I am going to talk it over with (owner) Mr. (Mort) Fink, but we will probably stick with the Mile,” Lopresti said. “I am a little concerned about the track out there being a bit loose and speed favoring. For him to run on a track that he never has been on and face a horse like Game On Dude that has won over the track would be like throwing him to the wolves.”
BRADLEY PLOTS BREEDERS’ CUP COURSE FOR GROUPIE DOLL
Co-owner, co-breeder and trainer Buff Bradley had a minor scare Saturday afternoon after Groupie Doll’s dominating, 6½-length victory under Rajiv Maragh in the Grade II, $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America.
“They called me away from the champagne reception after the race from the test barn,” Bradley said, explaining the call had been made because of the filly’s demeanor. “I got there and she was not even blowing hard. It was like she didn’t do anything. She was just telling me ‘Let’s go home.’ ”
So home she went back to Churchill Downs, where Bradley reported she ate up everything last night and was grazing this morning.
The victory earned Groupie Doll an expense-paid trip to Santa Anita for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint to be run November 3.
The 4-year-old daughter of Bowman’s Band, now a millionaire after Saturday’s victory, has won four graded stakes in a row by a combined 20½ lengths. She will step into the deepest of waters as one of the biggest favorites at the World Championships.
“I went to bed at 11 last night but I woke up at 2:30 because I was so jacked up,” said Bradley, who owns Groupie Doll with his father, Fred, Carl Hurst and Brent Burns.
“I drove to McDonald’s and bought breakfast for everybody at the barn and then it sunk in. She has been so dominant and you just watch her and can’t believe she keeps doing it and so easily.”
According to Trakus, which records individual sectional times and distance covered for races at Keeneland, Groupie Doll’s final furlong Saturday was 0.69 seconds faster than the next-fastest finisher in the race.
Bradley hopes to work Groupie Doll “a couple of easy halves” prior to the Breeders’ Cup with the final work coming at Santa Anita.
“I would like to let her stretch her legs out there and get her there a week before the race,” Bradley said. “I think there is a flight on the Friday before (October 26) and that would be ideal.”