Horse of the Year Wise Dan breezed a bullet half-mile on the Polytrack at Keeneland June 22 in :46 1/5 and later was named the 128-pound high weight for the upcoming $150,000 Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs.
"He worked really easily and went in hand without being asked to do too much," trainer Charlie LoPresti said. "He's doing as well as I could ask.
Wise Dan, a 6-year-old owned and bred by Morton Fink, has won his last six starts and five straight grade I races. He has been pointed for the June 29 Firecracker at one mile on the Churchill Downs turf for some time, but LoPresti hasn't fully committed.
"The plan is still to go to the Firecracker, but I'll need to discuss the weights with Mr. Fink," he said.
In his two starts of 2013, Wise Dan won the Maker's 46 Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland and then recorded a 4 3/4-length victory in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) over the Churchill course on Kentucky Derby Day. Overall, he has won 15 of 22 starts and has a bankroll of $4,059,631.
A gelding by Wiseman's Ferry, Wise Dan won the 2011 Firecracker at odds of more than 14-1 in his turf debut. No horse has won the Firecracker twice.
Little Mike (123), Za Approval (120) and Optimizer (120) are next on the Firecracker weights, but they are not expected to run. Horses known to be under consideration for the Firecracker (with trainer and weight) include Corporate Jungle (Tom Proctor, 117), Lea (Al Stall Jr., 117), Daddy Nose Best (Steve Asmussen, 116), Seruni (Phil Oliver, 115), Laurie's Rocket (D. Wayne Lukas, 114), and Dimension (Conor Murphy, 113).
Entries for the Firecracker Handicap will be taken June 26.
On the Churchill Downs worktab Saturday was three-time grade I winner Dullahan, who breezed five furlongs in :59 3/5 for trainer Dale Romans. The work was the third fastest of 38 at the distance. Most recently 11th in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), Donegal Racing's 4-year-old Even the Score colt is being pointed to the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/4 miles on grass July 13.