Photo: Terri Cage Photography
For at least a moment, forget any complaints you may have about
Wise Dan’s connections and their
decision to keep the 2012 Horse of the Year within his comfort zone. Overlook
any time the six-year-old gelding may have caused you to lose a bet, or
defeated one of your favorite horses. Focus on the brilliance Wise Dan
possesses, the thrill he brings to the races, and the longevity of his career.
This horse is a blessing to American racing.
Some say horse racing is a dying sport and although this theory can be
disputed, it is clear that the general public should have greater exposure to
the industry we love, allowing them to see the beauty and excitement of racing.
And one of the best ways for them to experience this is through horses like
In recent years, American racing has been fortunate enough to share superstars
like Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta with those who do not closely
follow the sport. While some of those people remained avid fans of racing, many
of them left when those mares retired. They need to be drawn in again.
Wise Dan is a horse that could do just that. Sure, he’s not a speedy filly defeating
the males in prestigious races like Rachel Alexandra or an undefeated mare
accumulating one suspenseful victory after another like Zenyatta, but he is a
gifted, consistent gelding with a winning streak of his own, undeniable talent,
and a path winding in the direction of greatness.
Although it is his connections’ plans to keep the champion in mile-long turf
races, Wise Dan’s performances remain electrifying. His goals don’t currently
include the Breeders’ Cup Classic or the Dubai World Cup but that does not
prevent him from being a gifted, exhilarating horse to follow. Despite not
competing in the more famous races, Wise Dan could easily draw fans in with his
growing winning streak and indisputable brilliance.
Moreover, Wise Dan is a gelding. At six years old, the Charlie Lopresti trainee
certainly could have more years of racing ahead of him. This means more races
and more time to attract fans. The longer he’s around, the more likely it is
for him to gain loyal fans that will stick around.
Wise Dan has already taken a step in the right direction. On the Saturday Wise
Dan captured his second consecutive Fourstardave Handicap en route to his
eighth win in a row, attendance at Saratoga increased by 19%, whereas handle went up by 8%. A trending topic on
Twitter, Wise Dan’s win was televised on national television through NBC.
While some in the racing industry may be bored by Wise Dan’s campaign, those
with less knowledge of the sport could certainly gain an interest in this
talented horse. His greatness and the competitiveness of his races may be
debatable, but the fact that he should be shared with a greater audience is
Wise Dan could introduce a multitude of new fans to the sport. So, take that
moment to forget any reservations you may have against him and fill that moment
with respect for the horse. Then tell others about him. I did. As a result, Wise
Dan gained a handful of additional fans who now eagerly await his next race. Isn’t
that we, as people who love the sport of racing, should strive to do: respect
our athletes and bring new fans to the Sport of Kings?