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Breeders Cup 2015
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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Wise Dan Towers Over Woodbine Mile Competition

Wise Dan 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire


Reigning Horse of the Year, Wise Dan, was installed as an overwhelming 2-5 favorite after drawing post position number four, in a field of six, for Sunday’s $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile. The Grade 1 affair will be contested at a flat mile over one of the best turf courses in the world at the Suburban Toronto oval. To be ridden by John Velazquez, Wise Dan will be looking to repeat the impressive victory he registered in this race last year, when he romped home 3 ¾-lengths clear of the rest.

The field from the rail out with morning line odds: 

1) Riding the River  15-1  - One of the two local horses in the field, Riding the River finished a late-running 4th in this event last year. The winner of 1-of-4 this year, the David Cotey trained runner got off to a good start this year, but has been a little disappointing with a 7th and 3rd in his last two, including finishing behind Dimension and Excaper in the 7-furlong Play the King in his latest. He looks to be the longest shot of anyone in the small field, and will have to hustle late to repeat his good effort of last year. Interestingly, just like the defending champion, he is a six-year-old gelding by the Pennsylvania sire Wiseman’s Ferry.

2) Excaper  12-1  - Runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in 2011, the talented, but lightly raced four-year-old son of Exchange Rate, only has two starts so far in 2013. After a sharp allowance victory, Excaper chase Dimension all the way around in the Play the King, before finally succumbing to that one by 2 ½ lengths. Both of those races came at seven panels, and he figures hard pressed to be holding off the champ and the late runners when the real running begins down the Woodbine stretch.

3) Trade Storm  8-1  - The wildcard of this field, Trade Storm will be ridden by veteran Gary Stevens as he invades from across the pond for trainer David Simcock. Despite having nothing better than a third place finish to show for his last five efforts, the five-year-old son of Trade Fair has been keeping excellent company in England, while never being embarrassed. A winner of a group 2 earlier this year in Dubai, the mile specialist may find the company on Sunday (other than Wise Dan) to be a bit easier than he has become accustomed to, and could be the one to give the heavy favorite his top challenge.

4) Wise Dan  2-5 - The winner of three Eclipse Awards (Horse of the Year, Turf Male and Older Male) last year, Wise Dan will carry the top weight of 124, as he spots the field between three and seven pounds. That should be of little worry to a horse who has won eight consecutive races as he attempts to become the first horse to repeat in the Woodbine Mile. Tougher tests are on the horizon for the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Mile champion, but as far as Sunday, anything near his normal race, will put him in the winner’s circle once again … and this is one horse who doesn’t really throw in bad ones.

5) Dimension  10-1  - Coming off the race of his life in easily winning last month’s Play The King, the English import will need to do it again, and then some to put a scare in the defending champion. A new running style of going right to the early lead, employed while winning for the first time in North America in his last, does make him a bit of a threat, but even considering his last, there is nothing in his form to suggest that he can handle the type of horsepower he will compete with in the Woodbine Mile.

6) Za Approval  4-1  - A deserving second choice on the morning line, Za Approval has moved well into graded stakes racing this year for conditioner, Christophe Clement. A consistent sort, and a winner of 6-of-12 lifetime on the turf, the five-year-old son of champion Ghostzapper has won the Appleton, Red Bank, and finished second in the Shoemaker Mile in his last three starts, while utilizing a solid closing kick. Having said that, he proved no match for the best horse he has faced to date, when placing behind Obviously at Hollywood. 


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Older Comments about Wise Dan Towers Over Woodbine Mile Competition...

I have no problem with Wise Dan getting HOTY in 2012. I do have a problem with the fact that having gotten that award, he also received Older Male Horse when Fort Larned a dirt horse in n/a, where 80% to 90% of the races are run on dirt, had a great year topped off by an excellent win in the BCC at the n/a classic distance of 10 furlongs. I thought Little Mike did enough on grass going not only running the n/a classic distance of 10f and winning, but also the European classic distance of 12f, and in the BCT no less beating the likes of a resurgent St. Nicholas Abbey, and the always formidable Point Of Entry. To put icing on the cake this 83 year old codger Morton Fink told the voters and fans alike in no uncertain terms that he loves counting his abundance of money much more than he cares about us, the people who ultimately pay him that money by his continued reluctance to run this horse farther on grass or even try dirt again. Go ahead reward him again this year with another three Eclipse Awards, but this time look around to see if anyone cares anymore what your opinion is. Just one more thing that Pxxxxx me off. This man is a very successful media person who brought joy to so many with his business exploits, now he has the #1 entertainment product in n/a horse racing and he's enjoying busting our bxxxs by not letting us fully enjoy it. It took time to write this in a civil manner, but I wanted it understood that while I love Wise Dan, I don't like Morton Fink.
  • Show All 3 Comments
  • Sully · So he doesn't deserve to be recognized as the best horse because of your discontent with his owner. Yeah, that's justified. :/ · 1316 days ago
  • Sully · Maybe that's the "criteria" you yurn for when deciding Eclipse awards you were previously so fixiated on. Crap, based on that analogy, Big Brown definitely shouldn't have been champion 3YO in '08 because Dutrow's the biggest douchebag I've seen in racing. · 1316 days ago
Horse went from point A to point B faster than any other animal on that course...His nemesis was the clock....WP< We (my wife and I ) went down there three times looking for you..Was able to chat with Jamie Martin about our needing more lights on the GRASS finish line however..Hope the better half is feeling well soon. Big days like today bring out the great feedbags for all of our sportswriters and photographers...Good meal today was no exception.
Track record also....Holy Schnike!!!
Stakes record in hand....WOW. Is all I have to say. VERY VERY Impressive by Wise Dan.
Due to a sick wifey, my day at Woodbine was canceled. At least they are broadcasting the races on local sports TV. Travel_Vic, we will catch up at the Canadian International.
Jokingly asked the DRF columnist if Wise Dan was just getting an appearance fee? Weather should hold and he can only beat himself
LIKE to icy. I don't know the owner, though, so I don't have any personal remark about the man.
small fields have competed before
Most likely. He is the man. But I want to see what Excaper does stalking the pace, and when Dan makes his move I am hoping Excaper can withstand Dans run. He probably won't, but I am hoping for a great result for a local runner. Trade storm has a very good turn of foot, and his win in Dubai in the Zabeel Mile(just watched the replay) and I still don't know how he won that but his turn of foot was excellent. Looking at his most recent efforts, he did run ok vs Dawn Approach and Toronado in the Sussex stakes, and they are high quality milers in their own right. I think Dans margin could be less then 2 lengths. Actually I am more HOPING, that way the race has a more exciting finish. If Dan is striding home in hand out front , it will make for great Pics!
*Open lengths winner* Dan is, EPT.
I hope he loses. This may be the first time in a race I'm not wagering on I feel this way. Then we'll see about "more Eclipse Awards" for the grass miler!
  • EP Taylor · He s a very good Grass miler. Right now looks to be best Turf horse already. He will get at least ONE eclipse this year. · 1320 days ago
  • EP Taylor · He s a very good Grass miler. Right now looks to be best Turf horse already. He will get at least ONE eclipse this year. · 1320 days ago
Trade Storm could also be a factor in here. This should be a good race, and I don't think Dan will run away from this field like last year. I don't THINK ;)
The best horse can lose on any given day but I won't put my money against Wise Dan.
Is Mr. Fink actually seeking to garner more Eclipse top honors (HOY)? I can't tell that by having read his comments/quotes in DRF, etc. He seems to want to keep racing WD while having a relatively safe season.
Isn't this the smallest field ever assembled for this race? Look forward to hearing the good 'ole "he beat nothing" and "he should face top-level dirt horses" excuses after this one. I don't ever recall a field this small in this race, and I'm pretty positive it hasn't happened since becoming a million dollar race. He can only race against those that show up, and this isn't his home track, so I don't want to hear that excuse either.
Chalk up another win for Wise Dan, but I think it will come with more of a wanting from the public for him to try dirt against top competition.
Woodbine Mile: next stop for Wise Dan's "undefeated year" and more Eclipse Awards.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

As Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of Directors of The Exceller Fund. Brian also consults for leading contest site Derby Wars, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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