WISE DAN IN PERFECT SHAPE MORNING AFTER CLARK ‘CAP VICTORY – Mort Fink’s Wise Dan had an easy morning after his impressive 3 ¾-length victory in the 137th running of Churchill Downs’ $572,500 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (Grade I). The 4-year-old gelded son of Wiseman’s Ferry walked the shedrow and then grazed for an hour outside trainer Charlie Lopresti’s barn at Keeneland.
“He came out of the race in perfect shape,” Lopresti said. “He’s 100%.”
The Clark Handicap victory caps a phenomenal year for Wise Dan, who recorded stakes victories on turf, dirt and synthetic surfaces. Other than the Clark, he was also victorious in the Firecracker Handicap (GII), Presque Isle Mile and Fayette (GII), with the latter two on synthetic surfaces, Lopresti said Wise Dan would now get some well-deserved time off.
"We’ll let him wind down (at Keeneland) and then take him to our farm in Lexington,” Lopresti said. “He’ll have the whole month of December off and some of January and then we’ll start getting him ready for a 5-year-old campaign.”
While plans for Wise Dan’s first start next year are not definite, Lopresti does have a race in mind.
“He can run on any surface at different distances, so we have a lot of options with him,” Lopresti said. “Most likely we will bring him back in the Commonwealth (GII) at Keeneland like we did this year.”
Wise Dan won’t be the only talented horse racing from the Lopresti barn next year. Turallure, winner of the Woodbine Mile (GI) and second by a nose to Court Vision in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI), is expected to race next year, as is Successful Dan, Wise Dan’s older half-brother who missed 2011 with a tendon injury. Successful Dan was disqualified from first and placed third in last year’s Clark.
“Successful Dan is at our farm and gallops about five days a week,” Lopresti said. “We’ll keep doing that for awhile and then get more serious with him in January or February. Look for him in the spring.”
With so many top horses in the barn, Lopresti will be faced with the tough task of keeping them apart from each other during their 2012 campaigns; however, he is unsure if that will even be possible.
“I was able to keep Turallure and Wise Dan apart this year, but I don’t know if I can keep them all apart next year,” Lopresti said. “It’ll be tough and a couple of them may have to go in the same race. But this is a good problem to have. It’s been a dream year and if next year is half as good as this one, then I’ll be thrilled.”
LEPAROUX, MAKER LOOK TO HOLD MEET LEADS ENTERING FINAL DAYS – With just two days remaining in the Fall Meet, the races for leading jockey and leading trainer are still wide open. Entering Saturday’s action, Julien Leparoux, seeking his ninth riding title at the Louisville track, holds a 31-to-26 lead over Corey Lanerie, who is seeking his first Churchill Downs riding title, and Mike Maker, the leading trainer at the 2008 Fall Meet, is leading Steve Asmussen, a 10-time leading trainer at Churchill Downs, 15 to 12. Below is a rundown of entries for the top two in the jockey and trainer standings for the final two days of the 2011 Fall Meet.
Julien Leparoux, Saturday, Nov. 26
Julien Leparoux, Sunday, Nov. 27
Corey Lanerie, Saturday, Nov. 26
Corey Lanerie, Sunday, Nov. 27
Mike Maker, Saturday, Nov. 26
Mike Maker, Sunday, Nov. 27
Steve Asmussen, Saturday, Nov. 26
Steve Asmussen, Sunday, Nov. 27
CHURCHILL JOCKEYS MAKE PLANS FOLLOWING SPRING MEET – With the conclusion of the Fall Meet at Churchill Downs coming on Sunday, the leading jockeys at the Louisville track are preparing to move their tack elsewhere for the winter and most are heading for warmer climates.
Jockeys expected to ride at Fair Grounds: Corey Lanerie, Brian Hernandez Jr., Shaun Bridgmohan, Robby Albarado and Miguel Mena.
Jockeys expected to ride at Gulfstream Park: Julien Leparoux, Calvin Borel, Jesus Castanon, Edgar Prado and Kent Desormeaux.
Members of the Churchill Downs jockey colony who will not be riding at either Gulfstream Park or Fair Grounds include Jon Court (Oaklawn Park), Leandro Goncalves (Tampa Bay Downs) and Roberto Morales (Turfway Park).
WHO’S HOT – The hottest jockey over the last five racing days (Nov. 19-25) is Corey Lanerie (11-for-43). Eddie Kenneally (4-for-6) and Mike Maker (4-for-17) are the hottest trainers over the same period. Ken and Sarah Ramsey (3-for-11) are the hottest owners.
BARN TALK – Twin Creeks Racing Stable LLC’s Mission Impazible came back from his runner-up effort to Wise Dan in Friday’s Clark Handicap (GI) in good order, according to assistant trainer Michael McCarthy. No definitive plans have been made regarding his next start. …
Clark Handicap favorite Flat Out, who finished third behind Wise Dan and Mission Impazible, also exited the race in good order, according to trainer Scooter Dickey. Preston Stables LLC’s Flat Out, who won the Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI) at Belmont Park in October, will ship to Dickey’s barn at Gulfstream Park on Monday afternoon and will be given a few weeks rest before being prepared for a 2012 campaign.
“I’ll work him on the turf at Gulfstream and if he works well then he could start the year in the Fort Lauderdale (GIII at 1 1/16 miles on the turf on Jan. 14),” Dickey said. If he doesn’t work well on the turf, then we’ll probably point to the Donn Handicap (GI at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt on Feb. 11).” …
Churchill Downs will offer free general admission to all fans on Sunday, Nov. 27, the closing-day of the 2011 Fall Meet. Also, be sure to bring the kids out to see Santa Claus, who will be in the Paddock Pavilion on Sunday.
WORKTAB – Stoneway Farm LLC’s Exfactor, winner of the Bashford Manor (GIII) at Churchill Downs in July, breezed five furlongs on the fast main track beneath the Twin Spires on Saturday morning in 1:01 for trainer Bernie Flint. The work was the fourth fastest of 34 at the distance. …
Stonestreet Stables LLC’s Hierro, who turned heads when he broke his maiden by 5 ¼ lengths in his most recent start at Churchill Downs, breezed five furlongs on the main track in 1:02.80 for trainer Steve Asmussen. The work was the 22nd fastest of 34 at the distance. …
Kirk and Judy Robison’s Wine Police, third in the Hopeful (GI) as a 2-year-old and second in the Jimmy V “Don’t Give Up…Don’t Ever Give Up!” in his most recent start, breezed five furlongs in 1:03.20 for Steve Asmussen. It was the 25th fastest half-mile work Saturday morning.