Wise Dan should not be Champion Older Male

January 07, 2014 07:21am
Wise Dan repeats in the Breeders Cup Mile.
Photo: Don August


The Champion Older Male of 2013 should either be Mucho Macho Man or Game On Dude, not Wise Dan. No offense intended to the excellent Morton Fink gelding, but I believe the award is simply not intended for him this time. Much like the great John Henry, who swept the Older Male, Turf Horse, and Horse of the Year in 1981, but was only awarded the latter two in 1984, Wise Dan should be rewarded for his turf dominance, which likely will also be good enough for his second Horse of the Year title, but that brilliance on turf is not what the Older Male division is all about.

While I personally question whether Wise Dan should have been Champion Older Male last year over Fort Larned, I could at least justify the decision in that he did have two excellent main track performances, in the Ben Ali and Stephen Foster. This year, however, all of his wins came on the turf. Wise Dan’s only start on another surface ended in defeat when the Shadwell Turf Mile was taken off grass due to weather. Therefore, Wise Dan never raced on the dirt in 2013, and in his only start on the main track (Keeneland’s Polytrack), he was defeated by Silver Max. Compare these two years with those of John Henry.

John Henry deserved a sweep of all three categories in 1981. His big wins in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Santa Anita Handicap (both on dirt), coupled with his strong turf form were enough to be the best candidate for all three awards. Things were different in 1984, though. Once again, his turf season was outstanding, good enough to not only to be named grass champ, but also Horse of the Year. 0-for-2 on dirt that year, though, was not going to get the nine-year-old Horse of the Year, the Older Male honor over Slew O’ Gold.

To me this boils down to having an award for both turf and dirt. Only horses that carry their brilliance to multiple disciplines, should be awarded more than one divisional award. Dr. Fager, in 1968, is the best example of this. The Horse of the Year then goes to the best of the divisional winners. 

Further, and more recent, evidence of the delineation between Turf Male and Older Male can be found in 1993 when Kotashaan was a slam dunk for Champion Turf Male. In fact, his six graded stakes wins on the lawn that season were enough to earn the Horse of the Year award. The five-year-old horse, who didn't run on dirt at all that year, did not, however, win the older male award. The award went instead to the beaten favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Bertrando.

Now that I’ve outlined why Wise Dan should not be Champion Older Male, let’s get back to the two horses that the award should come down to, Mucho Macho Man and Game On Dude. While I favor Mucho Macho Man, based on his dominating win in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes, followed by defeating easily the best American field assembled in 2013, in the Breeders' Cup Classic, I have no problem with those who side with Game On Dude. He did after all have five impressive stakes victories, including huge wins in important races like the Santa Anita Handicap and the Pacific Classic, as well as, a full season of strong performances. So take your pick, Mucho Macho Man or Game On Dude. They were the top older dirt males of 2013, and make no mistake, Champion Older Male is a dirt award. 


comments powered by Disqus

Older Comments about Wise Dan should not be Champion Older Male...

The majority of the voters did agree with what Brian wrote. Wise Dan got less than 50% of the vote for Older Male. This is despite an overwhelming vote for Turf and Horse of the Year. The voters who believed the award should be for dirt horses split their votes for Game on Dude and Mucho Macho Man (and a couple votes for Flat Out).
Well it doesn't look like many voters agree with your thoughts on Wise Dan
100 Million % FEWW
100 Million % FEWW
I think Wise Dan was voted in all three and i am sorry your vote didn't count. until next year happy racin!:)~
Zipse is on point today!
If I were in charge ... There would be one award for turf horses, and one award for dirt horses for each gender. The same horse should not win both unless he is the best on both surfaces.
By your command.
You should be more interested in whoever keeps liking your comments.
You already have a crappy enough life without my having to cast any spells upon you.
That's a joke, son...
Really!!!... the way it was told to me was *be a witch* :D
And other things are, no way would I have short ugly hair like that nosy neighbor woman, and I have been know to bewitch, so there. Little chismoso.
No way could you care less than I care :D
No matter what you call me, no way do you find me more annoying than I find you. And I'm not in control of the Kaintuck, Ohio-Illinois, NY voters who should be sequestered so that they don't infect each other. P.S., DUDE!
Yes, I understood that... Invasor was both HOTY and Older Male Champ. My “ Being the FIRST didn't help Lava Man versus Invasor in '06 “ was in response to crystal.david948’s “ In fact, he became only the SECOND horse in history to win the big 3 California races in one year! I do not understand how that could not warrant a championship! “… you Gladys Kravitz :D
I'm talking about Older Male for 2013 for Dude, amino, you parasite.
Ruffianlover, as Mary says, “ Frickin' only count this year”>> MMM isn’t Invasor and this vote is for 2013… Awesome points… MMM probably isn’t the HOTY, either…looks like GOD came in 4th in the HOTY voting.
I agree zipse. Game on dude all the way! He deserves at least one eclipse after all he has done for the sport

Related Pages

ZATT's Star of the Week

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, American Pharoah and Justify. 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. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, 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.

Best of the Blogs

Top Stories