TWO-TIME HORSE OF THE YEAR WISE DAN WORKS
Morton Fink’s reigning two-time Horse of the Year, Wise Dan, worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 on his own early Tuesday morning at Keeneland.
With regular morning partner Damien Rock aboard, Wise Dan posted fractions of :13.20, :25.60, :37.40 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.20 and seven furlongs in 1:27.20.
“I am tickled with that. That is how I like them to work,” trainer Charlie LoPresti said. “His work last week (1:13.60 for six furlongs) was good and he got a good blow out of it. Today he galloped out as good or better than last week.”
LoPresti remains undecided about running Wise Dan on Friday, April 11, in the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1), the same race he used in 2013 to begin the gelding’s championship campaign.
“I want to run, but I don’t want to throw him to the wolves right away,” LoPresti said. “We are a little behind the eight ball because of the weather this winter and missed a week because of track maintenance. The guys that have been training in Florida may try to take advantage of that because they know what kind of winter we have had here.”
LoPresti said Wise Dan may come back next Tuesday with a breeze through the stretch.
“We have to get started somewhere,” LoPresti said. “I wish the race was at the end of the meet rather than the start. If he runs (in the Maker’s 46 Mile), there’s a good chance he could run back in Woodford (Reserve Turf Classic-G1 on May 3). If there are any hiccups, he can go in the Ben Ali (G3 on April 19) and from there maybe look at the dirt.”
After the work, Amy LoPresti texted her husband: “Looks good. Rock says awesome.”
Charlie LoPresti said Rock told him he thought Wise Dan was coming back to where he was last year.
“(Wise Dan) drug him around yesterday and he was dragging him to the pole today,” LoPresti said. “Last year, he really turned the corner after the Firecracker (G2 at Churchill Downs in June) and I thought his best race was the Woodbine Mile (G1).”
Now a two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner, Wise Dan owns the all-time Keeneland record with five graded stakes victories.
“I count my blessings every day,” LoPresti said. “I never could have imagined three or four years ago that I would be on this run; not only with him but with Successful Dan and Turallure.”
The 8-year-old Successful Dan will not run during Keeneland’s Spring Meet because of inflammation in a ligament that has forced LoPresti to back off in the gelding’s training.
OPENING-DAY TRANSYLVANIA ATTRACTS FIELD OF 12
Glen Hill Farm’s Global View, winner of the Generous (G3) last fall at Betfair Hollywood Park, heads a field of a dozen 3-year-olds entered Tuesday for Friday’s 26th running of the $100,000 Transylvania (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
The Transylvania serves as the highlight for the opening-day program that features 10 races with a first post time of 1:05 p.m. ET. The stakes is the ninth race, and post time is 5:13 p.m.
Trained by Tom Proctor, Global View was second in his 2014 debut to Bobby’s Kitten on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs on March 8. Jose Lezcano has the riding assignment Friday on Global View and will break from post position nine.
Likely to vie for favoritism with Global View is Santa Rosa Racing Stables’ Storming Inti.
Trained by Chad Brown, Storming Inti is a three-time stakes winner with grass stakes triumphs coming in the Awad at Belmont in 2013 and the Kitten’s Joy in January at Gulfstream. Storming Inti was third in his most recent start in the Palm Beach (G3).
Storming Inti will break from post position 10 and be ridden by Javier Castellano.
The field for the Transylvania, from the inside out, is as follows: Medal Count (Robby Albarado, 118 pounds), Ry’s the Man (Florent Geroux, 118), Woodfield Springs (Julien Leparoux, 118), Hesinfront (Corey Lanerie, 118), Kody With a K (Chris Rosier, 118), Red River Rising (Joe Rocco Jr., 118), Laddie Boy (Jesus Castanon, 118), Pleuven (FR) (Alan Garcia, 118), Global View (Lezcano, 123), Storming Inti (Castellano, 123), Picozza (John Velazquez, 118) and Can’thelpbelieving (IRE) (Joel Rosario, 118).
CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND LONGTIME TARGET FOR TESTA ROSSI (FR)
Asked when he and his partners decided to point their filly Testa Rossi (FR) to Saturday’s $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), James Covello said, “The minute she crossed the wire in the Breeders’ Cup.”
“Obviously I love the race, and it means a lot to me having won it before,” Covello said about the Central Bank Ashland, which he and partners Judy Hicks and Kathryn Nikkel won in 2011 with their 48-1 longshot, Lilacs and Lace. “It’s the kind of racing I like.”
On Nov. 1 at Santa Anita, Testa Rossi finished second to Chriselliam (IRE) in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) in her second race in North America. Chad Brown trains the daughter of Dr Fong, who won her 2014 debut in the Florida Oaks (G3) on turf at Tampa Bay Downs.
Covello, who works for Goldman Sachs on Wall Street, races Testa Rossi in partnership with Thomas Coleman and Mike Dohenney – “guys I’ve gotten to know through work,” he said. “This is the first horse we’ve owned together.” He said his wife, Teri, and their three children, along with Coleman and Dohenney, plan to be at Keeneland for the Central Bank Ashland.
Winning the race three years ago made quite an impression on Covello.
“I went back and watched the replay of the race a whole bunch of times the other day just channeling the positive energy,” he said.
Entries for the Central Bank Ashland will be drawn Wednesday.
Testa Rossi arrived in Brown’s barn at Keeneland on Sunday as did Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Toyota Blue Grass (G1) hopeful, Bobby’s Kitten.
Last year, Bobby’s Kitten won the Pilgrim (G3) at Belmont and was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). On March 8, he opened his 2014 campaign with an allowance win over one mile at Tampa Bay. The son of Kitten’s Joy won that race by 1½ lengths over Transylvania (G3) starter Global View.
Bobby’s Kitten will receive his final work for the Toyota Blue Grass over the coming weekend, Brown said. Javier Castellano will have the mount in the Toyota Blue Grass.
Brown will kick off the Spring Meet with two runners in Friday’s Transylvania, Pleuven (FR) and Storming Inti. His barn also includes Grade 1 winner Stephanie’s Kitten, who is pointed to the Jenny Wiley (G1) on Toyota Blue Grass Day for her 2014 debut, and recent stakes winner Ready to Act for the Beaumont (G2) Presented by Keeneland Select the following day.
“We’ve got some horses we’re really excited about running here,” Brown said.
ROSALIND STRETCHES LEGS FOR CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND
Landaluce Educe Stables’ Rosalind, who figures to be one of the leading contenders for Saturday’s $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), breezed a half-mile in :46.40 Tuesday morning after the renovation break under exercise rider Rafael Pena.
Fractions for the work were :11.80, :22.80 and a five-furlong gallop-out time off 1:00.40. The work was the fastest of 11 at the distance.
Rosalind finished second here last fall in the Darley Alcibiades (G1) prior to a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
Tuesday’s work turned out to be Plan B for trainer Ken McPeek.
“She was scheduled to work Saturday at Gulfstream, but as she was going to the pole a horse was injured and we pulled the plug,” McPeek said. “She was going to fly Sunday, so we couldn’t do it that day, but I am pleased she got to work at Keeneland. She likes that track.”
In her lone start of 2014, Rosalind finished third in an allowance race at Gulfstream.
“She got beat by the horse (In Tune) that came back to win the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2),” McPeek said. “If I could get a do over, I’d probably go to Oaklawn Park for the Honeybee (G3) because that looked like an easier spot.”
TONIGHT’S NIGHT SCHOOL LESSON TALKS
TURF AND SYNTHETIC HANDICAPPING
Night School, the racing industry’s free national online fan education program, readies horseplayers for spring tonight with an in-depth discussion titled “Turf and Synthetic Handicapping.” The 90-minute lesson, which begins at 8:30 p.m. ET, features analysts Katie Gensler of Keeneland and Dawn Lupul of Woodbine.
Gensler and Lupul will offer handicapping tips, winning angles and their experiences around the race track. The program will be a multimedia presentation with live audio streaming and interactive chat among students. Gensler and Lupul will join Horse Player NOW hosts Jeremy Plonk, Caton Bredar and renowned radio personality Steve Byk. The lesson will feature live-streamed audio among the guest panelists and fans can participate by calling into the show or asking questions directly through the live chat interface.
Keeneland Select is among the presenting title sponsors for Night School. For more information, visit horseplayernow.com/night-school.
THURSDAY IS APRIL SALE PREVIEW DAY
Potential buyers will have the opportunity to watch horses cataloged for Keeneland’s 22nd April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale during Preview Day on Thursday, April 3.
Preview Day begins at 10:30 a.m. ET. Works will be streamed live at Keeneland.com. Within hours of their conclusion, works will be posted on Keeneland.com and be available for viewing through the April 7 sale.
Work replays also will be available in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion TV viewing room beginning 8 a.m. on Friday, April 4, through the sale.
Keeneland has cataloged 125 two-year-olds for its 22nd annual April Sale, which begins at 4 p.m. ET on Monday, April 7. First held in 1993, the April Sale has produced more classic winners than any other 2-year-old sale, the most recent being 2013 Belmont (G1) winner Palace Malice.
OPENING WEEKEND SPECIAL EVENTS
Friday, April 4
Opening Day and College Scholarship Day. Keeneland welcomes students from colleges and universities in Kentucky and neighboring states. Admission is free with a college ID. Full-time students can register in the College Zone in the North Terrace to win one of ten $1,000 scholarships, and prizes from local vendors after each of the day’s races. The first 2,000 students to register will receive a free T-shirt courtesy of Kennedy’s Wildcat Den or a Vineyard Vines baseball hat. In the College Zone, students can enjoy music; free snacks from Qdoba, Raising Cane’s and Drake’s; photos by TOPS in Lex; and games and prizes from Orange Leaf. Students also can register for the Drake’s Handicapping Challenge; one student will win the opportunity to place a $500 bet on the day’s feature race, the $100,000 Transylvania (G3).
The Hill. Keeneland’s official tailgate lot, which is adjacent to the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center, features food trucks, a jumbo television screen, wireless wagering and wagering terminals, race-day programs, a Keeneland Gift Shop kiosk and free shuttles to the track. BETologists, Keeneland’s wagering experts, will be available to answer fans’ questions.
The Keeneland Gift Shop Presents Vineyard Vines trunk show from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. ET.
Friday Pick 4 Presented by TVG. A $200,000-guaranteed pool will be offered on Races 6-9.
Saturday, April 5
Bluegrass Double. Keeneland encourages fans to wear blue to the track to show their support for the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, which has advanced to the Final Four. Post time for the first of 10 races at Keeneland is 1:05 p.m. ET. The featured ninth race is the $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1) with a post time of 5:13 p.m. Post time for the 10th and final race is 5:44 p.m. UK’s game vs. Wisconsin is scheduled to start at approximately 8:50 p.m.
Sunrise Trackside sponsored by LEX18, the Lexington Herald-Leader and Dunkin’ Donuts offers activities for all ages beginning at 7 a.m. Fans can enjoy Breakfast With the Works, a Southern-style breakfast and trackside commentary during the morning workouts with a show and tell with farrier James Guthrie (until 8:30 a.m.); children’s activities in the Kids Club Corner (7-9 a.m.); a demonstration in the Paddock by Central Kentucky Riding for Hope (9 a.m.); guided walking tours of Keeneland (8-10 a.m.); a trackside handicapping seminar (11:30 a.m.); and a Q&A session with jockey Joel Rosario in the Paddock (12:05 p.m.). Keeneland Bugler Steve Buttleman will be on hand to take photos with fans.
The Hill. Keeneland’s official tailgate lot located adjacent to the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center, will feature food trucks, a jumbo television screen, wireless wagering and wagering terminals, race-day programs, a Keeneland Gift Shop kiosk, free shuttles to the track and live bluegrass music. BETologists will be available to answer fans’ questions.
Craft Beer Tent. Available on the North Terrace patio, the special selection of craft beers includes Country Boy, Kentucky Ale Kolsch, Land Shark, Shock Top, Sierra Nevada and Sweetwater.
Sunday, April 6
Military Day at the Races, presented by Marathon. Keeneland will honor all active and inactive members of the military and their families with free general admission with a military ID at any pass gate. The North Terrace will be transformed into the Military Family Zone with free food, live music, children’s activities and more. Keeneland will welcome a special guest, U.S. Army Sgt. Dallas Robinson, for a meet and greet with fans. Robinson, a Kentuckian, was a member of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team that competed in Sochi, Russia.