04/12/2013 6:07PM

Keeneland: Wise Dan wins Maker's 46 Mile in 2013 debut

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Wise Dan, the reigning Horse of the Year, starts his 2013 campaign with a length victory over Data Link in the Maker's 46 Mile. Jose Lezcano rode.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Wise Dan, the 2012 Horse of the Year, made a successful and well-received return to action Friday when he was kept clear of traffic throughout by jockey Jose Lezcano in capturing the 25th running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland.

Charlie LoPresti, who trains Wise Dan for owner-breeder Mort Fink, seemed more relieved than elated after the 6-year-old gelding drove to a one-length victory over Data Link.

"I didn't have him totally cranked up today," said Lopresti. "He's just got that desire to win."

Wise Dan returned $2.80 as a heavy favorite after finishing the distance in 1:36.37 over a course that took substantial overnight moisture but still was rated firm. Mr. Commons finished third, another two lengths back, followed by Skyring and Silentio.

After breaking from the outside post in a field of five older turf horses, Wise Dan raced several paths from the inner rail as Silentio maintained a slight early lead over Skyring. Circling that pair on the far turn, Wise Dan took command approaching the furlong pole, quickly spurted clear, then was kept to pressure to hold off Data Link, the defending Maker's 46 champion and the 7-2 second choice.

LoPresti said his most pressing concern coming into the Maker's 46 was a five-month layoff, but when set down for the drive, Wise Dan "kicked it on hard alone. He's just a good horse."

Lezcano was riding Wise Dan in place of John Velazquez, who was injured last weekend in a spill at Aqueduct but is expected back in time for the May 4 Kentucky Derby. It was the second time for Lezcano to ride the gelding, as he was aboard here last fall in the Grade 1 Shadwell Mile when Velazquez had a scheduling conflict.

Wise Dan, by Wiseman's Ferry out of Lisa Danielle, now has won 14 of 21 career starts, with the $186,000 winner's share bumping his career bankroll to $3,727,638.

Wise Dan was voted the Horse of the Year award by a decisive margin last year after winning 5 of 6 races, ending with a rousing victory in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita. LoPresti once again is aiming the gelding to the Breeders' Cup, although no specific race has yet been mentioned, and said his next start could come on dirt in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs in June.  The Foster was the only race he lost last year.

Wise Dan became the 10th of the last 11 Horse of the Year honorees to win his comeback upon a return to racing. He was the first reigning Horse of the Year to make his first start the following year at 76-year-old Keeneland.

Ontrack attendance on a chilly afternoon was 15,406.

The $2 exacta (5-4) paid $6.20, and the $1 trifecta (5-4-2) was worth $7.

nicola c More than 1 year ago
would like to see him at royal ascot although that will never ever happen
nicola c More than 1 year ago
As i said yesterday it was buying money so i lumped on and gladly got paid handsomely there some bets u can be 100% sure on & Wise Dan was a wise bet.
Kristian O'Reilly More than 1 year ago
Now who was the dunce that knocked the WD connections for riding Jose Lescano instead of Joel Rosario? This is horse racing, not jockey riding......
Scott Scheib More than 1 year ago
Well said. Lezcano is as good as any of them
B More than 1 year ago
Nothing special, but a nice enough way to start the year. For my money, the best grass horse in this country is Point of Entry, but you have to wonder if they will ever meet due to their different distance desires.
matt More than 1 year ago
Would love to see Wise Dan take on Point of Entry in the Woodford
rdeeps52 More than 1 year ago
agree 100% For my money, the 2 best horses in this country. Unfortunately it looks like WD is looking to avenge last seasons lone loss.
Chris Palmer More than 1 year ago
Does anyone know what happened to Skyring after the race ? I heard he dumped Rosie
chembites More than 1 year ago
Excellent start for Wise Dan. Races 6 to 8-wide the entire race, tilts his head to Data Link as a challenge to get it on; Data Link knew his place as second in command. Now, I hope that Wise Dan can avenge his unfair loss in the Foster last year.
rdeeps52 More than 1 year ago
Just curious, what exactly was "unfair" about last years loss to Ron The Greek?
jay More than 1 year ago
Just curious...how do you race 6 to 8 wide in a 5 horse field?
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
It's good to turn them out for awhile, let them be horses.
Elizabeth More than 1 year ago
They did. He gets time at lopresti's farm every winter.
Maria More than 1 year ago
Such a great horse,Truly the mark of history again.Keep up the super determination to win one day they will all want to grow up and be a Wise Dan,Bravo to the entire team
iknownothing114 More than 1 year ago
Nice ride jose hope u get a derby ride