Wise Dan on fence for Shadwell; Groupie Doll sizzles ahead of TCA
Morton Fink's Wise Dan, winner of the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile in his most recent start on September 16, was doing well Saturday morning after working a best-of-25 half-mile in :47 2/5 over Keeneland's Polytrack on Friday.
"I just did a little something with him yesterday," trainer Charlie Lopresti said. "He's 110 percent. He just does it so easy."
The victory at Woodbine earned Wise Dan a spot in the starting gate for the Breeders' Cup Mile to be run November 3 at Santa Anita. The decision on whether next Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile will serve as Wise Dan's final prep for the Breeders' Cup will come early next week.
"Mr. Fink and I will talk the first of the week, weigh the options and make a plan," Lopresti said of Wise Dan, who shattered the Keeneland track record for 1 1/8 miles on the main track (1:46 3/5) with his 10 1/2-length victory in the Grade 3 Ben Ali in April.
"There's a good chance he'll run. If he wins, it will be like a workout for the Breeders' Cup, but if he struggles, then I've blown the Breeders' Cup. Plus, Johnny (jockey John Velazquez) can't ride because he has a commitment in the (Grade 1) Champagne that day at Belmont. That's a negative."
Listed as probable for the Shadwell Turf Mile are Corporate Jungle, Data Link, Doubles Partner, Silver Max, Willcox Inn and Worthadd.
Fred Bradley, Buff Bradley, Carl Hurst and Brent Burns' Groupie Doll, winner of the Grade 1 Madison at Keeneland in April, tuned up for an expected run in next Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America by working a half-mile in a bullet :46 1/5 over a fast track at Churchill Downs.
"She went really well," trainer Buff Bradley said of the work that was the fastest of 63 at the distance and nearly three seconds faster than the next quickest clocking.
"She went a little faster than I wanted; I wanted :48, but three horses broke off behind her and she got engaged early. But John (rider John McKee) said she was in hand all the way."
The Thoroughbred Club of America at six furlongs is a "Win and You're In" race for the seven-furlong Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint scheduled for November 2 at Santa Anita.
Since winning the Madison by three lengths, Groupie Doll took the Grade 1 Humana Distaff by 7 1/4 lengths on Derby Day at Churchill Downs and three weeks ago won the Grade 2 Presque Isle Downs Masters by 3 3/4 lengths. Rajiv Maragh, who has been aboard for those three wins, will have the riding assignment in the TCA.
"She has held her weight and not backed up at all," Bradley said. "We will go easy with her next week and bring her over Saturday."
The Thoroughbred Club of America is also expected to attract Mega Dream, Rumor, Sally Sally and Third Chance.
The Shadwell Turf Mile and TCA are part of a spectacular menu of nine graded stakes, five of them Grade 1s, during Fall Stars Weekend that kicks off Keeneland's 17-day meet.
Racing Secretary Ben Huffman has furnished the probable fields.
Likely to line up in Friday's Grade 1 Alcibiades, a 1 1/16-mile "Win and You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, are Daar Zayed, Fully Living, Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie winner Gold Edge, Kitten's Dumplings, Pure Indy, two-time Calder stakes winner Rose to Gold, Roveing Patrol and Spring in the Air.
Friday's Grade 3 Phoenix, a six-furlong "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Sprint, could include Aikenite, Delaunay and Doctor Chit. Possible starters include Hamiltonian, Lonesome Street, Night Party, Noble's Promise, Upgrade and Will's Wildcat.
Doctor Chit, a daylight maiden winner here in the spring, worked a half-mile in :47 2/5 Saturday.
Next Saturday's Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity, a 1 1/16-mile "Win and You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, is likely to feature Charming Kitten, Dynamic Sky, He's Had Enough, Joha, Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity winner Pataky Kid, Tizracer and Tree of Life.
Donegal Racing's two nominees for the Breeders' Futurity, Craving Carats and Roman's Avenue, both worked Saturday. The duo made the trip to Keeneland from their base at Churchill Downs and worked five furlongs together with Craving Carats timed in a bullet :59 4/5 and Roman's Avenue in 1:00 2/5. Both Dale Romans trainees are also nominated to the Grade 3 Bourbon on turf October 7.
Projected for Saturday's Grade 1 First Lady over a grassy mile are Daisy Devine, winner of the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley in April, and Summer Soiree.
The Grade 3 Woodford Stakes, a 5 1/2-furlong turf dash, should attract Chamberlain Bridge, Credit Report, Great Attack and Great Mills.
Headlining the October 7 program is the Grade 1 Spinster, a 1 1/8-mile "Win and You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic. Aruna is set to defend her title against Cathy's Crunches, Karlovy Vary, Kitty in a Tizzy, Tiz Miz Sue and Upperline. Smart Sting is considered as possible.
The Bourbon, a 1 1/16-mile "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, could pit I'mboundtoscore and Slamarama.
One of the prime contenders for the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup October 13, Stephanie's Kitten, covered six furlongs in company Saturday in 1:14. The Wayne Catalano trainee captured last year's Alcibiades and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, and most recently landed the Grade 2 Lake Placid.
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