11/03/2012 7:53PM

Breeders' Cup Mile: Wise Dan sets course record; in Horse of the Year picture

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
Wise Dan (third from left) sets a course record as he wins the Breeders' Cup Mile.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Using sentiment as a guiding beacon is not a tactic that typically produces favorable results. Morton Fink is a businessman, down to earth, totally realistic. But a choice Fink made from the heart, to keep, rather than sell, the mare Lisa Danielle, strictly because she was named after his granddaughter, has landed him the horse of a lifetime, Wise Dan.

Lisa Danielle’s foal of 2007 was Fink’s second starter in a Breeders’ Cup race, and Wise Dan capped a remarkable 2012 season and became a prime candidate for Horse of the Year with a powerful win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Wise Dan, under a perfect ride from John Velazquez, beat fast-closing Animal Kingdom by 1 1/2 lengths in the $2 million Mile. On a firm, fast-playing turf course, he ran a mile in 1:31.78, besting the track record of 1:31.89 set by Atticus in 1989 while carrying nine pounds more.

Among Wise Dan’s victims were fourth-place Excelebration and eighth-place Moonlight Cloud, the two best milers in Europe. With Frankel retired, Wise Dan is the best grass miler in the world at the moment.

“He’s just a super horse,” said trainer Charlie Lopresti, who has masterfully guided Wise Dan through a 13-win career and who was winning his first Breeders’ Cup race. “Every time I work him or do something with him, he amazes me.”

Wise Dan’s first trip to California was delayed by one day by Superstorm Sandy, but he came here Wednesday afternoon without incident and trained with aplomb the next two days. In the paddock and saddling ring before the Mile, Wise Dan looked gorgeous, relaxed, and poised, and he went out and ran to his looks.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: Saturday results and video replays]

Breaking on top from post 2, Velazquez took a light hold and waited for Obviously to come up and take the lead, which he soon did. Obviously and jockey Joe Talamo set a comfortable pace, going an opening quarter-mile in 23.34 seconds and a half in 46.16, with longshot Suggestive Boy ranging up to apply token pressure. Lopresti and Velazquez spoke all week of wanting Wise Dan to be covered up behind horses, and that is where Velazquez put his mount, with Wise Dan hugging the rail in third, awaiting his cue to run. That moment came just after Obviously cut the corner and kicked for home. Wise Dan quickly attacked.

“As soon as he sees daylight, he just goes,” Fink said.

Wise Dan collared Obviously about a furlong from the finish and never relented, winging past the wire while running his final quarter-mile in less than 23 seconds.

“Once we got loose, he was there for me,” Velazquez said. “All I wanted to do was make sure I got him in a good position.”

Behind Wise Dan, things went less smoothly for 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, who was hung up in traffic at the top of the stretch. Once clear, he finished with a furious rally, beating Obviously for second by a half-length while making inroads on Wise Dan.

“I just wish he hadn’t gotten stopped,” said trainer Graham Motion, who did great work bringing Animal Kingdom back from the long break.
Excelebration was nosed for third by Obviously, failing to run back to his brilliant win two weeks ago in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. Trainer Aidan O’Brien theorized the short turnaround might have dulled Excelebration; his rider, Joseph O’Brien, said Santa Anita’s tight left-handed turns threw Excelebration off.

“Everything was happening so fast for him,” the younger O’Brien said.

Mr. Commons was fifth, followed by Jeranimo, Suggestive Boy, Moonlight Cloud, and Willcox Inn. A forlorn trainer Freddie Head, who has won the Mile five times as a trainer and jockey, said Moonlight Cloud lost all chance when pushed out on the first turn.

Fink, a Chicagoan, is 82, and his celebrations are of the muted type. He has been in the horse business for more than 40 years. The mare Lisa Danielle cost Fink only $29,000. She’s the last of what once was a much larger group of broodmares that Fink kept. The idea that these circumstances would lead to a horse like Wise Dan has long amused him. Fink always emphasizes the great role played by luck.

“You can do everything right, and you get a bad trip and you’re done,” Fink said.

Wise Dan got the trip Saturday. Fink had the right horse.

HandicapperErni More than 1 year ago
Wise Dan certainly is horse that looked much the best winning that Mile Turf!! New track record of 1:31.3 which is a 15 year old track record. Nice ride by John Velazquez who’s best rider of our Generation and great training job all season by Charles Lopresti. Nice run by the layoff runner Animal Kingdom who finished a nice 2nd. Nice run too by pacesetter Obviously who I thought would hang in but both Wise Dan and Animal Kingdom are better than him but he beat the Euros though. The euros were disappointing of both Moonlight Cloud and Excelebration. I think that Though he’s not a lock for the Turf divison because he has to contend with the Turf winner who had just a good of campaign as he did.
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
I don't believe that when John Gaines, John Nerud & company conceived the idea of the Breeders' Cup that this was the type of reaction they expect from the citizens of the host nation. As someone who has been involved with the sport on both sides of the pond I find some of the statement laughable. The comment directly below is typical of what I'm referring to.
James Turner More than 1 year ago
Americans like to rig an event in their favor and then brag about the outcome of the event. Brits show great sportsmanship in sending their horses to the Breeders Cup even though they are giving away home court advantage and that the sorry a** turf course at Santa Anita would be baked hard as concrete. The Aussies also showed great sportsmanship in sending unbeaten Black Caviar to face the Brits on their homecourt. Black Caviar showed she was world class by winning her race despite being injured during its running. I would like to see some of that same sportsmanship from Americas owners and trainers.
jttf More than 1 year ago
the europeans think they have dominate horses compared to americans. the americans spanked the euros once again. there were 4 breeders cup horses who already lost to frankel. those 4 horses were soundly beaten by the weaker american horses. frankel's competition was very weak. just think, the american horses have been using drugs since 1990 and ruining their breed. but, the europeans who dont use drugs are still getting soundly beaten by the drug dependent american horses. this just proves that european and frankel fans are all just as smart as mutten chops.
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Well they say ignorance is bliss mate. So you'll be contented.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You don't understand "throughbred racing". I will explain this to you now. Horses who are not gelded (wise dan is gelded) are worth millions of pounds at stud. So the connections protect there assests (unlike coolmore). Frankel was special, but they took there time with him. He was the "real deal" and therefore his stud value had to be protected, he won every single race more emphatically than the one before. But he wasn't ever put in a race that would jeopordise his stud value. Cecil and Juddemonte were happy for any horse to challange him on his turf, but he wouldn't go looking for trouble, which kind of makes sense when your talking about millions of pounds. Just imagine having a million pounds, you wouldn't gamble it away? or would you? some connections take them risks? the best don't. He was never scratched, even when the conditions were boggy. But he was never gambled with. Perosnally, if the champions stakes hadn't been at the similar time as the ARC, then he may have gone to the ARC as a 4yo. The Breeders cup, comes too soon as well, its a shame all the races come to soon. Im sure if Frankel could talk, he would love to run every race. However, his connections have not only got the highest rated horse in the world but now the most expensive stud fee's as well. You can not please every one son, but mark my word; you YANKS will be buying his sperm.
Curtis V Slewster More than 1 year ago
Another words what's his name DUCKED all the better races. Call it what you want, butts:He ducked all the better races in inferior England & DUCKED the Arc not once, butts:Twice. You are nothing butts:a forebearer of British condescension. Which is why we kicked you out of here 236 years ago. Are you still celebrating the Falkland Islands War ? Doesn't it surprise you that what's his names' Sire & Dam are Irish Breds. & He's owned by a Sheikh ? You Brits need a horse to elevate your inferiority complex. & stick Timeform up where the sun don't shine. Typical Brit rubbish. Talk is cheap & that's all you have, becuase what's his name DUCKED........
Rodney More than 1 year ago
I hope you get your meds soon Slew, before they cart you away.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ducked? not really? He beat every decent horse through the form book. Nathanial beat workforce - frankel beat nathanial. (workforce won the arc 2010) Frankel beat st nic, who won your breeders last year and arlington. Frankel beat cirrus de aigles who won the $5 million Sheema Classic in dubai (thats 5 x more than any race in eurpoe or america). He has beaten everything through the form book in europe over mile and a mile 2furlongs. Henry Cecil loves the breeders , remember Midday? He would have sent Frankel if it hadnt been two weeks after the Champions Stakes at Ascot.There was no way he would run Frankel in the breeders instead of his home crowd In Britian. The only race he ducked IMO is the derby. The arcs and breedrs all fall too close to each other i.e. queen anne, champions stakes. START to think logically and then you might understand horse racing - ALSO remember that white foke in AMERICA are Europe decendents - mainly British. Hence why you speak ENGLISH....shame really. Anyways if the British Empire thought America was worth fighting for - then they would have kept it....your land was famine and poor in comparison to INDIA, Hong Kong and Africa. It was only when you went over the rockies and discovered the west did your country really prosper. Little history lesson for you pal. Don't mention the fawklands, you don't understand it clearly. AND i wont mention Vietnam.
Curtis V Slewster More than 1 year ago
The Brits would have kept it ? OMG..We kicked you out. & kicked your butts right back to England. & You have never recovered since. What we should have done is let you deal w/Germany by yourself. You've been 2nd rate since. Heil Hitler ? That's what you'd be doing right now, as we speak. All your Euro buddies were a real help were'nt they ? Your life was spared. You owe everything you have SOLELY to the United States of America. Condescending Ingrates.
Rodney More than 1 year ago
You are without doubt the most ridiculous burke on here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great performance by the americans at the breeders cup. Don't slate the Brits to much tho - we didn't have any winners in Britain this year at any of there meetings, They had two at the breeders festival and the arlington. Infact, we don't win any big races in Europe. SO lets enjoy the performances such as Wise Dan's!! Wise Dan would be the only horse to get within 5 lengths of Frankel. Through the form Frankel has beaten alsmost 100 group 1 winners, which makes he formidable. He also beat Excellebration by 9 lengths being eased close home. Don't mistake a freak like Frankel with good horses.
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
"Excelebration was nosed for third by Obviously, failing to run back to his brilliant win two weeks ago in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. Trainer Aidan O’Brien theorized the short turnaround might have dulled Excelebration; his rider, Joseph O’Brien, said Santa Anita’s tight left-handed turns threw Excelebration off." Aidan O'Brien is the D. Wayne-Bob B-Todd Pletcher of Europe. With all of the horses Coolmore gives him there's bound to be a star or two every year. It now time to end the race-riding career of young Joseph. Imagine how his schoolmates would/may have laughed at him when he told them that one day he would win a Derby. Well Joseph won 2 Derbies (English & Irish), and a 2000 Guineas, courtesy of Camelot, as well as last year's BC Turf on St. Nick. It's now time for him either to become his father's assistant, or go back to school. Notice the only winner A O'B had was ridden by Ryan Moore, and didn't he win in style?!!
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
"Among Wise Dan’s victims were fourth-place Excelebration and eighth-place Moonlight Cloud, the two best milers in Europe." How does the writer come to this conclusion based on a solitary win at 1 mile by MC by a head over Farhh? And what does MC's BC mile performance now say about the Australian wonder mare? A lot of people obviously drank Freddie Head's Kool-Aid.
DRFHersh More than 1 year ago
Who yould you rank above Moonlight Cloud in Europe right now?
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Moonlight Cloud is highly rated by Freddie Head, both a top class trainer and jockey. I think what most are eluding to, is the dismissive of the best miler in the world, by quite a margin. There is no comparision Marcus, and far better judges than you have already expressed such an opinion globally. In fairness to Jonathan,Moonlight Cloud is also a formidable 6f horse, and at Royal Ascot Black Caviar just held on to win against him. Accept it, Wise Dan is the best in the U.S, but it ends there on the world stage.
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
Thanks for your support Rodney, In answer to Marcus I would say there's U KNO WHO, then Excel a distant 2nd; after that it's a tossup. MC had raced over a mile 3 times prior to Sat, with the hard fought victory over Farhh being her only in the money finish after failing as fav in last yr's 1000 Guineas, and her "unlucky" 4th at Deauville. Elusive Kate's record over a mile this season is better. Sad to say that with the retirement of Canford Cliffs and Goldi, the division was a 2-horse race, which was not much of a match. Had he not gone down at Ascot, The Nile might have made things a little more interesting.
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
Rodney, Let me also add that I knew Freddie when he was a teenager riding for father Alec, and I loved both Miesque and Goldi. This filly couldn't smell their rear ends if they were both in season.
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Thats very interesting, great racing family, with sister Criquette too. To this day I still don't know what Luke Nolan was doing, when they flashed by live, I thought he'd blown it.
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
Wise Dan has become a great racehorse at age 5, which is the age that thoroughbreds reach their peak. Unfortunately these days the good ones aren't kept in train'g long enough for us to see it. As a gelding, barring injury, Dan should come back next year and continue his winning ways. I wonder though about those of you who now proclaim him the HOY. How the rules have changed! Since the Juddmonte Intn'l we've debated the merit of the winner of that race. For those of you who were against that horse, one of the criteria for voting against him was that he'd never run at Europe's classic distance of 1.5 miles. Yet the same people are now stumping for a US HOY candidate who has never won at the American classic distance of 1.25 miles, and who ducked the opportunity to win a race worth 2 1/2 times the value of this one.
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
BTW, I think he is the US HOY. Just making a point about the changing critera.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Its not a change in criteria, its the sad fact of the regression in breeding. The breeding for the truly great thoroughbreds like Secretariat And Ribot have been replaced by short horses. Glad the Japanese know what a great thoroughbreds are.
James Turner More than 1 year ago
Marcus Hersh.... I agree with your opinion below that Frankel could not have beaten Wise Dan by more than a close photo in this race. I would also like to say to those that think a Euro horses worth should be judged by his performance in a Breeders Cup race then in all fairness the Breeders Cup turf races should be run in Europe in alternate years. Lets see how many American owners and trainers want to send their best horses to run against the Euros when giving the Euro horses and jockeys home court advantage.
Curtis V Slewster More than 1 year ago
Put DIRT tracks in & get rid of the Plastic. Then we'll give you more of thumping than we did Friday & Saturday. However, you Know-it-alls wouldn't dare. Therefore, why don't you just stay home & sip tea. Of course the Brits think racing is done all on grass. This is our Breeders Cup. You want a Breeders Cup ? Start one. Until then, clam up.
James Turner More than 1 year ago
You clam up. I was born and raised in Inglewood, Cal. home of Hollywood Park and I don't drink tea. I also don't believe the Breeders Cup is the World Championship of horseracing any more than the World Series is the World Championship of baseball.
Curtis V Slewster More than 1 year ago
Then move to Europe. The Breeders Cup is called the World Championship of Horse Racing, because it is. Until the United States is surpassed by these wanabees as a WORLD Class power, it will remain the same. Next thing you'll tell us is Cricket is Baseball, and Soccer is Football. Have some Fish N' Chips. Marcus Hersh is an erudite reporter, calling it what it is. Yours are nothing butts:Pipe Dreams. Cricket ? Give us all a break.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
again small minded idtiot. just because we gave it a name, doesnt mean we own it. Dubai offer more prize money $4 000 000 for there "world stakes" race. Cricket is a sport known internationally so is soccer (football) unlike many of our sports in the US. China have a bigger and stronger economy than us, because of small minded retards like you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
small minded idiot. we need the europeans to come over to attact the sponsorship and the prize money. r u retarded?
James Turner More than 1 year ago
Well said in both your posts Anonymous.
Curtis V Slewster More than 1 year ago
We need the Brits like we need another A-Hole. & Nobody needs two of them. Roflmao...........
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Slewster....you need three a-holes for all the crap you produce.
Carson Horton More than 1 year ago
Hard, fast, dry California track....what better place to set a new course record?
DRFHersh More than 1 year ago
Don't think anyone is going to argue that course records are set on fast- and not slow-playing courses.