In an effort to garner Horse of the Year votes, Wise Dan arguably will face the toughest field of the 2-day event. Wise Dan has been installed as the 9/5 morning line favorite for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile on Saturday. The 5-year-old Wiseman’s Ferry gelding arrived from Kentucky on Wednesday and settled into his new surroundings very nicely.
“He came in here yesterday very confident and cleaned out the feed tub last night,” trainer Charles Lopresti said.
After a good night’s sleep Wednesday, Wise Dan galloped once around Santa Anita’s turf course Thursday morning under exercise rider Damien Rock.
“Damien said he liked the ground out there and that’s all he really needs. I just wanted to get him out there to jog and gallop a little just to see it,” Lopresti said. Rock said, “He is so strong that I don’t want to let him get away from me so close to the race. I am happy that it went well.”
A perfect 3-for-3 on turf this year, Wise Dan is trying to complete a trifecta of Grade 1 victories that have never been accomplished (Woodbine Mile, Shadwell Turf Mile and Breeders’ Cup Mile. In fact, no Woodbine Mile winner has returned to capture the Breeders’ Cup Mile, but Lopresti is not deterred.
“He is better now than he was before the Shadwell (Turf Mile on Oct. 6 at Keeneland), but I say that after every race,” Lopresti said. “He’s a good one and hopefully he will prove it Saturday. He will have to run the race of his life to win, but then whoever wins will have to, too.”
Lopresti was second in last year’s Mile with Turallure, and understands who Wise Dan’s main competition is if he wants to take home the gold.
“The Europeans have a very good horse in Excelebration who has been beaten only by Frankel and they have a very nice filly in Moonlight Cloud,” Lopresti said. “And there are a couple of nice American horses that people are overlooking such as Obviously, who is very fast.”
(Wise Dan looking for his competition)
A victory by Wise Dan in the Mile will spark a debate for Horse of the Year, especially if either Game On Dude, Ron the Greek or Point of Entry are victorious in their races. The last American-based grass runner to capture Horse of the Year was Kotashaan in 1993.
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