Some went as far as to say the owner of Wise Dan was acting like a fink for not running the reigning Horse of the Year in the most difficult race as possible. A race just like this past Saturday's Whitney Handicap. Fans and media types alike have been relentless in their incessant push to have the horse run outside of the familiar formula that has seen seven straight smashing scores.
Never mind that Wise Dan has proven to be one of the best, if not the very best thoroughbred runner in America over the past few years.
Never mind that Wise Dan has already proven to be versatile as hell, but probably best over middle distances on the lawn.
Never mind that he wasn’t exactly running against nags in those seven races; five were grade 1 and two were grade 2.
Never mind that as a horse of six-years-old, turf is probably a surface that is best for both his health and longevity.
And finally, never mind that the sole owner of the fantastic son of Lisa Danielle is named Morton Fink.
A new wrinkle, or make that, an old wrinkle may have given the beaters of ‘the Wise Dan needs to do more’ drum, cause for pause. This symbol of reason came in the form of his seven-year-old brother, Successful Dan.
The son of Successful Appeal (making him a half to the 2012 Horse of the Year), made his third start of the season the other day, and it happened to be a pip. Already a grade 1 winner himself (yes, I know the stewards took that one away from him), to many the elder Dan went into the Whitney Handicap as the wrong Dan. The performance should have gone a long way in flipping (apologies for the bad pun) that belief.
Despite a tumultuous leadup to the race itself, Successful Dan ran his eyeballs out as the stable second-string. A far from perfect trip proceeded a fast finishing second place in one of the best races in the nation this year.
Now maybe Morton Fink and Wise Dan can win the Fourstardave with some peace.