LOPRESTI: TURALLURE GETS A REST, WISE DAN LIKELY FOR CLARK – Trainer Charles Lopresti’s tremendous run of success over the past three years came within a nose of producing the biggest moment of his career during the recent Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs.
Four D Stable’s Turallure, winner of the Grade I Woodbine Mile in his previous start, launched a dazzling stretch run in the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI) and blew past three-time defending champion Goldikova in the stretch, but was denied victory by longshot Court Vision. Turallure had defeated that rival at Woodbine.
Coming up short in that painful photo-finish was disappointing, but Lopresti is proud of Turallure’s performance and looking for better things when the gray son of Canadian Triple Crown winner Wando returns to run in 2012. Lopresti is also hoping for a big finish in 2011 with Morton Fink’s versatile Wise Dan, who is being pointed toward a run in the $500,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI). That’s a race that Lopresti appeared to win last fall – but lost via disqualification – with Fink’s Successful Dan.
But first, Lopresti is winding Turallure down from his terrific season and near-miss seasonal finale in the Mile.
“We’re just going to let him down and unwind him a little bit,” Lopresti said. “We’ve got him out in a round pen right now, just letting him be a horse for about a month or so. Then we’ll start back after the first of the year for him.”
A much-discussed aspect of the 2011 renewal of the Mile has been jockey Olivier Peslier’s decision to pull Goldikova, who had started from post one, off the hedge while in traffic in upper stretch. The move set off a chain-reaction of bumping and altered paths among horses behind and outside of Goldikova, who eventually finished third.
Among the horses forced to alter course was Turallure.
“That just pushed him farther out on the track,” Lopresti said. “But he proved that he’s that nice a horse. And if we’ve got that nice a horse for next year, we’re golden, I think.”
Turallure completed his 4-year-old season with a record of 6-3-3 in 16 career races with earnings of $1,267,465. He had career earnings of $110,005 entering the 2011 season.
Regarding Wise Dan, Lopresti is leaning toward a run in the 137th Clark Handicap for the 4-year-old son of Wiseman’s Ferry, who has stakes wins this year on grass in Churchill Downs’ Firecracker Handicap (GII) and on synthetic surfaces in the Fayette (GII) at Keeneland and Presque Isle Downs Mile, which were run on synthetic Polytrack and Tapeta surfaces, respectively.
Wise Dan is also nominated to run in next Saturday’s $100,000-added River City Handicap (GIII) at 1 1/8 miles on turf and was assigned high weight of 122 pounds for that race. But Lopresti said the Clark looks like the best spot for Wise Dan, who also lists a pair of wins on Churchill Downs dirt on his increasingly impressive résumé.
Since his run at Woodbine, Wise Dan had two races at Keeneland: a strong fourth-place run behind three-time U.S. turf champion Gio Ponti in the Shadwell Turf Mile (GI) and his impressive four-length romp in the 1 1/8-mile Fayette. Lopresti said Wise Dan is scheduled for an easy breeze this week at Keeneland, his first work since his Fayette win.
“We had a question about the mile and an eighth, but after that race (the Fayette) we decided to go to the Clark,” Lopresti said. “If everything goes right in the next couple of weeks, he’s coming.”Meanwhile, Lopresti reported that Fink’s Successful Dan – who won last year’s Fayette prior to his DQ loss in the Clark – continues to make solid progress after missing all of this year with tendon injury. Continued forward movement could lead to a return to racing next year for the 5-year-old gelding by Successful Appeal, a horse Lopresti believes that, at his best, is as talented as any older horse in the United States.
“He’s training every day and looking good,” Lopresti said. “Look for him next spring. I hope he comes back good.”
WISE DAN ASSIGNED HIGH WEIGHT FOR SATURDAY’S RIVER CITY – Wise Dan, an eye-catching four-length winner of the Fayette (Grade II) at Keeneland, has been assigned the high weight of 122 pounds by racing secretary Ben Huffman for Saturday’s 34th running of the $100,000-added River City Handicap (GIII) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill Downs.
The Fayette triumph was the second Grade II victory of the year for Morton Fink’s homebred Wise Dan, who also captured the Firecracker Handicap on the turf beneath the Twin Spires on closing day of the 38-day Spring Meet.
A 4-year-old gelded son of Wiseman’s Ferry, the Charlie Lopresti-trained Wise Dan is not expected to run in the River City and instead will be pointed to the $500,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25.
The next high weight at 121 pounds is Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Dean’s Kitten, who recently finished ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI) over the Matt Winn Turf Course on Nov. 5. A 4-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy, Dean’s Kitten was narrowly defeated by Cape Blanco-IRE in the Turf Classic (GI) at Belmont Park prior to running in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Trained by Mike Maker, Dean’s Kitten has a record of 4-4-4 from 24 starts and earnings of $802,950.
Weighted one pound below Dean’s Kitten is Hat Trick Stable and Kinghaven Farms’ Stormy Lord. Trained by Ian Black, the 4-year-old gelded son of Stormy Atlantic is an eight-time winner with $922,375 in career earnings. His biggest victory came in the Connaught Cup (GII) at Woodbine in May of this year.
Entries for the River City will be taken Wednesday. Horses expected to be entered according to Churchill Downs officials include Tajaaweed (trained by Daniel Peitz, weighted at 119 pounds), Blues Street (Eddie Kenneally, 116), Gleam of Hope (Mike Stidham, 115), Bergerac (Jimmy Baker, 114), Plutonium (David Pate, 114), Allie’s Event (Lori Smock, 113) and Zimmer (Pat Byrne, 112).
BOREL MOVING TACK TO GULFSTREAM AT CONCLUSION OF FALL MEET – Three-time Kentucky Derby winning jockey Calvin Borel is moving south for the winter and will begin riding at Gulfstream Park at the conclusion of Churchill Downs’ 21-day Fall Meet, according to agent Jerry Hissam.
"The main reason we’re going is to ride horses for (trainer) Ian (Wilkes),” Hissam said. “He’s got (Grade III Iroquois-winner) Motor City and several other babies that haven’t started yet. When you get a chance to ride a group of nice horses, you take it.”
Gulfstream Park’s meet will begin on Dec. 3, but Borel, who has traditionally ridden at Oaklawn Park over the winter, is not scheduled to begin riding at the track until Dec. 15.
Borel, who has ridden 853 winners at Oaklawn Park since 1991, has only recorded two victories at Gulfstream in the same time-span. In December, he will ride his first race at Gulfstream Park in nearly three years.
While the main draw to Gulfsteam is the Wilkes barn, Hissam noted there could be a few more reasons the 45-year-old Cajun is heading to Florida.
"We’re working on getting a few more good horses for him to ride down there, but nothing is official yet. Stay tuned.”
Borel, who is the second all-time leading rider beneath the Twin Spires with 1,071 wins, is currently tied for sixth in the jockey standings at Churchill Downs with four wins through the first 10 days of the Fall Meet.
BARN TALK – Glen Hill Farm’s Marketing Mix and Holidaysatthefarm both exited Saturday’s Mrs. Revere (Grade II) in good order, according to trainer Tom Proctor. Marketing Mix, an easy winner of the 1 1/16-mile race on the Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill Downs, will remain at Proctor’s barn at the Louisville track for another week before shipping to Glen Hill Farm in Ocala, Fla. for a few months of R and R. Holidaysatthefarm, who finished eighth, will be pointed to the La Prevoyante Handicap (GIII) at Calder on Dec. 2. …
Happy 37th birthday to jockey Corey Lanerie, who is currently second in the Churchill Downs jockey standings with 13 wins at the Fall Meet. On Nov. 6, Lanerie recorded his 300th victory beneath the Twin Spires aboard Taptowne.
WHO’S HOT – The hottest jockeys over the last five racing days (Nov. 6-12) are Julien Leparoux (13-for-36) and Brian Hernandez Jr. (8-for-24). Mike Maker (7-for-15) and Ronny Werner (4-for-5) are the hottest trainers over the same period. Ken and Sarah Ramsey (6-for-10) is the hottest owner.
WORKTAB – Silverton Hill LLC’s Fine breezed a “bullet” four furlongs on the fast main track at Churchill Downs on Sunday morning in :48.40 for trainer Bret Calhoun. Fine is nominated to the $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (Grade II) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 26. …
Bluegrass Hall LLC’s Optimizer, who is also nominated to the Kentucky Jockey Club, breezed four furlongs on the main track in :49.60. The work was the 14th fastest of 55 at the distance. …
Rule, a multiple graded-stakes winner of over $1 million, breezed five furlongs on the main track in 1:00.20 for trainer Todd Pletcher. The work was the fourth fastest of 38 at the distance Sunday morning. Owned by WinStar Farm LLC, Rule is nominated to Saturday’s River City Handicap (GIII) and the Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI), which is to be run on Nov. 25. …
Team Block’s Never Retreat, winner of the First Lady (GI) at Keeneland in her most recent start, breezed six furlongs on the main track in 1:14.40 for trainer Chris Block.
At the nearby Trackside Training Center, Juanita, winner of the Indiana Oaks (GII) in her most recent start, breezed five furlongs on a fast track in 1:02.40 for trainer Mike Maker. The work was the fifth fastest of 21 at the distance. A 3-year-old daughter of Mineshaft, Juanita is nominated to $175,000-added Falls City Handicap, which is to be run beneath the Twin Spires on Nov. 24.
Also working at Trackside, Shadwell Stable’s Tajaaweed breezed a “bullet” five furlongs in 1:01.60 for trainer Daniel Peitz. Tajaaweed, a 6-year-old son of Dynaformer, is nominated to Saturday’s River City Handicap at Churchill Downs.