Updated on 09/19/2012 12:10PM

Woodbine: Wise Dan connects as Woodbine Mile heavy favorite

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Michael Burns
Wise Dan gives jockey John Velasquez his third Woodbine Mile victory by taking Sunday's race by 3 1/4 lengths.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario — Heavily-favored Wise Dan won the $1 million Woodbine Mile in dominating fashion on Sunday, paying his way to the Breeders’ Cup in the process. 

With John Velazquez aboard, Wise Dan had a lovely stalking trip behind front-runners Worthadd and Artic Fern in the Grade 1 stakes. He split them late on the turn, and then drew away to prevail by 3 ¼ lengths, in 1:34.07 over the firm ground. 

Hunters Bay, who was trying the turf for the first time, finished second at 13-1. The English runner Cityscape was a prominent third as the 3-1 second choice, and Riding the River rallied belatedly from last for fourth.  He was followed by Dance And Dance, Big Band Sound, Worthadd, Hollinger,  and Artic Fern.

It was a record-breaking third win in the race for Velazquez, and the second victory in a row in the Woodbine Mile for trainer Charlie Lopresti, who sent out Turallure to prevail last year.

“What a nice horse,” said Velazquez. “The way he does things, it’s incredible. It’s nice to be on him. The more he races, he’s learned to allow me to get him back a little bit and relax behind horses. When he does that, he’s a much better horse. Today, he broke out of there, and I got him back a little bit. When those two horses went, he relaxed really well behind them. I was very happy with the way he was doing it.”

Wise Dan returned $3.10 to win.

The Woodbine Mile is a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In event, and Wise Dan earned a fees-paid trip to the BC in November at Santa Anita.

Owner/breeder Morton Fink said Wise Dan is a possibility for the Grade 1 BC Classic on the dirt, but Lopresti said the BC Mile is a more likely spot for the 5-year-old gelding, who earned $600,000 in the Mile.

 “We’ll just see how he comes out of it, and take it from there,” said Lopresti. “I think he’s better on synthetic and turf, I honestly do. This race was pretty impressive. I don’t think horses make the lead that early and just keep going the way he did.”

Lopresti didn’t rule out running Wise Dan back in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile on Oct. 6 at Keeneland, before going to California.

 

 

stevejPS More than 1 year ago
Grass I tend to agree. Why not throw him in the Classic just for the halibut! The way things are going the BC Classic will end up with about 8 or 9 runners and with a field equivalent to a Grade III event. So, since Dan doesnt have to be supplemented, why not send him to SA?! He loves to run, he wont be shunted off to the shedrows and his owner will get the thrill of a lifetime. So its all gravy!
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
It is a very difficult choice but the right Breeders' Cup race for Wise Dan should be the Classic! Here are the reasons: 1) Once in a lifetime opportunity. His owner/breeder Morton Fink has waited 40 years. He may never get another shot. Wise Dan is a gelding, he will be back next year. If the Classic doesn't work out, try the Mile next year. 2) Distance question answered. Wise Dan is a G1 winner on dirt at Churchill going 9 furlongs, and missed another 9f at Churchill G1 by a head. If a horse can get 9f at Churchill, he should be able to get 9.5 to 10f at the heavy clay content main track at Santa Anita. This is why a borderline 10f horse like Game on Dude is so good at Santa Anita. 3) Surface preference. In my opinion, Wise Dan's best surface is the Keeneland Polytrack. Other than that, I think he is equally as good on dirt as grass. His performance in the 2011 Clark Handicap is equally as impressive as the 2012 Woodbine Mile and the Fourstardave. The 2012 Stephen Foster is not a good gauge of his dirt prowess because: - it was his first start in 10 weeks. He was wide throughout, and did not settle well for Johnny V probably due to the freshness. - the jockeys and trainers ganged up on his in the beginning of the race. Wise Dan was bumped by 4 horses in the first furlong and a half of the race. The opposing trainers/owners/jockeys were offended by Charles Lopresti's arrogance before the race. He was talking about starting either or Wise Dan and Successful Dan, and simply assumed that either one would win the race. This was a rare moment of weirdness by the normally well liked Charlie Lopresti. We should not judge Wise Dan's affinity to dirt route by his performance in the Stephen Foster. His performance in the Clark is a more accurate gauge. 4) competition and rewards. With Excelebration, Moonlight Cloud, Little Mike, Silver Max as potential starter in the Mile, the competition is actually stronger than the Classic in my opinion, and he'll be running for 60% less $$. It does not make sense at all. Wise Dan should sit the perfect trip in the Classic., having developed a great rapport with Johnny V, very tractable. Wise Dan is a faster horse than the frontrunning/pace pressing Game on Dude, To Honor and Serve and Fort Larned, and he will get the jump on the formidable closers like Ron The Greek, Flat Out etc. Mucho Macho Man should also sit a perfect trip like Wise Dan but that horse is prone to find troubles and he's not as fast as Wise Dan anyway. His most accomplished opponent in the Classic is the frontrunning Game on Dude and the hard closing Ron the Greek. However, Game on Dude is slightly distance challenged at 10f and is not as formidable as his pace pressing opponent in the Mile, Excelebration, and Ron the Greek is not as formidable as the closer that Wise Dan would have to hold off in the Mile, Moonlight Cloud who possesses truly exhilarating acceleration while Ron the Greek is more of a relentless stayer.
Perl More than 1 year ago
You make a strong case, however I must strongly disagree with one of your assertions -- Point #4. If and when Wise Dan and Game On Dude lock horns, I do believe Game On Dude will win the battle. Game On Dude is better bred for 10f and I assume you have seen his races. He won't settle for long and Chantal, while certainly easy on the eyes, is nowhere near strong enough to control him (perhaps no jockey is). When he moves sharply for the lead on the backstretch -- and it's not "if" it's "when" -- any horse that tries to run with him at that point is dead. He also is a fighter who doesn't really fold in any of his races If you remember the 2003 BC Classic, it featured an epic duel between Congaree and Medaglia D'Oro. Ultimately Medaglia D'Oro won that vicious battle because he was slightly better suited to go long, but he had no answer when Pleasantly Perfect came calling. It would be cool to see a similar battle take shape with Wise Dan and Game On Dude, but I do feel as though the Dude would be too much on his home surface. However, a horse like Wise Dan would soften him up sufficiently for the best closer to come along and take the money. I'm sure Ron The Greek's connections would be thrilled to have Wise Dan in the race. Your point #1 is excellent though, and I certainly wouldn't say Wise Dan is a no-hoper in the classic. But he wouldn't get my support at the windows as long as Game On Dude is in the race.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
except Wise Dan will not be winging it against Game on Dude up front, the front-end battle will be waged amongst Game on Dude, Nate's Mineshaft and Fort Larned. Wise Dan will sit the perfect trip and challenge the winner of that pace battle rounding the far turn and in the stretch, then hold off the closers, which I think will be too late to collar the leader in deep stretch which will be either the winner of the pace battle or Wise Dan. It looks like Wise Dan should at least finish 3rd in the Classic if he can get the distance - and that's a big if. That's more $$ than finishing 2nd in the Mile, and some owners/trainers might think that it's more prestigious than winning the Mile.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
If it's not broke then don't try to fix it. He's a gelding so forget breeding money. The Turf Mile is his race. The Classic isn't such a guarantee. I don't even lioke Game On Dude's chances.. too much speed in the race. Fort Larned, Flat Out, Ron The Greek all look tougher than Dude.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
We're not talking about breeding shed $$, we're talking about $3mil against Fort Larned, Flat Out, Ron The Greek, Game on Dude etc. vs. $1.2mil against Excelebration, Moonlight Cloud, Little Mike, Elusive Kate, Silver Max etc. It just makes more sense to go for the much higher rewards with slightly lesser competition.
Richard More than 1 year ago
How much of a difference does it make to race a European horse that is trained to run clockwise in Europe and then change to counter-clock wise in the U.S.? Maybe that is why Game On Dude did not do well in the U.A.E.!
Derek More than 1 year ago
Not that much because they race both ways in Europe. Cityscape for example has won going right handed and left handed (Dubai earlier this year). I guess some horses are better goind one way or another and are more suited to some tracks over others as well as ground conditions. Game On Dude was clearly not himself in Dubai (left handed the same as in the USA).
Steven Simonovich More than 1 year ago
By the way, A BIG thumbs up to Hunters Bay. I picked him in this race (great odds) and he did not disappoint. Look for him to attack the sod for a while.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Horse of the Year debates in September seem rather like a waste of time.
Perl More than 1 year ago
While I have little doubt that Frankel would beat Wise Dan by open lengths if they lined up on a straight turf course in the UK, wouldn't it be nice to see what would happen if they sent Frankel to face Wise Dan in the BC Mile at SA?I know, Frankel is worth a zillion dollars and they don't want to risk him on what they view as somewhat of a bull ring of a course, where it is a tad dangerous if they have a 12-14 horse field and the short run up to the first turn. But wouldn't this be a great test for Frankel, to see just how handy he is and if he can face an entirely new set of circumstances and still blow the field away? Well of course it would be the most exciting race of the weekend.
stevejPS More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry Perl but thats just silly! Frankel and Wise Dan are in completely different universes - literally and figuratively. Wise Dan is a great horse and I love him, but this was NOT a Grade I event in real terms and Frankel is the most famous and accomplished horse on the planet. He has no need to prove anything to US racegoers and he has absolutely no reason to come to Santa Anita
Perl More than 1 year ago
Well Steve, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I do think there is a segment of race-goers who would like Frankel's connections to do the sporting thing and send him to the Breeder's Cup. It's always interesting to see what happens when you take a prodigy like Frankel and see how he responds to a different sort of game. Will he wilt in the heat? What happens if and when he has to check going into the first turn? How will he respond? We'll probably never know and I wouldn't say it's a shame, but it is kinda too bad.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
There's no reason for Frankel's connection to send him to USA, nor for Wise Dan's connection to send him to the UK. Be patient, if Frankel races into his 5yo season, we might see them both in Meydan contesting the Dubai Duty Free.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
The Woodbine Mile had two G1 winners in a field of 9 in which 7 of them were graded stakes winners. This was a G1 event, there's no question about it. Wise Dan beat Cityscape by 4.25L, who lost to Excelebration by 1.5L. In 5 head to head matchups, Excelebration lost to Frankel by an average of 5.25L. So Wise Dan should be within 3L of Frankel. Since Frankel is rate 140 and Wise Dan is rated 128, in a handicap race Frankel would be giving Wise Dan 5 pounds. It will be an interesting horse race, objectively speaking. For the record, in Frankel's 13 race career, 9 of them featured 2 or more G1 winners but only one of his 13 races had the participation of 7 or more graded stakes winners.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Frankel ran at Royal Ascot, the temperatures were similar or warmer than L.A. in the fall. Also about half of his races were not run on a straight course, he handles the turn very well. Be patient, if they keep the Galileo horse of the century in training, who knows we might see him locking horns with Wise Dan in the Dubai Duty Free in Meydan, a galloping course that suit both horses.
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
YEP Stick A Fork In Any(Slim) Plans We Will See Frankle In The B.C.-After They See What Wise Dan Did (They Would Not Dare Take A ChanceComing Here) We Have The Best Turf Horse Alive.-Loluck-DS
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
NOT He Wont Be Ay S.A Top Five For Frankle (At Best )-lolk-DS
jon g More than 1 year ago
Frankel is oviously chicken to run outside ofEngland,so why debate it?
Derek More than 1 year ago
I'm sure the horse would love to come over to the States to hand outr a bit of whoop-ass....it's not his decision though, is it?!
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
Wise Dan-Little Mike (No Show Frankle )-Sad We Cant See It-Class Of The World At B.C=Frankle No Better Than Third In The World-Loluck-DS
Perl More than 1 year ago
Do you believe your own BS?
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Who the hell is Frankle? I disagree that he is 3rd best in the world, which is a great honor. Would that be Frankel's unraced half brother?
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
It was a very nice win by Wise Dan, but the Woodbine Mile is not even in the same league as the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness as far as prestige is concerned. I'll Have Another won two of the most important races in the entire WORLD and has the win in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby and the Grade II Robert Lewis Stakes under his belt as well. He won every race he ran in in 2012, and is still, deservedly so, the top candidate for 3 Year Old of the Year and Horse of the Year.
Steven Simonovich More than 1 year ago
HOY. I disagree.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
We will agree to disagree. I stand totally behind what I said about I'll Have Another.
Frank More than 1 year ago
Joy get off your IHA kool-aid and get real. How can you make a horse Horse of the YEAR if he ONLY raced for 4 months in the spring against DEVELOPING 3yrs! Get real. He doesnt even deserve 3yr champion!
B More than 1 year ago
There is still no horse who has done more this year than I'll Have Another. He is currently a shoe-in for three year old honors (no 3 year old in history who has won the Derby & the Preakness has ever lost the Eclipse) and is the current favorite for HOY, though that will be in jeopardy depending upon the outcome of some of the BC races.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I agree with you,al though I think the Breeders Cup races are all wide open. We're not even certain who is going to run in which races as yet. How people are awarding HOY honors based on BC races we don't even know who all the participants are yet sort of perplexes me. - LOL.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I don't particularly like Kool-Aid, no less drink it. I am totally in my right mind in saying what I said, and you are the one who needs to get real. Just how much money did you lose betting against IHA? They are always the ones who are so angry and caustic about him.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
You must not be a student of history. Look it up. HOTY is a done deal.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Joy. I'll give him 3 yr old honors unless Dullahan wins out this year in his final races or Alpha does which seems tougher to do. But not horse of the year. That's wide open as of now.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I have been watching a lot of races this year, Thomas, just as I know you have as well. I have seen a lot of impressive horses, IHA has impressed me the most this year. As much as I like Dullahan, he has lost a lot of big races this year, all on dirt. He is absolutely spectacular on polytrack, though. I don't think he has an equal on polytrack. If I were voting for 3 Year Old of the Year, I would have to keep in mind that Dullahan has lost a lot on dirt and he is great on one surface. IHA has won on polytrack and dirt, and his dirt races were superior races. And, most impressive of all, everytime he was asked to extend himself he did. He won every race he was in, the level of the races he won was a superior level of race as well. Those reasons and more give IHA the advantage in HOY honors. There are three other horses that could be in the running, but as of now, today, they still have not equalled IHA's achievements. I know people will disagree with me, that's doesn't phase me. The Breeders Cup races have a possibility to influence things, but the Breeders Cup races look up for grabs to me. I'm reading all sort of wild, crazy statements here about who is going to win those races, who is going to win Horse of the Year honors based almost entirely on those horses winning those races, and we don't even know who is going to be in the fields of those races yet. - LOL. The Breeders Cup races are completely wide open. How they all do will depend on how horses react to shipping to Santa Anita, who's feel well, and all sorts of other factors. And once the belittling of IHA began to start to flow, which is unfair and irks me to my very core, it needed to be pointed out all he has accomplished and what those accomplishments have qualified him for. Other horses, no matter their age, have had a much longer time, and many more races, to try to reach even close to the same level of accomplishment and have failed to do so. I totally stand behind my opinion, and what I said, about IHA. I have always been in his corner, ever since I saw him for the first time in the post parade before his first race ever at Hollywood Park. Other horses are great, too, and I admire them and their talent. I mean no disrespect to them and those who support them. IHA needs support too, and I am more than happy to support his cause for him. He's earned it, and he deserves it.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
It's possible for HOY but don't count out Ron The Greek, Fort Larned, Wise Dan, Mucho Macho Man, Game On Dude, And yes Dullahan or Alpha.. IHA was impressive but he only beat 3 year olds.. Many of whom have not continued their careers. SO judging him for HOY honors is premature... If the horses mentioned remain inconsistent then yes, but if any of them win out the season HOY is theirs.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Also...lets not forget that a filly named Questing could sneak into the ballad..
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
They all have had too many bad losses. Only a Ghostzapper kind of resume could surpass I'll Have Another or Smarty Jones.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I don't think IHA should be penalized in any way in the voting because other horses' owners decided to retire their horses for stud purposes. That was something beyond anyone else's control and shouldn't even be a tangible in the voting. IHA won every race he was in in 2012, all of the other candidates haven't, they all have lost along the way, some several times over. That will be a factor in voting. Some candidates are, so far, sprinters. Sprinters do not traditionally win HOY. We're going to agree to disagree on this subject, Thomas. I'm not going to change my allegiance from I'll Have Another. We all know what his resume is, it's pretty spectacular, no less for a horse who had a short time to show us just how brilliant he is. The other resumes are incomplete & fall short of his accomplishments so far. All the rest about who will run the table and win a combination of several G1 races and BC races by xyz amounts of mind-boggling lengths which will guarantee them the HOY award, is all only pure speculation at this point.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
None of these horses you mentioned has or will be able to accrue the resume to match I'll Have Another's unbeaten record with major wins in the G1 Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Santa Anita Derby. The overall record for the year is VERY important. HOTY must not have a bad loss or too many losses. Even a runner-up effort, albeit by 6L, lost HOTY honor for Blame. Really....HOTY is a done deal!
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
It does not matter what Dullahan or Alpha does. Their losses so far were too bad to be overlooked, and I'll Have Another hold head-to-head wins over them. No 3yo colt has ever not been crowned Champion 3yo Colt after winning 2 legs of the Triple Crown races. Part of it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, it is a simple fact that a 3yo colt who couldn't win one or two Triple Crown races simply does not stand a chance against older horses in year-end races. In recent years, all these colts who won 2 TC races were voted Champion 3yo in landslides, none of the voting was even close, not even for War Emblem after he demolished by his closest competitor Medaglia d'Oro in the 2002 Breeders' Cup Classic. - 2008 Big Brown: closest competitor Colonel John (major wins: Travers, Santa Anita Derby) finished mid-pack in the BCC. Big Brown won the Haskell and the Monmouth Stakes on turf against a G1/G2 caliber field of older horses, then retired. - 2005 Afleet Alex: closest competitor Flower Alley (major wins: Jim Dandy, Travers) finished mid-pack in the BCC. Afleet Alex retired after the Belmont Stakes. - 2004 Smarty Jones: closest competitor Birdstone (major wins: Belmont, Travers) finished mid-pack in the BCC. Afleet Alex retired after the Belmont Stakes. - 2003 Funny Cide: closest competitor Empire Maker (major wins: Belmont, Wood Memorial, Floriday Derby) finished 2nd in the Jim Dandy and then retired. - 2002 War Emblem: closest competitor Medaglia d'Oro (major wins: Jim Dandy, Travers, plus runner-up honors in the Belmont Stakes) finished 2nd in the BCC. War Emblem won the Haskell and then beaten by over 11L by Medaglia d'Oro in the BCC. - 1999 Charismatic: closest competitor Lemon Drop Kid (major wins: Belmont, Travers) finished mid-pack in the BCC. - 1998 Silver Charm: closest competitor Touch Gold (major wins: Belmont, Haskell) finished last in the BCC. Silver Charm was shut down for 6 months, and came back beaten a 1:5 in the Malibu. - 1997 Real Quiet: closest competitor Victory Gallop (major win: Belmont plus runner-up honors in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Haskell and Travers) closed with a magnificent rush like he always did but could not outfinish not 1, not 2 but 3 older horses. Real Quiet was done for the year. Bottom line: quit all of your if this and if that. Champion 3YO Colt is a done deal. I'll Have Another by a landslide. HOTY is also a done deal, but may not be a landslide, since no other horse has or will be able to accrue the resume to match I'll Have Another's unbeaten record with major wins in the G1 Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Santa Anita Derby. The overall record for the year is VERY important. HOTY must not have a bad loss or too many losses. Even a runner-up effort, albeit by 6L, lost HOTY honor for Blame. And I will put my $$ where my mouth is. I am willing to take I'll Have Another for HOTY at even money against the field. Willing to bet up to $1000 each against any number of individual bettors. I can be found at Belmont Park owner's box E12 about three days a week.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
I totally get what Joy is saying, and it is very simple. If voting were done now, IHA would be the runaway HoY. Of course, we still have 4 months to go and yes there are scenarios in which a number of different horses could win some races, including a BC race, and vault itself into the HoY lead. HoY is by no means settled. I think what Joy is frustrated about is that some folks, in speculating about what COULD happen, mainly in the yet-to-be-run BC races, act as if those possibilities are fact. They appear so certain of an outcome that they are basically awarding horses victories in races they haven't even run in yet, let alone won. The thing about IHA is that we know exactly what his final resume will look like. And right now, that resume is the srongest out there. Sure we can debate about the HoY implications of Horse A winning Race X, or Horse B winning Races Y and Z, but it can only be speculation. We can really only have a serious debate about how the actual HoY vote will go until Races X, Y, and Z have been run. And I am in no way against such speculation, as long as we acknowledge it as speculation.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
That is all exactly what I meant, Jordan. You totally and completely got what I meant. Thanks for your comments. Have a great day.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
I agree Joy. The Derby winner who also chased down the favored lone speed in the most exhilarating Preakness is HOTY. It's a done deal
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
IHA has put together a fabulous resume, and history is on his side in regard to past years' HOY/Eclipse award voting. I don't think a lot of people have studied or are familiar with the results over the last 40 years or so. I know a lot of people aren't aware what the rules are, how the races & horses are judged or what criteria is in the voting process. The most exhilarating Preakness - yes, I totally agree with you on that, GG. For me, it definitely was. I still get goosebumps just thinking about IHA's win in the Preakness. Totally thrilling!
Donnie Jones More than 1 year ago
Anyone check out the results from Louisiana Downs on Sunday? 3 horse won 6 races and came in 2nd in one. Must have been a very good post position that day!
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
I thought we'd see a horserace... What we saw was a Race Horse race! Thanks Dan.
Pat More than 1 year ago
Pretty much.
nicola c More than 1 year ago
great performance by wise than im liking him for the breeders cup mile, bookmakers over here fkd up big time the price was 6/4 all day and before the off, fools giving money away, good stuff