11/04/2012 2:27PM

Breeders' Cup Mile: Wise Dan wastes no time going back to Kentucky

Tom Keyser
Wise Dan got a 107 Beyer Speed Figure for his victory in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Wise Dan set a Santa Anita turf-course record of 1:31.78 winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile here Saturday. He might also have set a Breeders’ Cup record for speed of departure from a host venue.

Wise Dan was shipped back to Kentucky from California in the middle of the night, leaving Santa Anita before 3 a.m. Sunday. He came, he saw, he conquered – and he got out of Dodge. His Beyer Speed Figure for the BC MIle came back a 107.

His name squarely in the center of the conversation concerning who will be named 2012 Horse of the Year, Wise Dan is going to trainer Charlie Lopresti’s farm near Lexington, Ky., for a period of inactivity. The 5-year-old Wise Dan is a gelding, and barring injury, he will race again in 2013. What his schedule next year will look like, Lopresti and owner-breeder Mort Fink either weren’t willing or able to reveal following Saturday’s win.

“He’s earned a rest now,” Lopresti said. “We’ve always taken things one race at a time. We haven’t really even talked about what comes next.”

One course of action would be to point Wise Dan for a race on the Dubai World Cup card in late March. Lopresti said Dubai was “an option” on Saturday, and has mentioned the chance of Wise Dan going there before. Wise Dan has an excellent record on synthetic surfaces, and if Dubai is chosen as a destination, the $10 million World Cup on Meydan Racecourse’s Tapeta main track might be the goal, but the $5 million Duty Free over nine furlongs on turf could also be in play. Fink and Lopresti also could plot a campaign similar to 2012, when Wise Dan raced in Kentucky, New York, and Canada before a season finale in the Breeders’ Cup.

As for Animal Kingdom, who finished with a flurry after being hung up in traffic at the top of the stretch, a trip to Dubai definitely awaits, provided Animal Kingdom can finally stay healthy. His second-place finish in his first race since February came at a distance shorter than Animal Kingdom’s best, and he showed off the immense talent that won him the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Animal Kingdom, who came out of Saturday’s race in good order, will return to trainer Graham Motion’s base at the Fair Hill  Training Center in Maryland, the plan being to give him one start at Gulfstream Park this winter before shipping to the Middle East. Having not won a race since February 2011, Animal Kingdom will be eligible for high-end allowance races if his connections choose to use that kind of race rather than a stakes to prep for the World Cup.

Excelebration, who was slightly disappointing finishing fourth as the close second choice behind Wise Dan, returns to trainer Aidan O’Brien’s base in Ireland, flying home by way of Amsterdam. O’Brien hinted after the colt won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes two weeks ago in England that Excelebration might be retired to stud for 2013, but as of Sunday no plans have been announced.

The future also is uncertain for Moonlight Cloud, the high-class French filly who had early trouble and never got involved in the Mile, finishing eighth. Trainer Freddie Head said after Saturday’s race that he didn’t know yet whether owner-breeder George Strawbridge planned to breed or race Moonlight Cloud in 2013.