09/16/2013 1:47PM

Woodbine: Wise Dan eyes Shadwell Turf Mile as final Breeders' Cup prep

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Michael Burns
Wise Dan became the first two-time winner of the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile on Sunday, prevailing by 3 1/2 lengths under John Velazquez.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Wise Dan, winner of the 2012 Woodbine Mile, was hailed as a conquering hero well before the field of six went to the post for Sunday’s Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile. And, fortunately for the faithful, the 6-year-old version of Wise Dan proved to be as good or better than the one previously seen here as he cruised to a 3 1/2-length victory in a track-record time of 1:31.75 under regular rider John Velazquez.

“I don’t know if he’s getting better, but there are no signs that he’s slowing down,” said Charlie LoPresti, who trains the homebred Wise Dan for octogenarian owner Morton Fink.

Wise Dan, as if he needed any assistance, benefited from a favorable draw in post 4 and tracked fast fractions en route to a 108 Beyer Speed Figure, a two-point dip from last year’s Woodbine Mile figure.

The $600,000 winner’s prize boosted Wise Dan’s earnings past the $5 million mark, and he earned a second straight fees-paid berth to the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 2 through the Win and You’re In program. Wise Dan won that race last year en route to Horse of the Year honors.

Wise Dan vanned back to his Keeneland base Monday morning, and LoPresti said he would consider bringing back his stable star in search of a repeat in Keeneland’s Oct. 5 Shadwell Turf Mile. Wise Dan used last year’s Grade 1, $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile as a stepping-stone to the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita.

“I’ll see how he comes out of this,” LoPresti said. “Even though it looked so easy, you never know how much a race like that takes out of a horse because of the restraint he’s been under. If I can’t hold him on the ground, or if I really feel like he needs to run there, then that’s the only logical place to run him before the Breeders’ Cup because it’s right in his backyard.

“And the people at Keeneland – that’s our home, and all the fans there in Lexington I know would love to see him run. But I’ll only run him if that’s right for the horse. He’s going to have to tell us. I really don’t think I’m up against a wall because he’s dead fit. I think I have him where he needs to be for the Breeders’ Cup.

“It’s just a matter of do I breeze him or run him? That’s kind of what it was last year. He was doing so well, the [Shadwell Turf Mile] was just a publicly paid workout, really. I hate to sound that way, but that’s just kind of the way he is.”

Za Approval took his best shot in the Woodbine Mile but simply was second-best.

“He ran a really good race,” said Christophe Lorieul, assistant to Za Approval’s trainer, Christophe Clement. “He’s a nice horse. He always tries. It’s always nice to win, but finishing second to Wise Dan in a track record, that’s no shame.”

Za Approval, who is heading back to his Belmont base, is a firm-turf specialist who had shipped to Betfair Hollywood Park and finished second to West Coast divisional leader Obviously in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile in his prior start June 29.

“We’ll bring him back somewhere in California maybe, at some stage,” Lorieul said. “We’ve already scratched him twice in New York because of soft turf. We’ll give him plenty of time. He seems to run back good after a good layoff.”

Trade Storm, who invaded from Europe for trainer David Simcock, rallied to finish third in the Woodbine Mile, 1 1/4 lengths behind Za Approval.

“He was slow away from the gates, but there was a quick pace,” said traveling head lad Ian Russell, who has been here with Trade Storm since last Tuesday. “The winner got away. He’s a very good horse.”

Trade Storm will head back to his Newmarket base Thursday.

“He’ll have a little holiday and will be looking to go back out to Dubai,” Russell said.

Trade Storm raced four times in Dubai last winter, winning two stakes, including the Group 2 Zabeel Mile, and then finishing a close fourth in the Group 1, $5 million Dubai Duty Free.

Riding the River, based here with trainer and co-owner Dave Cotey, was beaten 7 1/4 lengths when finishing fourth behind Wise Dan in the Woodbine Mile for the second consecutive year. The 6-year-old gelding also ran fifth in the 2011 Woodbine Mile, which was won by the LoPresti-trained Turallure.

“I thought he would have fared a little better, but nobody’s going to beat Wise Dan,” Cotey said. “We’ll give him some time now and look at the Labeeb. That would be a nice spot for him.”

The $100,000 Labeeb, an overnight stakes race, is scheduled for one mile on turf here Oct. 19.

◗ The handle for Sunday’s 11-race card was $6,698,099, breaking the record of $6,064,189 set in 2011 and well above the $5,713,186 wagered last year. The handle on the Woodbine Mile itself was $1,522,687 and was bolstered by a show pool of $685,361, with $617,584 of that amount wagered on Wise Dan.

Walter More than 1 year ago
He is training great & running tremendous races, so this would be the ideal opportunity to go for a 5 million purse in the BCC. He is a gelding so he can only make money on the track. Even more reason to go for the big purse if he was good enough. Obviously, Mort Fink doesn't think he is good enough, otherwise he would run in the BCC.
Big Bob More than 1 year ago
Damn good point Walt, Horses like this don't come along often, why the hell would you waste their talent at a mile on turf... obviously he can win at any distance on any surface, he's proved it ( more than a year ago, regardless) so why run against the middle class? C'mon Fink. He probably can win at 10 Furlongs on dirt, just wish we could watch it.
Perl More than 1 year ago
After Game on Dude loses the Classic and Wise Dan smokes in the mile, we will have quite a (meaningless) horse of the year debate on our hands.
steve szymanski More than 1 year ago
Best horse in training. PERIOD. Wise Dan
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Best horse who beat.best competition multiple times. Forget about win streaks they are Not overrated by any means. But we should look at more things then that for Hoy. My.favorite horse Curlin won Hoy two years in a row. He never won more than 3 races in the same year. Quality of competetition and difficulty of race should be look at. Groupie doll could of been considered best horse I. Training period in 2012.lol
shawn kennedy More than 1 year ago
RE: the Filly and Mare race was the Canadian which was ABOUT one mile and an eighth and the winner was well off the track record.
Eddie Smith More than 1 year ago
correct, it was a distance of "about" 9f, but there was a track record for "about" 9f which was 142.87. The winner's time was 144.05, 1.18 seconds or about 6 lengths off the track record. The winner was a European import filly who was nothing but an allowance winner in France and was 0 for 4 in this country running in restricted, G2 and G3 races. I'm not sure how anyone doesn't see the track was lightning fast, which is why Wise Dan's Beyer for this year's WO Mile was 108 and last years Beyer was 110.
AzShowVivor More than 1 year ago
I love Wise Dan but he beat garbage and it was a small field so let's not get too carried away with that performance...how many times do we see great horses dominate in small fields and then run back and bomb against big fields with some talent in there...happens all the time..no matter where he runs let's just enjoy his greatness and be glad he is a gelding because if he wasn't he would have been retired along time ago.
Jef Fawell More than 1 year ago
Soo True !!!
steve szymanski More than 1 year ago
Learn how to handicap. He beat 2 nice horses that will both win Grade 1's.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Is the garbage among the also-rans or in your statement.
myjockwon More than 1 year ago
if you want to look at garbage look at what game on dudes been running with, then got hammered in the classic an what did Wise Dan do in the large field of the turf mile,O he just beat Animal Kingdom and what did he do after the mile can you sayWorld Cup
Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
if he's tearing down the bar they'll run him, if he needs a breath they'll train him up to the BC. He's capable either way and count on LoPresti to do the right thing by the horse. I don't believe he would ever run WD if he was not right. and if Game On Dude wins the Classic, that will be your horse of the year.
steve szymanski More than 1 year ago
Game on Dude can not beat a full field of quality horses. never could. Nothing but BC losses because the true pace kills him, unlike the real horse of the year. Wise Dan, who can sit off a 1:08 and still wuin with ease.
Big Bob More than 1 year ago
At a 1 & 1/4 on dirt?
Brogan Kornaus More than 1 year ago
Game on Dude needs to get the lead in order to win. The way I see it is the Breeders' Cup Classic is his race to lose. Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man are being pointed towards the classic, so I don't see GOD getting the lead.
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
i bet someone is thinking out of all the horses they had to geld why wise dan. prob they best horse they will ever have and he cant go to the stud farm. kinda sucks
Guy John More than 1 year ago
I agree WD's performance was laughable, but that turf course was embarrassing. They didn't acknowledge it but didn't the filly in the No. Dancer break the world record running 1 1/8 mile in 1:44. If it wasn't a WR, it had to be close to it. Mind you, she's a filly whose previous best was 3rd in a grade 3.
elshlomo More than 1 year ago
Per Equibase charts, Northern Dancer was 1 1/2 miles in 2:28.46; track record is 2:25.60, set in 1994. Canadian Stakes was run at "about 1 1/8 mi" in 1:44.05. Track record for abt 1 1/8 is 1:42.87, set in 2005. Nothing "embarrassing" about any of that.
elshlomo More than 1 year ago
Correction, 2004 for the abt 1 1/8 mi record.
EddySealy More than 1 year ago
Guy you are embarrassing...what evidence do you have to say the track was embarrassing? do you know that Woodbine has the best turf track in all of North America? any horse man would tell you that..so before you go talking stupid check your facts first
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
That Turf course was kept in great condition. They took races off the turf prior to the weekend to have it in tip top shape. We also had rain here on thursday and bit friday, so I am not sure how lightning fast that course was..................get a life Guy.
edb More than 1 year ago
Another WOW race by WD. You have to admit both GOD and WD have put their best hoof forward as they race for HOY. I'm just happy to be able to watch these warriors race. Tough to make a buck when they win, but that's why they make pick3, 4 and 6s. Just keep them healthy.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Very well said.
Dan Cronin More than 1 year ago
beyers on turf are silly but ran my numbers and 114 is the number, not sure why the beyer people keep doing this, maybe they want to trick people I don't know
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
The only thing I did hope for was Dan to run in the Arlington Million. He would have handled that field with ease. but they did not layout his campaign for that race to target so, Oh well.