Photo: Don August
Wise Dan became the third repeat winner of this year's Breeders' Cup as he surged late on the wide outside to defend his Breeders' Cup Mile title. The mount of Jose Lezcano after the injury sustained to John Velazquez earlier on the card, Wise Dan pecked coming out of the gate resulting in a restrained position through the early stages of the race. With Obviously setting blistering fractions on the front end urged along by his pace rival Silver Max, the race began to set up perfectly for the late closers, with Wise Dan included amongst them. Despite the momentary concern as the Wertheimer and Frere owned colt Silentio dived to the inside rail seemingly full of run, and whilst Za Approval continued to find from the deepest depths of his A game, Wise Dan was not in the mood to be denied in his defence as he surged to victory for his friend and regular jockey, John Velazquez, who is reported to have had his spleen removed as part of an operation at a nearby Pasadena hospital after a fall from Secret Compass earlier on the card. Trainer Charles LoPresti had been open earlier in the week that he believed he was to blame for the defeat last time out at the hands of Silver Max, blaming the decision not to get a work into his star gelding in between the Woodbine Mile and that race for the subsequent defeat. However, Wise Dan arrived full of enthusiasm at Santa Anita this week, bounding around the 'backstage' area with a renewed zest for life. There could be no denying that Wise Dan was very much raring to go and gasping to defend his title.
Many have been vocal in the fact that Wise Dan did not seem to have as emphatic a winner in his races this season, with many stating he had lost a step this year, but whilst this race was not visually impressive with an extendable winning margin, the manner of the victory after pecking coming out of the gate did all to suggest that Wise Dan has achieved an exceptional victory from a less-than-convenient area of adversity.
Za Approval, second to Wise Dan in his emphatic GI Woodbine Mile victory, was again the best of the rest as he continued to find with great courage to hold off the rail-running effort of Silentio - who finished in third.
Silver Max, an influential part of the early pace set up, impressed in holding fourth ahead of Obviously.
Olympic Glory and Cristoforo Colombo could not achieve a victory that would have equalled the winning-most total of Breeders' Cup victories for the Europeans.