11/02/2012 12:55PM

Breeders' Cup Mile: Wise Dan settling into California lifestyle

Barbara D. Livingston
Wise Dan takes to the track on Friday morning. He has shown good energy in his first two gallops.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Wise Dan, who probably will be favored in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Mile, made his first trip west of the Mississippi when, belatedly – thanks to Superstorm Sandy – he flew from Kentucky to California on Wednesday. And from all appearances, he likes it just fine at Santa Anita.

“He walked into his stall when he got here like he’d lived here all his life,” a relaxed trainer Charlie Lopresti said Friday morning, as Wise Dan got a massage and routine electro-stimulation on his hind end. “It was just like when he shipped to Woodbine. He takes everything so well.”

Wise Dan wasted little time resuming regular training upon his arrival here, galloping on turf Thursday morning and on Santa Anita’s main track Friday. Both pieces of exercise were performed with the same kind of high energy Wise Dan displays in his daily work at Keeneland, Wise Dan’s home track.

“This horse is just really, really sharp right now,” Lopresti said. “He’s on top of his game, and I don’t think he’s ever been better than he is right now.”

By contrast, the Irish shipper Excelebration – widely considered Wise Dan’s chief Mile rival – sweated heavily during his first trip to the track on Thursday morning. But that is nothing new for Aidan O’Brien-trained international shippers making their first appearance on unfamiliar territory. And, as usually is the case with O’Brien horses, Excelebration looked much better on his second day at the track while going through easy, routine exercise Friday morning at Santa Anita.