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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
A New York State of Racing

Wise Dan Fights to Victory

Horse of the Year Wise Dan, once again, showed what it means to be a winner, by fighting to the wire in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) in the race before the Kentucky Derby.

Today Wise Dan had to break from post position one and jockey John Velazquez quickly found himself in tight quarters between Bright Thought and Skyring, who both wanted to get to the front. Wise Dan began to compete and run hard with those speed horses. At that point Velazquez had to fight hard to get Wise Dan out of that developing speed duel. Wise Dan threw his head from side to side until Velazquez finally got him to settle a few lengths behind the other two horses.

After the first half-mile went in :48.05, Velazquez moved Wise Dan to the three-path in preparation for his usual closing move. Three quarters went in 1:12.28 and Wise Dan began to inch up outside of the leaders who were starting to fade a bit.

Velazquez had the two front-runners measured and he took a look back to see if any other closers were making a move on the outside. As Wise Dan was taking the lead the challenge was actually coming on the inside as Seek Again was making a strong move along the hedge.  Wise Dan and Johnny V. didn’t see that competition at first because the fading pace setters were blocking the view.

Once Wise Dan saw the Seek Again he dug in as only Wise Dan can do and battled him to the wire. Their heads were bobbing in the final 100 yards, but the champion prevailed at the wire by a head as they covered the mile and an eighth in 1:47.73. Wise Dan paid $3.00 to win.

The four-year-old Seek Again came into the Turf Classic with only one start in the United States on Dec. 1, 2013 when he won the Hollywood Derby (G1) for trainer John Gosden. Seek Again had come to the US after racing in Great Britain seven times. He was sent east and entered the barn of Bill Mott, who masterfully prepared his horse on workouts only.

Wise Dan entered the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic as the race’s defending champion with a perfect three for three record on the Churchill Downs grass course. His only other start at the nine furlong distance on the turf came when he won this race in 2013.
Wise Dan has had only one loss in 14 tries on the turf. That defeat came on Oct. 8, 2011, in the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland, when as a four-year-old, he finished fourth behind Gio Ponti, Get Stormy, and Sidney’s Candy.

After today’s repeat win in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, is it time to start thinking about Wise Dan in the company of the greatest American turf runners in history? 


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Older Comments about Wise Dan Fights to Victory...

What do you think about horses racing with the comfort of sneakers, giving them more security about their performances.. Ds runners coming soon to all horses world wide ...
Halter to be auctioned at the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Gala, August 6th, Etobicoke, Ontario around 6 PM and is open to the public.
It is not how much he won by but how he won...he was rank for 1/2 the race and when Seek Again came at him he looked dead but refused to lose......that race is an example of what a great horse get is.
I'll just repeat myself, "Dan is the man!"
He reminded me of Kelso in his tenacity in winning yesterday. The other wasn't getting by no matter what.
The fact that Wise Dan only won by a head is inconsequential ... That was one of my favorite 'Dan' performances in a Hall of Fame career.
Andy what really impressed me was that Dan was tenacious in that stretch run and had that refuse to lose attitude. I wonder if he’s even fully cranked up yet.
I, agree, LAZ, Seek Again is going to very good this summer, which makes Dan'd win look even more impressive. People were saying he has lost a step. I don't think I agree with that., :11.72 final quarter is running!
Andy all the turf races were rated low. Dan did close his finalk 8th in 11.72 and missed the track record by a little more than a second after a fairly slow mile in 1.36. The horse he beat is going to be one of the better turf runners in NA this year IMO.
The BSF was only a 94?

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.


Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.


The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.

• Preakness Interview with Trainer Todd Pletcher

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• Edison: the Travels of a Million Dollar Colt 

• A Kentucky Derby Field with Just 14 Horses

• What is the Best Kentucky Derby Running Style?



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