09/12/2013 12:08PM

Woodbine: Wise Dan lands post 4 for Woodbine Mile

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Barbara D. Livingston
Wise Dan was assigned post 4 for Sunday's Grade 1 Woodbine Mile.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Wise Dan was sent off at 1-2 when winning last year’s Woodbine Mile by 3 1/4 lengths for owner Morton Fink and trainer Charlie LoPresti.

On Sunday, Wise Dan has been pegged at 2-5 in track oddsmaker Ernie Perri’s morning line and will be seeking his ninth straight victory while looking to defend his title in the Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile for 3-year-olds and up. The Woodbine Mile is a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In race, offering a fees-paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Now 6 and coming off a campaign in which he was named North America’s Horse of the Year, champion turf male, and champion older male, Wise Dan will face five rivals in the Woodbine Mile and emerged from the ceremonial draw in the trackside tent with post 4.

John Velazquez returns aboard Wise Dan, who will be the 124-pound highweight but will be dropping five pounds off his last-out victory in Saratoga’s Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile turf race that he also won last year prior to his Woodbine Mile heroics.

[BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Win and You’re In schedule and results]

Za Approval, trained in New York by Christophe Clement, traveled to Betfair Hollywood Park to finish second behind top West Coast turf miler Obviously in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on June 29.

Garret Gomez has picked up the mount on Za Approval, the 4-1 second choice in the morning line who gets in with 119 pounds and will begin from post 6.

Trade Storm, invading from England for trainer David Simcock, finished a good third when making his last start in the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood.

Gary Stevens has been recruited for the mount on Trade Storm, who is the 8-1 third choice on the morning line and will start from post 3.
Trade Storm arrived late Tuesday evening and cantered five furlongs on the Polytrack here Thursday morning under work rider Christopher Hough.

Dimension, Excaper, and Riding the River ran 1-2-3 in the Grade 2 Play the King over seven furlongs on turf here Aug. 25, and all bring solid credentials into the Woodbine Mile.

Conor Murphy trains Dimension, who is based at Skylight Training Center in Kentucky and captured the Play the King by 2 1/4 lengths in front-running fashion under returning rider David Moran.

Excaper, trained here by Ian Black, has yet to win a stakes race, but has finished second in no less than six stakes, including the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs in 2011. Leading rider Luis Contreras has the mount.

Riding the River, winner of the last two runnings of Woodbine’s Grade 2 King Edward over one mile of turf, will be making his third consecutive Woodbine Mile appearance for trainer and co-owner Dave Cotey.

The 6-year-old gelding was beaten just 1 1/2 lengths by the LoPresti-trained Turallure in 2011 and ended 6 1/4 lengths behind Wise Dan last year when seemingly past his peak.

Todd Kabel, who has won three stakes aboard Riding the River, regains the mount.

Woodbine’s 11-race Sunday card also includes the Grade 1, $300,000 Northern Dancer, a 1 1/2-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and up; the Grade 2, $300,000 Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race that is a Win and You’re In for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf; and the Grade 3 Ontario Derby, a $150,000 race for 3-year-olds.