Wise Dan sparkled in his seasonal bow on Friday, defeating Kaigun by a measured three-quarters of a length in the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland.
Trained by Charlie LoPresti and ridden by John Velazquez, Wise Dan, the 2012 and 2013 Horse of the Year, covered the mile on a firm turf course in 1:34.91.
“I was worried about it (because the race marked Wise Dan’s 2014 debut) just because of the winter and how much (training) time we lost,” said LoPresti. “I told Johnny (Velazquez) going into the race that ‘I just don’t have him as tight as I need to but just give him an easy race and if he’s good enough to win just do the best you can to save him for the next one.’ This one is going to put us where we need to be.”
The victory extended Wise Dan’s Keeneland record of graded stakes wins to six and gave Fink his eighth graded stakes victory here. Fink received a gold tray as part of Keeneland’s signature graded stakes trophy program. Only 18 other owners in Keeneland history have achieved such an accomplishment.
Approaching the far turn, jockey Orlando Bocachica sent Lochte after the leaders with Wise Dan also on the move through six furlongs in 1:11.03. The two hooked up briefly at the head of the stretch before Wise Dan kicked clear and had more than enough to hold off Kaigun.
It was the ninth Grade 1 victory for Wise Dan, now 7. The gelding has won a Grade 1 race in each of the past four years and increased his overall record to 28-20-2-0. In notching his 16th graded stakes win, Wise Dan added $180,000 to his bankroll to increase his earnings to $6,473,610.
Wise Dan also joins Kip Deville (2007-2008) as the only repeat winner of the race.
A Kentucky-bred son of Wiseman’s Ferry out of the Wolf Power (SAF) mare Lisa Danielle, Wise Dan returned $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10. Kaigun, the longest shot on the board in the field of six with Alan Garcia riding, returned $12.40 and $5.40 with Lochte finishing 4 ¼ lengths back in third and returning $2.80 to show.
Keeneland photo by Coady