Both Wise Dan and Groupie Doll, who led the list of notable upset losers in major stakes tests nationally Oct. 5, remain on target for their respective dates in the Breeders' Cup World Championships, according to their trainers.
The morning after Wise Dan's runner-up finish in the off-the-turf Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. II), trainer Charlie LoPresti said the reigning Horse of the Year came out of his race in good order and is pointing toward a defense of his title in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park.
"Those were not ideal conditions yesterday," LoPresti said Oct. 6 of the race, contested at 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack as Keeneland was pounded by 1 1/2 inches of rain in less than two hours. "I was a little disappointed that he lost, but he never stopped trying and was gaining on the winner (Silver Max )."
Breaking from the outside post in the 10-horse field, Wise Dan was bumped going into the first turn and floated wide. He raced far off the rail the entire trip in finishing 1 1/4 lengths behind Silver Max.
"I looked at the Trakus (stats) after the race and it showed he ran 40 feet farther than the winner," LoPresti said. "That computes to losing about four lengths."
Morton Fink's 6-year-old homebred gelding by Wiseman's Ferry will do the bulk of his training for the Breeders' Cup at Keeneland.
"We will make sure he is OK for the Breeders' Cup and go out on the 29th (of October)," LoPresti said. The schedule is similar to last year when Wise Dan shipped to California during the middle of Breeders' Cup week.
The loss was the first in six races this season for Wise Dan and spoiled a nine-race winning streak.
Elsewhere, trainer and part-owner Buff Bradley said champion Groupie Doll is also being pointed toward defense of her title in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) Nov. 2. The 6-year-old daughter of Bowman's Band returned to Churchill Downs after finishing third in Saturday's Thoroughbred Club of America (gr. II) at Keeneland. Groupie Doll finished 1 3/4 lengths behind the victorious Judy the Beauty.
"She's tired, but she had to run the whole way yesterday," Bradley said. "That was not her typical race yesterday. Usually she is just getting started the first quarter of a mile, but yesterday she was in against a couple of Polytrack professionals (in Judy the Beauty and Gypsy Robin).
"I was more concerned about yesterday's race than the Breeders' Cup," he added. "Six furlongs is not her best distance and I think she is better on dirt."
The BC Filly & Mare Sprint will be contested at seven furlongs.
Bradley said he has scheduled one work for Groupie Doll Oct. 19 and plans to ship her to Santa Anita Oct. 22.