Wise Dan wins $1M Ricoh Woodbine MileAP , Associated Press
Sep. 15, 2013 8:17 PM ET
TORONTO (AP) — Wise Dan lived up to all the hype Sunday.
The reigning Horse of the Year easily defended his title in the $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile, earning a comfortable 3 1/2-length victory for his ninth straight graded stakes win. The six-year-old gelding posted a course-record time of 1:31.75 on the firm turf at Woodbine Racetrack.
"I feel like we've got a great horse," said trainer Charlie LoPresti. "What he did today, I mean I say it every time he runs with what he does and how he does things, was really impressive."
Breaking from post four, Wise Dan effortlessly stalked the pace behind early frontrunners Excaper and Dimension. At the head of the stretch, Wise Dan took off like a rocket, easily passing Excaper and Dimension into the lead.
"I think I did a little too much with him in the post parade," said jockey John Velazquez said. "He was kind of quiet and he broke well and I put him right behind the other two horses and he got rank with me."
Wise Dan earned the $600,000 winner's share and a berth in the Breeders' Cup Mile on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. The defending Breeders' Mile champion paid $2.50 to win, while second-place Za Approval paid $3.50 and third-place Trade Storm $2.60 to show.
Wise Dan became the first two-time Woodbine Mile winner and LoPresti earned a record-tying third straight victory in this event.
The win was Wise Dan's 10th in 11 career turf races and 18th overall in 25 starts with career earnings surpassing $5 million. Over the last two years, he has won 10 of 11 starts, the lone blemish coming with a second-place finish by a head to Ron The Greek in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap in June 2012 — a 1 1/8-mile dirt race at Churchill Downs.
Wise Dan is undefeated since then but LoPresti isn't concerned about the streak.
"The most important thing to me at this point is that he runs his race, he comes back good and he can run again in his next race," he said. "Sure, I don't want him to get beat. I would've liked to not have got beat in the Stephen Foster, he would've had just about a perfect record last year and this year."
LoPresti will wait to see how Wise Dan recovers before deciding whether to run him before the Breeders' Cup. Last year, Wise Dan won the $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland before going to the Breeders' Cup.
LoPresti wouldn't say if he'll follow a similar plan.
"Even though it looked so easy you never know how much a race like that takes out of a horse because of the strain he's been under," the trainer said. "But I'll only run him if it's right for the horse ... he's going to have to tell us."