Wise Dan lived up to his billing as the prohibitive1-2 odds-on favorite when he crushed the field at the $1 million Grade 1 Woodbine Mile today.
He took home the winner's purse of $600,000 and an automatic berth and all expenses paid for the Breeders' Cup Mile, since this race was part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series "Win and You’re In" program.
Facing a tough eight-horse field with many challengers that were more accomplished than him on grass, Wise Dan posted a winning time of 1:34.0 for the mile over the E.P. Taylor turf course, which was classified as firm just before the race.
At the start, Big Band Sound broke eager and took the lead, but jockey Tyler Pizarro took him back immediately, leaving Cityscape (GB), Hollinger and Worthadd (IRE) with a battle for the lead.
Worthadd (IRE), under Luis Contreras, took the lead after the first quarter-mile with 99-1 long shot Artic Fern shadowing him and Wise Dan and Cityscape (GB) in third and fourth respectively.
Just as they started rounding the far turn, jockey John Velazquez made the move of the race as he placed Wise Dan between Artic Fern and Worthadd (IRE). This gave him the opening he needed to create a lead by the final quarter-mile pole.
As they raced for home, Velazquez turned Wise Dan loose and he started to shake off Cityscape (GB), who took the turn four-wide and moved into second place.
In the end, Wise Dan won under a hand-ride on the final furlong to win by 3.5 lengths with Hunters Bay, ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson, closing strong to finish second, passing Cityscape (GB) who finished third.
Riding the River came from dead last to finish fourth, just ahead of Dance and Dance, who was running just in front of him early on.
It was a record-setting race of sorts, as Charles Lopresti became the first trainer with consecutive wins on this race.
The winning jockey, recent Hall of Fame inductee John Velazquez—winner with Riviera in 2000 and Leroidesanimaux in 2005—became the first jockey to win it three times.
Now it's off to the Breeder's Cup for Wise Dan, though it is still unknown which race he will run in since his connections have not made their plans clear yet.
While he could very well run the Breeders' Cup Mile, he could also compete in the Dirt Mile since he has proved himself on every surface he has run on.
One thing is certain, Wise Dan will be the center of attention for whatever race he competes in.
Woodbine Mile S. | Grade 1 | Purse: $1 Million | Distance | 1 Mile | Track: Firm
|3||Wise Dan||John R. Velazquez||3.10||2.70||2.10|
|6||Hunters Bay||Emma-Jayne Wilson||6.30||4.40|
|7||Cityscape (GB)||James Doyle||2.90|
Also ran: 1 - Riding the River, 2 - Dance And Dance (IRE), 5 - Big Band Sound, 9 - Worthadd (IRE), 8 - Hollinger , 4 - Artic Fern
|Winning Owner: Morton Fink|
|Winning Trainer: Charles Lopresti|
|Winning Time: 1:34.07|
|Fractions: 23.78, 46.90, 1:10.38|