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HRN Original Blog:
From Coast to Coast

Wise Dan faces toughest test of year in Shadwell

 
All year long Wise Dan has made winning look easy no matter what was thrown his way. The weather has pulled some surprises over the year, the end result being that the reigning Horse of the Year has raced on firm, good, and yielding surfaces. His foes tried to completely shut him down in the Firecracker by trapping him down on the rail, but the end result of that attempt was Churchill Downs’ most expensive lawn job and another trip to the winner’s circle for the chestnut gelding. He most recently set a track record while hardly breaking a sweat. At this point you have to wonder if there isn’t anything Wise Dan can’t do. Shoot, I wouldn’t be shocked one bit if he happened to sprout wings on Saturday when he faces his toughest challenge of the year in the Shadwell Turf Mile.
 
 
Wise Dan has already faced and defeated three of his Shadwell foes before, but the majority of the field is new faces for the Titan of the Turf. Leading the charge of newcomers is Argentina bred Group 1 winner Winning Prize. The 4-year old son of Pure Prize really loves the one mile distance; in 4 starts at that distance, he has 3 wins and a second place finish. He likes to run on the lead and since he drew the rail, he will have the jump on Silver Max. In his only start here in the U.S., he won an optional claimer at Del Mar by 4 lengths while missing Obviously’s track record for the mile by .86 seconds.
 
 
Second from the rail is Turallure. He is perhaps best known for finishing second by a nose to Court Vision in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Mile, the only BC Mile that the legendary Goldikova lost. Like Wise Dan, he is trained by Charlie Lopresti, but this will be the first time the two meet on the track. As good as he was in his sophomore season, Turallure hasn’t shown the same form since 2011. His best finish in over a year came back in July when he finished second in an optional claimer.
 
 
Skyring is the first of the three that Wise Dan has already faced and beaten. The English Channel colt won the G2 Dixie back in May, his first victory in a year. He has shown neither a proficiency at the distance nor against this level of competition and has been soundly defeated by Wise Dan in their three previous meetings. There is not really an upside here.
 
 
Hogy takes a major step up in class here but is no stranger to stakes company. He is four for six for the year, and three of those wins were in stakes races. He has shown a liking for the mile distance and will likely take up a stalking position with Wise Dan.
 
 
Multiple graded stakes winner Summer Front enters the Shadwell on a two race win streak and hasn’t finished off the board in three starts this year. He has a tendency to find trouble, but when he has a clean trip, he’s one to watch out for. He has never raced at Keeneland before, but he runs best at the Shadwell distance of a mile. He should be within perfect striking distance when the field turns for home, and I think he stands a good shot at upsetting the apple cart.
 
 
You never can count out Willcox Inn. He throws the occasional dud performance, but for the most part, he’s a solid graded stakes runner. Like Skyring, he has faced and lost to Wise Dan before, but he enters this spot off a nose decision in the Washington Park Handicap. He likely gained a confidence booster there and has proven that he can hang with this bunch.
 
 
Handsome Mike is a throw out for me. He has consistently competed in the higher levels of racing, but he really hasn’t had much career success. He is primarily a dirt runner and will be shipping in from the West Coast.
 
 
The Ramsey owned Coalport can be sneaky good when placed in the right spots. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the right spot for him. He won his last two starts by less than ¼ length combined and takes a major step up in class. The last time he faced a field of this caliber, he finished 6th, though he was only 5 lengths behind the winner.
 
 
Last year’s 3-year old turf sensation Silver Max rounds out the field of contenders facing Wise Dan. After streaking to 6 straight scores last year, three of them graded, Silver Max seemed to lose a few steps. He threw in four straight off the board efforts, but he finally seems to be rounding back into his old form. He has won 3 of his last four starts and will be tough to gun down if he gets an uncontested lead. He has the disadvantage of being the speed drawn furthest to the outside, much like he was in this race last year. Overall, though, this field appears to be weaker than last year’s, and Silver Max should be able to get a nice front-running position.
 
 
There is no need to further expound upon Wise Dan’s merits at this point. We all know what he is capable of, and the only question that remains whether or not he can be beaten. The likely answer at this point is a resounding “no,” though we all know that horse racing is highly unpredictable. But if you’re looking to beat Wise Dan at the windows, I like Silver Max, Willcox Inn, Summer Front, and Winning Prize.  

 

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Older Comments about Wise Dan faces toughest test of year in Shadwell...

Even though Winning Prize on paper is somewhat impressive, it’s difficult for speed horses to win races like these unless they are the lone speed. Silver Max and Winning Prize should do each other in and Wise Dan should be the beneficiary, but if the pace is really fast and Wise Dan gets too close to it he may be softened up for maybe Summer Front or Wilcox Inn. Hey, you’ve got to throw a clunker in sometime, and we some rain possible, today might be that time.
No worries. I had to double check myself since horses don't always race in the country they in which they were bred. Winning Prize is fast. This is going to be a good race.
My bad, i should of realized Argentina was not in Europe.I just assumed being a foreign horse.My apologies to the great footballer , Maradona.
Winning Prize shipped here from Argentina. He's an "on the lead" type, and his worst career effort came in a Group 1 where he was running 5th rather than 1st or 2nd. His last race in Argentina was a 1 mile race on turf. He won 1.31:45. That's faster than Wise Dan's 1.31:78 BC Mile mark.
I am not familiar with Winning Prizes' method of running in Europe,In his only start in SoCal, he went to the front.The fractions although legitimate,he would have to step it up significantly to hang with Maxie.I do not think Max knows the meaning of the term "backing down the pace", Should Handsome Mike throw his hat into the front runners ring.The giggles you will be hearing in the background ,will be those of Johhny V.. Good article in introducing the rest of the field to us.
When it comes right down to it, aside from Dan pulling a Cross Traffic, I believe the two in here with the best chance to beat Dan is Silver Max and Winning Prize. However, since Dan isn't a closer, a dawdling pace will only help so much. They'll have to bring their A+++ game to the starting gate.
Although a very worthy cast of competitors in the field. At the scale weight of 126 lbs each will be asked to carry . Personally,this race to me seems like a mismatch. Dan will not be conceding the weight allowance he has in previous races.He was giving up at least 2 lengths to his top competitor.I mentioned earlier,the only horse that will beat Dan on Saturday,is Dan himself. Either by just not showing up or maybe trying to copy Cross Traffic in the JCGC.I likeSilver Max to possibly run 2nd. Dale Romans has him in incredible form,using the old adage. Speed does kill.
Toughest test this year, probably so ... but can anyone in there beat him? I agree with your resounding no, or at least, highly unlikely.

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis
  
 

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

 

Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

 

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.