There was no stopping Morton Fink’s homebred Wise Dan, who broke Keeneland’s 1 1/8-mile track record while scoring a 10 1/2-length win in the 82nd
running of the $150,000 Ben Ali (G3) before a crowd of 16,068 on
Sunday. With the victory, worth $90,000, the 5-year-old Wise Dan also
became a millionaire.
4-5 favorite in his first start since winning the Clark (G1) at
Churchill Downs in November, Wise Dan broke from post 6 and pulled
jockey John Velazquez to the lead after the first quarter-mile of the
race for 4-year-olds and older horses. The gelding was never challenged
as he widened his lead at every call. His time of 1:46.63 bested
Carriage Trail’s track record of 1:46.77 set in 2008 and Midway Road’s
stakes record of 1:46.78 from 2004.
Dan, a Kentucky-bred gelding by Wiseman’s Ferry, is trained by Charlie
Lopresti. He and Velazquez teamed to win the sixth race on Sunday with
Let’s Go Ben.
Wise Dan paid $3.60, $3 and $2.60. Finishing second was Big Blue Kitten, ridden by Javier Castellano, who paid $5.40 and $3.80. Guys Reward, with Corey Lanerie aboard, was third and returned $6.20.
Cease ran fourth, and was followed in order by Eye of the Leopard, Ioya Bigtime and Rogue Romance.
Winner of the Fayette (G2) at Keeneland last October, Wise Dan is a half brother to Grade 2 winner Successful Dan,
who won a Keeneland allowance race on April 6 in his 2012 debut. With
the Ben Ali victory, Wise Dan improved his career record to nine wins in
15 starts and earnings of $1,009,601. He is expected to make his next
start in the Stephen Foster (G1) at Churchill on June 16.