Wise Dan, under the urging of jockey John Velazquez, ran down pace setter Obviously (IRE) in the stretch and won the Breeders' Cup Mile in sensational fashion.
The race was expected to be a showdown between Wise Dan and Excelebration (IRE) in the America vs. Europe battle, as Wise Dan was trying to end Europe's stranglehold in the event.
Obviously (IRE) as expected took the lead and went to the rail immediately followed by Suggestive Boy (ARG) and Wise Dan covered right inside and straight behind Obviously (IRE).
Excelebration (IRE) ran fourth in the clear just to the outside of Wise Dan with jockey Joseph O'Brien trying to keep his main rival covered on the inside.
The pace was slow for this kind of a race though, they ran the first quarter-mile in 23.34 and the positions remained unchanged until they started to reach the far turn.
At this point, jockey Joe Talamo started to ask his horse to start moving away from Suggestive Boy (ARG) who had been shadowing him.
As they reached the top of the stretch, Obviously (IRE) started to pull away but Velazquez had queued Wise Dan and he just started to run down the leader.
Wise Dan took the lead and started to pull away and win by 1.5 lengths. The winning time of 1:31.78 was a new track record.
The 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom, was coming from a 265-day layoff and he ran impressively for second. He had been bottled up on the rail but once he got a seam he exploded and finished second.
Is Wise Dan the Horse of the Year?
Animal Kingdom's connections must feel very well with their star horse's performance. He can only move forward from it.
Excelebration (IRE) had a striking position on the clear but didn't have the explosiveness today. The other European star expected to challenge was Moonlight Cloud (GB), but she finished eight and was a non-factor.
Before the race, the official Timeform world rankings had Frankel (GB) as the world's top ranked horse with 147, and Black Caviar (AUS) second with 136.
Excelebration (IRE) was co-ranked third with Cirrus Des Aigles (FR) with 135 points, and Wise Dan was fifth with 134 points.
This can certainly place him second behind Frankel (GB) and returns the question back to America, is he the best horse in the nation?
Much of the result will have to do with what will Game on Dude does in the Classic, but right now he is the deserving winner of the Horse of the Year Award.
Breeders' Cup Mile | Grade 1 | Purse: $2 million | Distance: One Mile on Turf
Winning Time: 1:31.78 (New Track Record)|
|2||Wise Dan||John R. Velazquez||5.60||3.00||2.80|
|5||Animal Kingdom||Rafael Bejarano||6.60||4.60|
|3||Obviously (IRE)||Joseph Talamo||4.20|
|Also ran: 6 - Excelebration (IRE) , 1 - Mr. Commons , 4 - Jeranimo , 8 - Suggestive Boy (ARG) , 9 - Moonlight Cloud (GB) , 7 - Willcox Inn|
|Wager Type||Winning Numbers||Payoff|
|$1 Pick 3||7-9-2 (3 correct)||1,163.80|
|$2 Daily Double||9-2||95.60|
|Winning Breeder: Morton Fink|
|Winning Owner: Morton Fink|
|Winning Trainer: Charles Lopresti|