Shadwell Turf Mile: Wise Dan will let his hooves do the talking

awincze@herald-leader.comOctober 5, 2012 

  • IF YOU GO

    Keeneland Fall Meet

    When: Oct. 5-27. Gates open at 11 a.m. Post time for the first race is 1:05 p.m.; races are run approximately every half hour. Closed Mon., Tue.

    Where: Keeneland Race Course, 4201 Versailles Rd.

    Tickets: $5 general admission, free for children 12 and younger

    Learn more: (859) 254-3412. Keeneland.com.

    STAKES RACES

    Oct. 5-7: Fall Stars Weekend. Keeneland's richest weekend of racing, featuring nine stakes races worth more than $3 million in total purses.

    ■ $175,000 Stoll Keenon and Ogden Stakes (G3). 4:49 p.m. Oct. 5.

    ■ $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1). 5:21 p.m. Oct. 5.

    ■ $150,000 Woodford Stakes. 3:13 p.m. Oct. 6.

    ■ $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2). 3:45 p.m. Oct. 6.

    ■ $350,000 First Lady (G1) stakes. 4:17 p.m. Oct. 6.

    ■ $400,000 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (G1). 4:49 p.m. Oct. 6.

    ■ $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1). 5:21 p.m. Oct. 6.

    ■ $150,000 Bourbon Stakes (G3). 4:17 p.m. Oct. 7.

    ■ $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1). 4:49 p.m. Oct. 7.

    Oct. 11: $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes (G3). 4:49 p.m.

    Oct. 12: $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes. 5:21 p.m.

    Oct. 13: $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1). 5:21 p.m.

    Oct. 18: $100,000 Sycamore Stakes (G3). 4:49 p.m.

    Oct. 19: $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (G3). 5:21 p.m.

    Oct. 20: $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2). 5:27 p.m.

    Oct. 21: $125,000 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes. 4:49 p.m.

    Oct. 27: $150,000 Fayette Stakes (G2). 5:21 p.m.

    SPECIAL EVENTS

    Highlights of the fall meet

    Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26: Friday Happy Hour. 5 p.m.-midnight. Paddock. Live music by Roger BonDurant (Oct. 5), Willie Eames (Oct. 12), American Trio (Oct. 19) and Chris Campbell Duo (Oct. 26); simulcast racing from Santa Anita, Golden Gate and Hawthorne.

    Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27: Sunrise Trackside. Activities before racing starts.

    ■ Breakfast With the Works. 7-8:30 a.m. Equestrian Dining Room. $7, free for kids 3 and younger. Trackside show-and-tell with farrier Hans Albrecht.

    ■ Children's activities. 7-9 a.m. Visit the Kids Club Corner and meet Buckles, the Keeneland mascot. Free activities and crafts with the Explorium of Lexington adjacent to the Equestrian Dining Room.

    ■ Tours. 8:30-10:30 a.m. A new event gives fans a walking tour of Keeneland with guides throughout the grounds.

    ■ Paddock demonstration. 8:45 a.m. Saddling paddock. Live educational equine demonstration by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital (Oct. 6, 13), Old Friends equine retirement facility (Oct. 20) and Mustang Troop (Oct. 27).

    ■ Photos with Bucky the Bugler. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Paddock area.

    ■ Handicapping seminar. 11:30 a.m. Trackside.

    ■ Jockey Q&A. 12:05 p.m. Walking Ring.

    Oct. 10: Make-a-Wish Day. All day. Nine Make-a-Wish Foundation children present trophies.

    Oct. 10: Wine, Women and Shoes. 5-9 p.m. Keene Barn and Entertainment Center. Shopping marketplace, wine, fashion show by Saks Fifth Avenue Cincinnati. $100-$150; benefits Lexington Cancer Foundation. 1-888-388-2620. Winewomenandshoes.com/lexington2012.

    Oct. 11: Race for Education. All day. Learn about scholarships from the organization.

    Oct. 12: College Scholarship Day. All day. Free admission to college students with ID, live music, giveaway of 10 $1,000 scholarships.

    Oct. 12: Buffalo Trace Giveaway. All day. Enter to win a "VIP Experience" at the Frankfort distillery. Oct. 13: Bucky Sallee Salute. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Paddock area. Free photos and autographs with Keeneland's longtime bugler. Souvenir programs available.

    Oct. 13: Lexus Test Drive. 6:30- 9 a.m. Clubhouse parking area. Test-drive a Lexus.

    Oct. 14: Meet Plum Pretty. All day. Paddock area. Meet the 2011 Kentucky Oaks winner.

    Oct. 18: Jockey Autograph Signing. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Adjacent to Paddock. Jockeys will autograph $10 Jockey Colony prints. Proceeds benefit Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

    Oct. 19: See Blue Day. All day. Free general admission for UK students, alumni and faculty; activities for all Wildcat fans. Autograph signing with Denver Bronco and former UK star Jacob Tamme, UK cheerleaders and more, noon-3 p.m., North Terrace. UK/Keeneland tumblers available for $15; benefits UK's DanceBlue fund-raiser.

    Oct. 21: Military Family Day. All day. Free general admission for active and inactive military and their families with ID. Free food, live music and activities on North Terrace.

    Oct. 26: Fan Appreciation Day. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., North Terrace. First 3,000 patrons get a free sample of bread pudding.

    Oct. 27: Fashions on the Field. All day. Sales Pavilion. In a new event, top dressed patrons will vie to be named Keeneland's best dressed patrons after strutting their stuff in front of celebrity judges. Fashionattheraces.com.

Charlie Lopresti is prepared to take the heat no matter the outcome this weekend.

Should his multiple Grade I winning charge Wise Dan get beat in Saturday's Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland and subsequently be too knocked out to go on to next month's Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park, the Kentucky-based conditioner knows he will never hear the end of it for not training the chestnut gelding up to the World Championships.

And if Wise Dan triumphs this weekend but falls short four weeks from now, Lopresti knows all the so-called experts will openly wonder if the son of Wiseman's Ferry had one prep race too many.

"If he gets beat, they're going to blame it on the Shadwell but if he wins, I'm going to be brilliant," Lopresti chuckled.

Lopresti may be ready to fall on sword if need be but, really, the decision to go in the Shadwell was made by Wise Dan himself.

When he worked the way he did last Friday, Lopresti's only choice was to block out the noise and simply listen to his horse.

Barely three weeks after solidifying his status as one of the nation's top older horses with his three-length triumph in the Grade I Woodbine Mile, Wise Dan will attempt to build on what could be an Eclipse Award-winning résumé this season when he leads a field of 12 in the $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile.

The Shadwell is one of five graded stakes and three Grade I contests on Keeneland's Saturday card, the highlight of the track's opening weekend.

Already a Grade I winner on dirt, Wise Dan has become the likely favorite for the Breeders' Cup Mile — should he go that route — with back-to-back effortless wins in the Grade II Fourstardave over a yielding Saratoga turf and the aforementioned Woodbine Mile.

In his first move after the Fourstardave, Wise Dan had clockers shaking their heads in wonder when he worked a half mile over the Saratoga turf in :45.89. That fitness was evident again last week when he covered four furlongs in a bullet :47.40 at Keeneland.

Moves like that reiterate to Lopresti that Morton Fink's homebred just might be the Horse of the Year candidate many have billed him to be. It also tells him the gelding is ready to answer that query on the track.

"Everybody keeps telling me that (he could be Horse of the Year)... and I try not to think that way because if I think that way, it will cloud my mind," Lopresti said. "I just have to watch that horse, see how he trains everyday. He's pretty special.

"He came back from that work (last Friday) and I can tell you he wasn't even a bit knocked out. He does it time and time again so I'm thinking now if he's not fit enough, he's never going to be."

There are no shortage of top contenders lining up to test Wise Dan's mettle. Stuart Janney's Data Link captured the Grade I Maker's 46 Mile over the Keeneland turf this past April and was most recently second to fellow Shadwell entrant Dominus in the Grade II Bernard Baruch.

The Dale Romans-trained Silver Max flexed his front-running muscle to win six straight at one point, before finishing fifth as the favorite in the Grade I Secretariat at Arlington.

"I think he can pretty much run all out for a flat mile," Romans said. "I don't like hearing Wise Dan's going there, but we'll have to take him out sooner or later."

Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service