01/08/2014 1:28PM

2013 Eclipse Awards: Morton Fink

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photo by: Keeneland/Coady Photography

Morton Fink’s nomination for an Eclipse Award as outstanding breeder is based primarily on the accomplishments of Wise Dan during 2013, but in a larger sense is a credit to one of the most successful series of breeding decisions executed in the past decade.

Fink purchased Lisa Danielle for $29,000 at the 1995 Keeneland September sale, and, once her broodmare career began, bred the daughter of Wolf Power he named after his granddaughter to a group of stallions that were considered average at best. Those pairings would enable Fink to visit winner’s circles at a variety of racetracks throughout North America during 2010-13, with most of the reflected glory coming from Wise Dan and his half-brother Successful Dan. Wise Dan, a Wiseman’s Ferry gelding, backed up his 2012 Horse of the Year campaign by winning 6 of 7 starts at age 6 in 2013, including repeat wins in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile and Woodbine Mile and the Grade 2 Fourstardave.

Multiple Grade 2 winner Successful Dan, a gelding by Successful Appeal, returned to the track after a nearly 10-month layoff to win the Grade 3 Ben Ali at Keeneland and then place in two Grade 1 events at Saratoga, the Whitney Invitational and Woodward.

Those efforts by “the Dans” elevated Fink to a tie for second in Grade 1 wins behind Ken and Sarah Ramsey with four in 2013. He also ranked third behind the Ramseys and Mucho Macho Man’s breeders, John and Carole Rio, in Grade 1 earnings with just less than $2.6 million, and tied for third in graded stakes wins with seven behind Adena Springs and the Ramseys.

Fink, who became involved in the Thoroughbred business during the 1970s, enjoyed his first measure of success by breeding Group 1 winner Producer, whom he sold with partner Roy Gottleib for $5.25 million as a broodmare at the 1983 Keeneland November sale.