If all goes well, two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan will begin his road to the Breeders' Cup World Championships in the $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 30.
Trainer Charlie LoPresti had said previously he was leaning toward he Sept. 14 Ricoh Woodbine Mile at Canada's Woodbine Racecourse as the most likely spot for the 7-year-old gelding's comeback after recovering from colic surgery, but he opted for the Bernard Baruch two weeks earlier because "he's doing very well right now. He's on top of his game."
LoPresti said there is still a possibility Morton Fink's homebred, who has earned more than $6.8 million, would not run in the 1 1/16-mile Bernard Baruch on grass, but right now that is the plan.
"We will enter and see how the race comes up, but if you aren't entered you won't run. I am going to enter and see how it turns out and how the horse does. He's awful good right now. I just don't want to sit on him forever and if I don't enter I won't have a chance to run."
If, for some reason, such as inclement weather that affected the Saratoga course conditions on Bernard Baruch day, and Wise Dan did not run Aug. 30 then he would be pointed toward the mile race at Woodbine, the conditioner said.
"The goal for this horse right now is the best route to get him to the Breeders' Cup," LoPresti said. "He's very good right now. This race makes sense. He's right in his back yard. All he has to do is walk across the street and run. Unless something goes wrong within the next 10 days, my decision is to enter in the Bernard Baruch and if all the stars line up, he will run in the Bernard Baruch."
Also, according to LoPresti, there is even the possibility of Wise Dan running in both the Bernard Baruch and Ricoh Mile.
"He will go home to Keeneland Race Course as soon as this meet is over with, and then I have options to either run him in the Shadwell (Turf Mile, Oct. 4) or, who knows, maybe if this race doesn't take too much out of him run in the Woodbine Mile in two weeks and not run in the Shadwell Mile, or vice-versa.
"It just depends on how everything comes along. We have to work backward from the Breeders' Cup because that is the ultimate goal. But he is 110% right now and I think it makes sense to enter in this race [Bernard Baruch]."
During his 2012 Horse of the Year campaign, Wise Dan used victories in both the Ricoh Mile and Shadwell Turf Mile en route to success in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Last year, Wise Dan won the Woodbine stakes and was second in the Keeneland stakes before successfully defending his Breeders' Cup Mile title and a second Horse of the Year and champion male turf horse championship.
In his only two starts this year, Wise Dan was a repeat winner in both the Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland and Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, both Grade 1.
Since recovering from the mid-May colic bout, the gelding has been working steadily toward his comeback.