Wise Dan sat a perfect ground saving tactical trip and blew the doors off his rivals in Saturday's Grade I Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park.
Obviously set realistic fractions for the first four furlongs but the tempo picked up considerably after that and Wise Dan was always traveling smoothly under John Velazquez.
Wise Dan tipped off the rail turning for home and the race was over in a matter of strides.
Animal Kingdom, making his first start in more than eight months, rallied for the place in a gallant effort.
Obviously held the show and Excelebration finished fourth.
Wise Dan, trained by Charles Lopresti and owned by Morton Fink, paid $5.60 to win. He is definitely a serious contender for Horse of the Year honors.
John Velazquez (jockey, Wise
Dan, 1st) – “I just wanted to get him in the right
position. When I was able to do that, and you’ve got a horse as good as
this, you can expect a result like this.”
(trainer, Wise Dan, 1st) – “I was able to use that race at
Keeneland (Shadwell Turf Mile) as the perfect setup for today. I didn’t
have to do much with him. He proved he was the best horse today. I never
had any doubts. I was just a little concerned about how the race would shape
up. He’s just a special horse. We’ll probably take him back to our
farm in Kentucky and give him some time. We’ll make a plan for him at the
first of the year.”
Rafael Bejarano (jockey,
Animal Kingdom, 2nd) – “They were going so fast early and I
was stuck down inside. I had no choice. Then I had to go in and out of horses.
When I finally got to ask him, he gave me a huge kick. I only wish I could have
asked him earlier. The winner (Wise Dan) got first jump on me. If it is the
other way around, it might have been a different finish.”
Graham Motion (trainer, Animal
Kingdom, 2nd) – “Seconds are very tough and I have some tough
second-place beats in the Breeders’ Cup. I’m thrilled with the way he
ran. If he doesn’t get steadied at the top of the stretch … I don’t
know. What a great run and what a great horse. He’s a special
Joe Talamo (jockey, Obviously,
3rd) – “We figured to be on the lead and we had an easy
lead. I just wish that outside horse (Suggestive Boy) hadn’t been out
there. He just put pressure on us. I don’t know if that cost us the
race, but we did feel it. He stayed on well.”
Joseph O’Brien (jockey, Excelebration,
4th) – “It has been only 14 days since his last start and this
was his first time on a left-handed course. Things were disorganized in the
race and he took a bit to catch up to it. I’m not sure you saw his best race.”
Aidan O’Brien (trainer, Excelebration,
4th) – “He’s run a good race.”
Thierry Jarnet (jockey, Moonlight
Cloud, 8th) – “It was a bad race. I couldn’t get out
around the bend.”
Freddy Head (trainer, Moonlight
Cloud, 8th) – “She had a rough trip and maybe got a bit
discouraged. It’s been a long season, but I’m a bit disappointed. I
thought she’d run better than that.”