Morton Fink's Ricoh Woodbine Mile (gr. IT) winner Wise Dan is the star attraction of a power-packed $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) Oct. 6 at Keeneland, where he'll take on 11 other starters 20 days after his most recent score.
"He came out of the Woodbine Mile very well and the race didn't take much out of him, so it makes sense," trainer Charlie Lopresti said of the decision to run back at the Lexington oval. "He's never been better, otherwise I wouldn't do it."
In April, Wise Dan smashed the main track record at Keeneland while winning the Ben Ali (gr. III) by 10 1/2 lengths. Now he looks to springboard a Shadwell victory to a berth in either the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) or the Mile (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 3.
Race nine on a 10-race card with an approximate post time of 5:21 p.m. EDT, the Shadwell is a "Win and You're In" event for the Mile, although Wise Dan already earned an automatic Breeders' Cup entry when he dominated an international field at Woodbine by 3 1/4 lengths.
The 5-year-old Wiseman's Ferry gelding brings a two-race winning streak on grass into the Shadwell. Prior to winning the Woodbine Mile, he took the Aug. 11 Fourstardave (gr. IIT) by five lengths at Saratoga Race Course. In his only loss in four starts this year, he finished second by a head to Ron the Greek in the Stephen Foster (gr. I) on the dirt at Churchill Downs.
Jose Lezcano has the mount on Wise Dan, replacing regular rider John Velazquez, who will honor commitments in New York. The duo breaks from post 5.
Chief among the opposition is Stuart Janney III's Data Link, winner of the Maker's 46 Mile (gr. IT) at the Keeneland spring meet. Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, Data Link seeks to become the first horse to win the Maker's 46 and Shadwell in the same year. The 4-year-old War Front colt recently ran second in the Sept. 1 Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga, and won the June 10 Monmouth Stakes (gr. IIT) a start before.
Dominus won the Bernard Baruch, and is two-for-two since switching to the lawn for Todd Pletcher after an 11-month layoff. The 4-year-old son of Smart Strike , who races for George Bolton, Stonestreet Stables, and Spendthrift Farm, was campaigned on dirt in key graded races in 2011 by trainer Steve Asmussen. He won the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) before going to the sidelines in the middle of last summer after a fourth-place finish in the Foxwood's King's Bishop (gr. I).
Mark Bacon and Dana Wells' Silver Max takes on older horses for the first time in the Shadwell. The sophomore son of Badge of Silver won the Transylvania (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland in the spring to kick off a five-race string of wire-to-wire stakes victories highlighted with a triumph in the $600,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT). Trained by Dale Romans, he recently ran fifth in the Aug. 18 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park.
Gary and Mary West's grade III winner Corporate Jungle was second to Wise Dan in the Fourstardave last time out for trainer Chad Brown. James Covello and James Dolan's Swift Warrior recently took the Aug. 29 Win Stakes at Saratoga by two lengths for John Terranova II. WinStar Farm's grade II victor Doubles Partner hasn't raced since a fourth-place finish in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill, and was third in the Maker's 46 April 13 after winning the March 3 Canadian Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park.
Also in the running for the Shadwell are Diego Romeo's Worthadd, a group II winner in Milan who ran seventh in the Woodbine Mile in his North American debut for trainer Sir Mark Prescott; grade II winner Willcox Inn, who recently finished eighth in the Arlington Million (gr. IT), and Bluegrass Hall's Skyring, runner-up in the Sept. 2 Saranac Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Saratoga for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.