10/24/2012 4:26PM

Breeders' Cup Mile: Wise Dan, Excelebration matchup worth price of admission

Barbara D. Livingston
Wise Dan can prove himself against world-class competition when he faces Excelebration in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

There were no major surprises when a list of 13 pre-entered horses in the Breeders’ Cup Mile was revealed Wednesday. And that’s just fine. The matchup between Wise Dan and Excelebration alone makes the BC Mile must-see racing. Add to that intriguing inter-continental showdown the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom as well as top French filly Moonlight Cloud and the Mile should be memorable.

Among the 13 pre-entrants, Trailblazer and Turbo Compressor both have the Turf as their first preference, leaving a likely field of 11 for the Mile. Besides the aforementioned quartet, that group includes, Doubles Partner, Jeranimo, Little Mike, Mr. Commons, Obviously, Suggestive Boy, and Willcox Inn. Wise Dan, Excelebration, and Jeranimo all won Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win and You’re In races. Obviously, the West Coast’s leading turf miler, was supplemented to the Mile for $100,000 after winning the Arroyo Seco Mile over the Santa Anita grass course.

Wise Dan and Point of Entry are the two best American turf horses of 2012, and Wise Dan can lay claim to being among the best turf horses in the world if he can handle Excelebration. Excelebration, a 4-year-old Aidan O’Brien trainee, has raced in the shadow of superstar Frankel for most of his career, but burst forth with his own sensational win last weekend when trouncing high-class foes in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. But Wise Dan should not be overmatched. He has won all three of his grass races this season, and those wins – the last two in Grade 1 stakes – have come by more than 10 lengths combined.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: Pre-entered fields with odds and comments]

There had long been speculation that Wise Dan’s connections would wind up at least cross-entering the horse in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but owner-breeder Mort Fink and trainer Charlie Lopresti stuck resolutely to their decision to go in the Mile. They also had to decide whether to race Wise Dan on Oct. 6 in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland or start in the Mile without a race since the Sept. 16 Woodbine Mile, and Lopresti firmly believes that racing in the Shadwell was the right call.

“I’m very glad I did that,” Lopresti said Wednesday. “Unequivocally so. The horse bounced out of that race really good.”

By running instead of waiting, Wise Dan, Lopresti said, doesn’t need much work before going to Santa Anita. He breezed a swift five furlongs last weekend at his home base at Keeneland and won’t work again before the Mile. Lopresti said he’s flying to California on Monday in order to meet Wise Dan when the horse arrives Tuesday.Wise Dan arrives Tuesday, will probably walk Wednesday, gallop Thursday and Friday, and then go into the biggest race of his life – so far, at least.

A gelding, 5-year-old Wise Dan, with any luck, has plenty of racing left in him, and on a conference call Wednesday, Lopresti mentioned the Dubai World Cup as a possible post-Breeders’ Cup destination for the horse.

Infinity More than 1 year ago
This supefecta will be BALLONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
Obviously is the now horse and is racing in his back yard, is you read all comments every one of tha fav. Dan, Excelebration all have alot of ifs, the only one flying under the radar is OObviously who only broke Del Mars Turf record and almost broke Santa Anitas turf record running a Blazing 1:32 and change WOW, good to see he will be overlooked by what I call sucker favorites. Obviously in track record time is your B.C. Mile winner.
Cornwall Boy More than 1 year ago
Can you shed any light on why a renowned Trainer like Aidan O'Brien constantly ship horses across the Atlantic on just two weeks rest? He does this year after year with very formful horses that have all failed on Breeders Cup day. This year he's bringing Excelebration in that same mode, and although I'm confident this horse is a class act, I believe Excelebration will serve only one purpose come November 3rd. He will either shoot Frankels stud prices thru the roof or he'll bring them down so low, even your's truly would be able to buy them. I believe it will be the latter....Why are they doing this!!? Or is that the purpose of his connections? Not too many racing people are going to excuse a loss as the quick turnaround and the long trip. I do hope he pulls it off, because, were it not for Frankel, this horse would probably be showing a win record of 12 for 14; C-O-N-S-I-ST-E-N-C-Y? I'll only use him in my bets sparingly just in case; but right now I feel for this horse. Cornwallboy
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
Moonlight Cloud is my hunch horse to be in exacta or trifecta. Very sharp at extended sprints, as was Goldikova. French, as was you-know-who. These so-called "stiff" Euro sprints (uneven ground, climbing part of the time, yielding turf course, etc.) translate well to the American grass mile, as long as they can turn left. She sort looks like the Goldi type - sleek - so there shouldn't be any reason she can't corner well. She will be mowing down horses late.
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
Excelebration will only have two weeks since that big race, right? Not sure I like that. In the "old days,' I think the Arc was sometimes only a couple of weeks before the Breeder's Cup and the horses coming out of it had a hard time making that quick turnaround. Same probably goes for Ascot's Champions Day races, now. Not sure I would have raced Wise Dan again after Woodbine, either, but suppose Lopresti knows what he's doing. At least Wise Dan will have four weeks. But you know what? Jeranimo is a horse that can come up with a mighty effort every once in awhile. He's not consistent, but his occasional best is extremely powerful and fits with any of these.
Dave McManus More than 1 year ago
Excelebration has won over a mile at Cologne (which has a 3 furlong straight) and Longchamp. He has won twice on Good to Firm ground and finished only 4 lengths behind Frankel on Good to Firm. American ground is different though and while he is the classiest and best horse in the race, my main concern would be if the ground is very fast. He'll have no problem whatsoever with the turns.
Pierre Robin More than 1 year ago
Moonlight cloud is near from goldikova, she has a short but tremendous acceleration, I think she'll like the track and her trainer know what it takes to win a BC mile... On Pure class Exelebration is the best...
Steven Simonovic More than 1 year ago
Mr. Commons may cycle back to his best form ever in this spot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Agree 100%
Andy Dean More than 1 year ago
Has Excelebration gone around two turns like this one will be?? Aiden O'Brien or not, I think this is asking a bit much. He should've brought him over here early, get a race over the track for the experience (ground AND pace; we race differently over here {duh!}. He has never experienced the pace that this race will bring) like the Japanese Trailblazer did. He was flying at the end! That being said he just might hit the board, but I don't think he will win. As far as Dan goes, he's just become a brute since returning to turf. Have to check the odds though at race time. I think Obviously has a chance b/c he's a blur. My longshot pick though is the aforementioned Trailblazer in a shocker.
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
Ever heard of these: Last Tycoon, Miesque, Royal Academy, Barathea, Ridgewood Pearl, Domedriver, Six Perfections, Goldikova?
Andy Dean More than 1 year ago
Yup I have...let's see, that's 10 (since Goldi won three) and it's been run since 1984, which btw I attended and watched Royal Heroine mow 'em down (BTW #2 she was undefeated on the Hollypark sod, beginning by beating Interco in 1983 in an absolutely fabulous contest in a division of the Hollywood Derby. She got the jump on him at the beginning of the backstretch and they ran as a team the entire rest of the race, leaving the entire field behind, never more than 1 length separating them, but she wouldn't let him by. She absolutely loved that course!). So simple math gives you 10 euros wins vs 18 American wins. I'll certainly not discount the Euros, but I believe it will be and American that will take it all. I think it could be a cold Wise Dan/Obviously exacta box. You're gonna have to run Obviously down and the nature of the course might just carry him home ahead of everybody else. Nobody can run with him early. Just my BDH {Broken Down Horseplayer LOL} two cents worth!!
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
Andy, nice to know that you've been around for a while. For what it's worth, I too attended the 1st running. Got my butt kicked with All Along losing to Lashkari, but I won big on Friday and Sunday. My reply was mainly to your comment about lack of NA racing experience. I forgot Spinning World, so there were 9 occasions where they won without a prior race. Now if you want to get into counting Euros, how about if we add in the likes of Royal Heroine, Steinlen, Opening Verse, Silic and Val Royal?
Andy Dean More than 1 year ago
You're actually making my point with most of the horses mentioned, RH and Steinlen (boy he was fast!), Opening Verse, Silic, Val Royal, they'd been here awhile getting accustomed to the American way of pace. So they'd been here long enough that they had their "green card" and they weren't true imports anymore that had just shipped over. It's just a hard road to me for the Euros that haven't been here IMO, that's all I'm saying and will the value be there if you want to take a chance? Another way of putting it, is I hope folks hammer the imports and Obvioulsy is an overlay, somewhere around 7 to 10 to one. He's a proven commodity especially since he's had a race already over this course, and the one that has to be caught. That's what makes horse racing isn't it?!!!!! Good luck!
Andy Dean More than 1 year ago
Oops!! Trailblazer is actually going in the 1.5 Mile Turf race. My mistake...I had him on my mind with that powerful late kick in the last race Obviously just won. Anyway, I think that's a perfect set up for the mile and a half turf race, and I think he's got a big shot1
nicola c More than 1 year ago
Wise dan is the best horse in america bar none i think he is matched with excelebration but the thing in wise dans favor apart from the travel is the turf will be firm and firm in america excelebration will never had anything even close to that fast going and that could find him out over there, but it should be a great race love dan love excel may the best horse win