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DRF Breeding Weekend Wrap: Obviously the best at Hollywood, Wise Dan relentless through Churchill’s rain
By Patrick Reed
In an exciting weekend of stakes action across North America, Obviously and Wise Dan stood out with performances that, if all goes well, should set them on course to face off this November for a second time in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park.
Obviously, a strong third in last year’s Mile behind Wise Dan and Animal Kingdom, dominated in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park, taking command from the outset and responding well when asked by Joe Talamo in early stretch to win by 3 1/4 lengths. The 5-year-old gelding covered one mile in 1:32.86, 0.27 seconds off of the course record, and notched a 105 Beyer Speed Figure. He picked up his first Grade 1 win and improved his career record to eight from 15 starts and earnings of $848,361. Obviously set a course record of 1:32.10 for one mile at Del Mar last summer in the Group 2 Del Mar Mile.
Irish-bred Obviously, who is by Coolmore stallion and Australian champion Choisir, earned an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile with his Shoemaker score via the “Win and You’re In” qualifying series. He is out of the unraced Montjeu mare Leala and is from the family of multiple Grade 1 winner, millionaire, and sire Hawkster, multiple Japanese Group 1 winner and sire Black Hawk, and Group 2 winner Pre Eminence.
Later that evening, Horse of the Year Wise Dan overcame a 128-pound impost and arduous course and weather conditions to post a two-length win over Lea in the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs. The 6-year-old Wiseman’s Ferry gelding, who entered the Firecracker on a six-race winning streak dating back to last year’s Stephen Foster at Churchill, found a sliver of room along the hedge in midstretch to move past pacesetter Seruni and win going away in a driving rain. He finished the mile over a yielding turf course in 1:39.82, which translated to a preliminary Beyer of 99 taking into account the thoroughly saturated turf course.
Wise Dan will head to Saratoga for his next start, according to trainer Charlie LoPresti, with the longer goal a repeat attempt in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He picked up his second win in the Firecracker following his 2011 score, which was the gelding’s first on turf after a decent early racing career on dirt and synthetic surfaces. Since that coming out party, Wise Dan has only lost twice, in the 2011 Shadwell Turf Mile and in last year’s Foster, and overall has won 16 of 23 starts with $4,164,170 in earnings.
Homebred by Mort Fink, Wise Dan is out of Enchanting Lisa, who was named Kentucky’s Broodmare of the Year in April. The 19-year-old Wolf Power mare is also the dam of Grade 2 winner Successful Dan, stakes winner and group stakes producer Our Royal Power, and five other winners.
Earlier on Saturday’s “Downs After Dark” card, 2-year-old Debt Ceiling swept to the lead in the far turn of the six-furlong Grade 3 Bashford Manor for juvenile males and powered to a 2 3/4-length win, his third without a defeat in his young career. The Midlantic shipper, who entered off of a win in the Rollicking Stakes at Pimlico in May, finished in a final time of 1:10.66 over a sloppy sealed track, resulting in a 76 Beyer. Daily Racing Form’s Nicole Russo delved into the promising Discreet Cat colt’s pedigree following the race—to read her report, click here.
The other Grade 1 stakes on Hollywood’s Saturday card, the seven-furlong Triple Bend Handicap, served as the stage for a possible emerging star in Centralinteligence, who picked up his first stakes win by 3 1/2 lengths over pacesetting Comma to the Top. The 5-year-old Smarty Jones gelding covered the distance on Hollywood’s all-weather Cushion Track in 1:21.57 for a 108 Beyer, the weekend’s best. Trainer Ron Ellis told Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman that Centralinteligence would likely point to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint as a long-term goal.
After showing flashes of potential in the allowance ranks and in stakes—especially in his last start, a second to Comma to the Top in the Grade 3 Los Angeles—Centralinteligence broke through against a good field for his ownership syndicate led by Amerman Stables. Centralinteligence is out of the unraced Seattle Slew mare Shootforthestars, who is a half-sister to Grade 2 winner and sire Fantasticat. Shootforthestars is the dam of seven other winners, including Grade 2-placed General Consensus and stakes-placed Golden Rainbow and My Elusive Star.
Centralinteligence became the first Grade 1 winner by Smarty Jones, 2004’s champion 3-year-old male and inarguably one of the most popular horses of this young century. Centralinteligence was bred by Patricia Chapman, who co-owned Smarty Jones with her late husband Roy during his racing career. The 12-year-old, who stands at Northview Stallion Station in Peach Bottom, Pa., will be profiled this week as DRF Breeding’s Hot Sire.
Weekend notes: Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, conducted its two-day stakes showcase over the weekend, featuring three Grade 3 events and another race with possible Breeders’ Cup implications.
In the latter event, red-hot sprinter Delaunay saw his six-race winning streak come to an end at the hands of Gentlemen’s Bet in the Iowa Sprint Handicap on Friday evening. Gentlemen’s Bet, a 4-year-old Half Ours colt, defeated Delaunay by 1 3/4 lengths and completed six furlongs in a final time of 1:09.51, good for a 107 Beyer. He has now won five of six career starts, with his only defeat a solid third in the Grade 3 Count Fleet earlier this year at Oaklawn.
Gentelmen’s Bet is out of the unraced Gentlemen mare Lady of Sun. His second dam, the Storm Cat mare July Sun, is a full sister to Grade 1 winner and sire Consolidator and to stakes winner Mycatcandance.
In Saturday’s trio of Grade 3 stakes, Black Eyed Susan winner Fiftyshadesofhay (Pulpit—Quiet Kim, by Real Quiet) scored as the favorite in the Iowa Oaks (90 Beyer); Looking Cool (Candy Ride—Coolwind, by Forest Wildcat) posted an upset in the Iowa Derby (94 Beyer), and Prayer for Relief (Jump Start—Sparklin Lil, by Mr. Sparkles) picked up his first win since the 2011 Super Derby in the Cornhusker (103 Beyer).