10/04/2014 7:12PM

Slow start doesn't stop Wise Dan in Shadwell Mile

Coady Photography
Wise Dan drives to yet another Grade 1 score in the Shadwell Turf Mile Saturday at Keeneland.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Even spotting them a head start, Wise Dan couldn’t be beat.

The reigning two-time Horse of the Year added another remarkable chapter to his storybook career when overcoming an awkward break Saturday to win the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile, the richest race in the 78-year history of Keeneland Race Course.

Ridden by John Velazquez, Wise Dan weaved his way through his seven opponents to find an outside lane for the stretch run, where he reeled in the last few to prevail by a length. He returned $3.80 as the favorite after finishing in 1:35.62 over a good turf.

Grand Arch, a 19-1 shot, finished second, a neck before Sayaad. Kaigun was fourth, another 1 1/2 lengths back, while Seek Again, the 5-2 second choice, ran sixth.

In the immediate aftermath of the race, trainer Charlie LoPresti did not rule out a run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, a 1 1/4-mile dirt race on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita, although owner-breeder Mort Fink later said unequivocally through various Twitter sources that Wise Dan will run in the Breeders’ Cup Mile if healthy. Wise Dan has won his Horse of the Year titles primarily by staying in turf races between eight and nine furlongs and has won the BC Mile the last two years.

On a mostly cloudy, chilly afternoon, and before an ontrack crowd of 25,070, Wise Dan got away a step slow as Silver Max rolled away to an uncontested lead in 24.58 and 48.27 seconds.

“I got a little scared there,” said Velazquez. “I wasn’t expecting him to do that. All I wanted him to do after that was relax.”

After saving ground through the first turn and splitting horses on the far turn, Wise Dan angled to the outside and put in his customary stretch run to win for the 23rd time in 31 starts and for the 15th time in 16 grass starts. The $600,000 winner’s share lifted his career bankroll to $7,552,920.

“Johnny did a great job,” said LoPresti. “He didn’t panic, and the horse was his usual self. He really is just an amazing animal.”

Grand Arch, ridden by David Moran, was among those to overtake Silver Max in the upper stretch and outfinished Sayaad for the place while Wise Dan surged past them both in the final 70 yards.

The $2 exacta (6-3) paid $38.40, the $1 trifecta (6-3-1) returned $115.50, and the 10-cent superfecta (6-3-1-5) was worth $47.04.