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.