Euros Wise to Stay Home

I never thought I would ever say this about any horse or any race, but the feeling here is Wise Dan is unbeatable at a mile on the grass, and probably unbeatable up to 1 1/8 miles.

Every horse, no matter how great, can be beaten, whether it be due to an off day, a fluke pace, too much of a weight concession, or a surface not to his or her liking. Somewhere, someplace, sometime, there is always the chance a horse is going to run into a better horse on a given day. None of this seems to apply to Wise Dan, which is why I believe he cannot be beaten, as silly a comment as that may seem.

It just seems as if it would be a futile endeavor to bother sending a European horse over here for the Breeders’ Cup Mile unless you’re content with finishing second. You missed the boat with Frankel, and only a freak of a horse of that caliber would be given a chance to beat Wise Dan, so why bother?

Now, of course, a build-up like this often precipitates a defeat, but I’m confident enough having seen what I’ve seen over the past 13 months to firmly believe that is not going to happen. The headline on this column is not meant to provide locker room material, especially for the Euros, it’s just a unique feeling of invincibility I’ve never had before over such a long period of time. I’m sure the Euros felt the same way watching Frankel run over a three-year-period. And there’s no doubt the Australians have felt the same way about Black Caviar. Defeat just never enters the mind.

I have stated several times how I would have liked to see him step up and seek new worlds to conquer and put himself in a category with the truly great geldings in history – for the horse’s legacy and no other reason. Now that it’s apparent that isn’t going to happen and his connections are content to keep him doing what’s he’s been doing, which is winning, all you can do is just enjoy the show he is putting on, because it is quite an extraordinary show.

It has reached a point where Wise Dan’s only opponent each race is the clock, and even the clock is overmatched. Course records come to him with the same ease as his effortless stride that devours his equine opponents race after race.

There is an old Charlton Heston movie called “Major Dundee,” in which the Apache chief after wiping out a cavalry platoon asks one of the dying soldiers, “Who you send against me now?”

Yes, that was a bit of a stretch to make a point, but as a fan of the movie, I can’t help but hear those words after every Wise Dan massacre.

The big turf miler out west obviously is Obviously, and Wise Dan has already beaten him on his home turf in course record time. Za Approval, a winner of six of 12 on grass, went out to California and was beaten 3 1/4 lengths by Obviously at equal weights in the grade I Shoemaker Mile. In Sunday’s Woodbine Mile, Wise Dan beat Za Approval by 3 1/2 lengths in a course record 1:31.73 giving him five pounds and doing it all on his own with little urging through a sizzling final half in :46 1/5.

The Euros also decided to take a crack at him, sending over Trade Storm, who had finished fourth behind two of their best milers, Toronado and Dawn Approach, in the Sussex Stakes, giving the 3-year-olds eight pounds. In the Woodbine Mile, he was dropping 12 pounds off that race and nine pounds off his third in the group II Celebration Mile, and was getting Lasix for the first time. Although he closed well at Woodbine to finish third, he was no match for Wise Dan. Granted, he is not quite in the top echelon, but he has beaten Musir in Dubai and was one to three lengths behind other top-class milers Declaration of War, Aljamaaheer, and The Apache in group I stakes.

This year's top miler in France by far is the filly Moonlight Cloud. In her last five starts dating back to last fall, she has won three group I stakes against the boys and a group III and is undefeated in three starts this year. In her only defeat during that time, she finished eighth to Wise Dan, beaten over six lengths, with a bit of a bumping incident on the backstretch.

Granted, we’re not talking about superstars here, and we’re well aware how dangerous the European milers are. But Wise Dan took care of top-class Euros last year, and we haven’t seen anything much better this year than the Queen Elizabeth II and Prix Jacques le Marois winner Excelebration, who was fourth to Wise Dan in last year’s Mile. Yes, he was trounced four times in second by Frankel, but, as mentioned earlier, that ship has sailed.

So far, we haven’t seen a horse at one mile on the grass who can match Wise Dan’s power in the stretch. Not even a soft course and a horrible trip in the Firecracker could get him beat. It seems inevitable that he will again run the table the rest of the year -- a carbon copy campaign from last year.

Looking at him in his stall recently, I was amazed at his body length and muscle tone, especially in his hind end. You could see how he can generate so much power without really extending himself fully and with limited body movement. He has an extremely efficient engine that enables him to outrun any horse in the stretch, which is why I don’t believe he will beaten again. On top of all that, he has a great mind and is professional in everything he does. He knows what's expected of him and just goes out there and gets it done. In short, he is a winning machine.

I’m not even going to approach the question of the horse’s legacy again, at least at this time, only to say, everyone can look at that aspect of his career from the outside and want to see him strive for Forego, Kelso, and John Henry greatness. They do it only as a fan and an admirer of the horse. But his connections are the only ones who look at it from the inside, and if winning is more important to them (although trainer Charles LoPresti did say earlier he wanted to try him on the dirt), then all we can do is just appreciate what we have and let history take care of the rest.

Just look at the length of Wise Dan's body and the muscle lines in his hind end. It is apparent where he gets all that power from.
Photo by Steve Haskin, please ask before taking.


Leave a Comment:



I wonder what IF Animal Kingdom had a better trip in last years BC Mile.

I just wonder.

Great Horse though that Wise Dan..  

16 Sep 2013 4:03 PM
Thoroughbreds are the best

Look also at the wither height and length and slope of shoulder.  Also interesting is the long, this neck.  Wise Dan is heavy in the rear end and light in the front end allowing him to move his hindquarters under himself more and reach more with his front due to his center of balance being further back.  While he is long, his length is in the length of his hip and shoulder not in his back, giving him a strong back to transmit his power.  With the lighter front end, he can actually stay in suspension slightly longer, allowing him to extend his reach just a bit more.  Also look at the depth of his ribs, allowing for greater lung capacity without a broad chest and heavy muscle.  This is a very efficient race horse.  His structure as well as his training has also helped keep him very sound in his legs and feet.  While difficult to assess his forelegs, his hocks are well let down again increasing the leverage of the back leg.  He actually looks like he could run longer than a mile as he appears to have long muscles as opposed to bulky muscles.  

16 Sep 2013 4:32 PM

He really only has himself to compete against. As you say, no one is likely to lay a glove on him at his 1 mi distance on the turf. What seems to happen with horses like this, he runs out of quality one shows up. His future races might as well be scheduled as walkovers. Will be interesting to see who gets bored with the same ole-same ole first, the public or his connections. With a gelding, they very nearly have painted themselves into a corner to assert they won't put his record in jeopardy and will keep him on the same path. So, we sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. Not much else we can do. Makes what the connections of Zenyatta did even more amazing: twice, they put it all on the line and both times the result was spectacular. One win and one not a defeat as much as a gift of one of the greatest efforts and stretch runs in the history of the sport. To me, there is no shame in losing, the regret is not trying. I can't help be a little bit sad that we won't get to see just how good Wise Dan really is.

16 Sep 2013 5:14 PM

Nice column Steve.  Here's a horse we can truly enjoy that is king of his domain. When was the last time we had a reigning HOTY give an encore performance?

I still think that Finke and Lopresti have an ace up their sleves if needed to defend the title, should a certain Dude with his game on, manages to win the BCC ...a tall order that will be if Cross Traffic, Fort Larned, Mucho Macho Man, Verrazano, Moreno, Palace Malice, Orb and Successful Dan showup in California for the BCC.  An encore in the Clark by Wise Dan ... thats their trump card if needed but personally I don't think it will be required especially if Wise Dan smashes/equals another track record in the Shadwell or Breeder's Cup Mile.

16 Sep 2013 5:19 PM
Love 'em all

A Wise Dan blog is just what I'd hoped you would treat us with today, Mr. Haskin.  Haven't stopped smiling since I first read the news of his record-breaking win at Woodbine yesterday ... just minutes after the race.  Ohhhh Happy Day!  

You wrote .... >On top of all that, he has a great mind and is professional in everything he does. He knows what's expected of him and just goes out there and gets it done. In short, he is a winning machine.<  So true, but I really think WD truly loves what he does ... and it shows!  He's a very happy horse, which makes it even more wonderful for him, his connections ... and his many fans.  To me, that's the most important part of this sport; that and knowing how well-cared for he is by all the folks who love him dearly.

You have made my day!  Thank you ... and love the photo.

16 Sep 2013 6:03 PM


Be patient.  There's a lot more to come. Wise Dan is a gelding and may be around a couple more seasons to enjoy. Pray that he stays sound.

16 Sep 2013 6:14 PM
Steve Haskin

Johnny, Animal Kingdom was and will be the best horse Wise Dan ever faced. And he ran a spectacular race in the BC Mile; one of the best losing efforts I've seen in a long time. He may very well have beaten Wise Dan that day with a clean trip, but it is mere speculation, so why even bother with conjecture. I dont see anyone in Wise Dan's or Animal Kingdom's class. If AK didnt beat him no one will -- in my opinion of course.

16 Sep 2013 6:40 PM

Lovely article on Wise Dan and his prowess Steve.  I have come to have a great respect for this horse.  He truly was deserving of the last HOY, even though I rooted for Paynter to get it.  But Wise Dan's on track accomplishments proved he earned that and beyond.  He is an amazing animal indeed.  Yep, and the battery pack is right in the back quarters!  Love the photo.  Like the reference to the line in the movie too, it fits.

Let the Euros come, they are up against a monster, but let 'em come.  Congratulations to Johnny V and Wise Dan and connections.

Now, the 3 yr. olds, yikes.  Do we realize we have had a different winner in just about every 3 yr. old stakes race this spring and summer?  Any one of them could go to the BCC but that means they face G.O.D. at home.  And the goal for Paynter is BCC as well.  My perfect scenario would be Paynter wins his next Awesome Again Stakes, wins the BCC and gets HOY.  

Shanghai Bobby is due to return, where is ItsMyLuckyDay?  Is Oxbow out for the rest of the year?  Who is going in the upcoming JCGC in two weeks?

16 Sep 2013 6:51 PM
Sandy in Lexington

Steve, I absolutely adore "Hangin' with Haskin".  This article was awesome.  Wise Dan is such a powerful force in the horse racing industry - the boy wasn't hardly breathing heavy after yesterday's race at Woodbine.  Amazing to watch him - it rocks my world!  Thanks again for such a wonderful article.  You never disappoint!

16 Sep 2013 7:02 PM


The Euro's respect Timeform ratings and I gather that Wise Dan's current rating subsequent to the Woodbine Mile, 135, will not encourage them to face him ...especially, not on Santa Anita's firm turf course.

16 Sep 2013 7:09 PM


You are by far my favorite turf writer, but I do (respectfully) believe you and the other writers who call(ed) for Wise Dan to "do more" are wrong. I think the horse is being conservatively managed so the owner and trainer can enjoy him for the long term.  He is a hard trying, competitive horse and to overface him may be courting disaster. Even though in the stall, he is an amazing physical specimen with an excellent temperament, I wonder why he and all his brothers were gelded? There must be something that caused the owner to make that irreversible decision.

Although I am not nearly as articulate as you or Joe Clancy, I will refer you to a wonderful article written by Joe Clancy who calls the management of these fabulous animals, a "balancing" act. I think he is on to something here, especially as it concerns Wise Dan.

16 Sep 2013 7:52 PM

Hi Steve, I too was hoping your post today would be about Wise Dan. I think he just phenomenal. Might I add that his greatness could be in the genes, back to the greatest one, our beloved Secretariat. I would like to think that had he been allowed to race on he too would have been winning races on turf. I so hope he stays healthy and that Mr Fink retires him at the top of his game. So far, I think Mr Fink has made wise decisions for Wise Dan. Finally, I agree, that hip is just awesome and no doubt is what propels him to win. He seems to run so effortlessly. I hope Johnny V continues as his jockey. They seem to make a great team. So go Wise Dan, all the way to HOY again. You are the man!. (and Steve, once again, a great post!).

16 Sep 2013 8:12 PM

Steve your right. On any given day Wise Dan can be beaten. You never know how he is going to feel that day and how things play out in that race.

16 Sep 2013 8:19 PM

Round Table or Secretariat would have killed Frankel or Wise equal one mile. I'd love to mention John Henry, but he lagged a bit tooo much for one mile...but they would have felt his shadow roll coming!

16 Sep 2013 8:24 PM
Shelby's Best Pal

I am looking forward to seeing Wise Dan again at the Breeders' Cup. He is a star and makes the event more outstanding. Thanks for sharing the great picture.

16 Sep 2013 8:26 PM

Trevor Denman's mantra applies well in the case of Wise Dan. He is simply "poetry in motion." Conservative connections aside, you can't find fault with this horse. He knows his job, and he does it better and more consistently than anyone else among his peers. It is hard to make a case for another to challenge him as HOA repeat. We are witnessing history here. Of that you can be certain.

16 Sep 2013 8:49 PM
John from Baltimore

If Wise Dan can win out the rest of the year the key horse in the race for horse of the year is Fort Larned, in my opinion.  If he goes in the Classic and wins he is probably horse of the year even with his record this year because two Classic wins is so hard to do.  The other thing he could do is go in the classic and act like a rabbit to Game on Dude and get the Dude beat, handing the title to Wise Dan, again.  If Game on Dude wins HOY is his.

16 Sep 2013 8:52 PM

I have not paid that much attention to the accomplishments of Wise Dan, because, at heart, I am a dirt-race fan; I've simply not paid that much attention to turf specialists.  However, once Dan earned HOY honors last year, I've followed him quite closely and what I find most amazing is the efficiency of his stride.  He appears so well within himself that it doesn't look as though he is moving fast, then I take note of the fractions and final time and all I can say is "Wow".

16 Sep 2013 9:18 PM
Paula Higgins

Yup Steve, I think you're right. I don't believe we will hear "The British are coming, the British are coming" to take on Wise Dan. He is otherworldly. They would be smart to stay home. His rump reminds me of Zenyatta's, but dare I say, I think his is bigger and better. (Sorry Big Girl, still love you and Rachel the best). Wise Dan is amazingly well put together, as the best breed noted. Ranagulzion, I hope you are right and they will keep him going for a few more seasons since he is a gelding. You know, I remember reading way back when Frankel was running and someone on this blog said they would love to see Wise Dan take him on and they thought he could beat Frankel. I am thinking they might have been right. GREAT blog Steve. You picked a great topic once again.

16 Sep 2013 10:27 PM

What a great photo of a very powerful-looking horse with awesomely strong hindquarters!  He doesn't look especially balanced to me with that long and relatively thin neck and the relative imbalance between the front and the hind end but that only shows me how little I know or how exceptions prove (or disprove) the rule!

16 Sep 2013 10:46 PM
Ted from LA

I can't help but ask:  WWDDBS?

17 Sep 2013 12:12 AM

It takes very little to sell me on this horse but with this article the deal is sealed. I love Danny boy. I'd never be so bold to suggest he is unbeatable, if for no other reason, I'd fear jinxing the master of turf. However, Steve can say it and it sounds good to me. Danny boy's critics are the same ones who found fault with Zenyatta. Their shoes never fit right, food never tastes good, nobody can work hard enough or fast enough to please them {think my boss is in that group} anyway, they could find fault with the Lord. Those are Wise Dan's critics. He's a gem of a thoroughbred, I can't find a thing wrong with him. I do hope his connections will allow him to step out of the box. He won't disappoint. I have complete faith in Wise Dan, almost as much as Steve has.

17 Sep 2013 12:18 AM

My husband and I were fortunate enough to see Wise Dan run at Keeneland this spring. We got to stand at the rail at the finish line and got a great look at him both before and after the race.

I have never seen a horse so physically fit and muscular. And he LOVES to run.

My husband and I both love this horse.

17 Sep 2013 12:25 AM
Lexington Bloodstock

Wise Dan is, without question, one of the most impressive equine athletes in many decades.  Kudos to his trainer.  Keeping a horse this intense, "sharp" and sound, for so long, is truly a masterful training feat.

17 Sep 2013 12:32 AM
The Deacon

Well Steve as always you nailed the point. Ho hum basically another workout for Wise Dan.

I have always agreed with you about wanting to try the 10 furlong distance against the best horses. In my opinion he will never be as good as Forego, Kelso or John Henry for reasons mentioned above. At least Lava Man went east and tried on the best when he on the top of his game.

HOTY not last year or this year in my book. If Game On Dude wins the BC Classic he is more deserving just like I'll Have Another was last year. Unless no other horse has any proven credentials a grass miler winning HOTY is hard for an old timer like me to swallow.

Great miler, yes, fantastic horse, absolutely but that's where it ends for me.

I do enjoy watching him, he does everything asked and truthfully horse racing needs a Wise Dan, and a Game On Dude, and a Royal Delta.

17 Sep 2013 1:43 AM

"Euros Wise to Stay Home"

Officer was an unbeaten 2YO colt that was never off the bridle in his five consecutive victories that included 3 graded races. He left the gates in the Breeder Cup Juvenile as the shortest priced favorite to date. He was defeated by the undefeated Euro invader Johannesburg.

Curlin won 7 of his last 8 races preceding the 2008 Breeder Cup classic. His victories included 6 (G1) races. He was beaten by Euro invaders Raven’s Pass and Henythenavigator.

Rock Of Gibraltar was the best miler in Europe and was the over whelming favorite to win the BCM (turf). While he was the best horse in the field an indent involving a breakdown impeded his winning chances. He finished a game second.

Uncle Mo was considered unbeatable by his peers. He left the gates at 1-5 in the Wood Memorial. It was the general opinion that those who had lined up to oppose him were merely filling the race. He suffered his 1st defeat.

Secretariat won the TC with all 3 legs completed in NTRs. He was considered unbeatable by his 3YO counterparts until he got Onino in his eyes and lost the Whitney.

The great Nijinsky won the 1970 British TC and remains the last horse to do so. He was the overwhelming favorite to win the Arc. He was defeated by Sassafras.

The above are examples of horses regarded as world beaters who were defeated when least expected. Those who defeated them could have been advised to stay home or find easier opportunities.

The same is being suggested regarding Wise Dan potential opponents in the BCM (Turf). Clearly such conclusions fail to take into account historic losses recorded by exceptional thoroughbreds. In the 2012 BCM (Turf) WD won handily but it was Animal Kingdom that was considered an unfortunate looser.

WD made every effort to avoided top turfer Point Of Entry and focused on the low hanging fruits.

The crop of horses he has defeated in 2013 do not remotely compare to the top milers in the Europe. To suggest that Europe’s top milers should stay home ignores history and the glorious uncertainty of thoroughbred racing.

Races are not won by past performances. That’s why they are run.

17 Sep 2013 2:14 AM

Steve, I believe you protest too much....this article is like a red rag to a bull. The Europeans will be lining up, the turf mile is their: Pièce de résistance.

The challenge is on... Nice promoting Steve:)

17 Sep 2013 3:24 AM

wisedan - well how many horses have you seen run a mile in 1:31 an change twice at two different tracks. this horse could have beaten frankle in my opinion. sure hes horse of the year hes the best horse come on guys

17 Sep 2013 3:55 AM
Bloodline Bob

DANK might give him a fight.

17 Sep 2013 6:02 AM


"how many horses have you seen run a mile in 1:31 an change twice at two different tracks"

Woodbine, SA Park, Hollywood Park and Belmont are the 4 tracks that fast times for a mile will most likely be recorded.

It should be noted that Little Mike also recorded a NTR in the Turf Classic at SA Park. The track was very fast that day.

"this horse could have beaten Frankle in my opinion"

Frankel won from 7F to a 1 5/16M. He was considered a wonder horse. No such accolades have been bestowed on Wise Dan. The only blemish on Frankel's record is the fact that he avoided two legs of the Triple Crown.

While you are entitled to your opinion, the cold facts do not support it.

17 Sep 2013 9:50 AM
Pedigree Ann

Most of the better Euros don't come to the US for the BC any more because of:

a) the EBF (European Breeders' Fund) deal with the BC for cross nominations was terminated. It costs much more than it used to for EBF- but non-BC-nominated horses to run.

b) Euros see our use of race-day meds as using performance-enhancing drugs - 'doped to the gills', as one commentator put it. To level the playing field, they would have to medicate their own runners on race-day and many will not do that. German horses are increasingly going to the top in Europe, but males who have had race-day meds are not allowed to stand at stud in Germany, so we have little chance of seeing them here for the BC.

Fear of Wise Dan in the BC Mile is unlikely to be the primary reason the best Euros stay home.

17 Sep 2013 10:28 AM


Toronado - One(G1) win

Olympic Glory - Two (G1) wins

Declaration of War -  Two (G1) wins

Dawn Approach - Four (G1) wins

Moonlight Cloud  - Five (G1) wins

Intello – One (G1) win

Elusive Kate - Four (G1) wins


Data Link – One (G1) victory at 9F.

Optimizer – Zero (G1) wins

Lea – Zero (G1) wins

King Kreesa - Zero (G1) wins.

ZA Approval - Zero (G1) wins

The 2012 HOY has been beating a stellar group that suggests he will destroy all who dare to oppose him.

The truth be told Wise Dan has beaten a group of average G2 & G3 horses in 2013.

Europe’s top miler has combined for 20 (G1) victories and it is being suggested that they say home. While the status and likely participation of those comprising the list are unknown, it is insulting to suggest that they would only be race fillers.

The Euros are always at a significant disadvantage. The distance they have to travel; competing  against medically enhanced horses; competing on rock hard turf courses. Despite these disadvantages, if SA Park would be kind enough to water the turf course to allow for a little give in the ground, the playing field would be somewhat leveled.

17 Sep 2013 10:46 AM
Love 'em all

Coldfacts -

WD did what? Avoided Point of Entry?  No sir, he didn't!

>On a rainy day in Louisville, Ky., the Woodford Reserve had much of its luster dampened by the late scratch of trainer Shug McGaughey's multiple grade I winner Point of Entry, who was 7-5 on the morning line. A couple of those that were left gave it a good try, but they could not match the three-time Eclipse winner when it mattered most.

Six-year-old Wise Dan completed the 1 1/8-mile Woodford Reserve in 1:51.84 as the 3-5 favorite in the field of seven. Optimizer, who contested the pace with Silver Max, was second by 1 3/4 lengths, with Middie rallying from last to snatch the show spot by half a length from Silver Max.<


17 Sep 2013 11:23 AM
Bloodline Bob

I like the points that Coldfacts brings up. I agree with them. 1.)RACES ARE NOT WON BY PAST PERFORMANCES. 2.) Zero GR. 1 wins by competition. 3.) Water the turf at Santa Anita more! I'm attending the 30th BC@Santa Anita. This will be my 7th "live" BC and my 5th "live" BC at Santa Anita. I do not like to fly BUT when the BC is at S.A. I'm on that non-stop flight from Boston to LAX. I think it should be the permanent track for the Breeders Cup.

17 Sep 2013 11:26 AM
Bill Rinker

Thanks for another fine article Steve. Perspective is what we're talking about here, and through out the Equine Industry it is what predicates success. Everyone has their own, and some times it will cross paths with others. Should the talent of our equine superstars be diminished by the breadith of their furlong accomplishments? It is a rare phenomenon when a gifted trainer and horse come togeather to form a mastery of versatility as well as consistency and remain sound throughout several years. From my point of view there are no perfect horses nor trainers, and there never will be. I love the claimer as much as the stakes winner, and there are many times when I am drawn to the horse that runs last. A great sprinter is no less exalted than a great router, nor a turf specialist from dirt preference, like wise for the mudder. I applaud the Eclipse Award winners and look forward to the excitment of future events. Like many others, I have spent countless enjoyable hours reading about the great thoroughbreds of past and present. One of the books that I would reccomend to any one is "Thoroughbred Champions Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century". I'm sure that the confidence felt by the connections of Wise Dan does not over ride the heartfelt concern for his constant welfare. Perhaps at some point in time they may feel that untested waters are worth dipping into, but that should not be a defining moment. There is one constant awarness that will always stand before Mr.Fink and Mr.Lopresti. No matter the competition nor length of the race, what ever the future holds for Wise Dan, will certainly be met with a high level of expectation, caution, and worthy admiration for this future Hall of Fame Honoree.  

17 Sep 2013 11:51 AM

I would have loved to have seen a match-up between Wise Dan and Goldikova, but alas, she was retiring as Wise Dan was beginning to emerge!  I guess I will have to settle for a "Bar Room Argument" (Hmmm...Is that politically correct to say or should I say "discussion"?) about the two.

17 Sep 2013 12:33 PM

Wise Dan looks built for speed and his color is nice too. I hope he stays well and continues to enjoy his job.

17 Sep 2013 1:00 PM
Karen in Indiana

Mr. LoPresti, you've done a fantastic job with Wise Dan. It was hard watching how stressed out you looked. Give yourself a break - you are human and he is a horse, neither one of you are machines. I hope one day you will be able to look back at this and just remember the thrills and forget the stress. He is an awesome horse and you've done a fine job!

17 Sep 2013 1:20 PM

Love 'em all,

I expect the Wise Dan Fan Club to defend his honor and rightfully so. However, none of his fans can state with honesty that he has beaten top horses in 2013. His romp in the Woodbine Mile should be taken in context and not over blown. The horses that have finished closest to him in his 2013 victories have been basically G2/G3 horses.

After the BCM (Turf) Wise Dan had an opportunity to face top turf router Point Of Entry but he passed. Animal Kingdom the horse he defeated in the BC took the challenge and finished a fighting 2nd.  Animal Kingdom then shipped to Dubai to win the World Cup. I am more impressed with horses that undertake significant challenges as oppose to those that sit in their stalls and contest races containing  over matched opponents.

The US clearly has a very weak turf mile division when only one horse that finished 2nd to WD has a G1 victory on his résumé.

Point Of Entry is a top class turf horse. How many times has Wise Dan contested races in which he was entered? Could it be zero? Let’s assume POE has an advantage at 9 & 10F. Wise Dan has superior mile speed. This could be and advantage as he would likely set his own pace.

Thoroughbred racing is at a stage where serious racing enthusiast are not impressed with résumé building races but instead competitive racing involving horse with varying strengths.

17 Sep 2013 1:23 PM
Arts and Letters

Do we know which Europeans might be coming?  I think they're the only ones with a chance at beating WD - can't see any North Americans doing it.  

17 Sep 2013 1:27 PM

Watching Wise Dan run is just unbelieveable!  His stride looks effortless.  JV didn't uncock his stick at Dan during the stretch run! I would love to sit on his back and feel the power of his movement!  He is definitely my Horse of the Year.

17 Sep 2013 2:17 PM


I respect your opinion but in your zeal to knock down a favourite horse you sometimes misrepresent the cold facts, as you did with Point of Entry vs Wise Dan.

Love 'em all 17 Sep 2013 11:23 AM

is absolutely correct was Point of Entry that ducked Wise Dan.  Also, you should bear in mind that Wise Dan dusted both Excelebration (the best Euro behind Frankel, last year) and Midnight Cloud in the Breeder's Cup, not to mention subsequent Dubai World Cup champion Animal Kingdom.  This year all the big guns on turf are trying to avoid Wise Dan, therefore go check your facts again my friend ...they may be too cold for you.

Bring on the Euros buddy ...lets have Declaration of War come over to the party. I have a funny sense that Wise Dan has been costing you big time but all you have to do is stop betting against him and you'll begin to appreciate how awesome this horse is. Peace.

17 Sep 2013 2:18 PM

Coldfacts-I think I love you. Thank you for posting the facts!

Wise Dan is a nice horse. While it is not his fault the horses he's faced this year have been average at best, they are what they are. His connections are to be praised for doing what they think is best for their horse.

That said, I think Wise Dan can easily be beaten. By  numerous horses. It will happen when he faces better horses. Just like (as was pointed out) Curlin lost the BCC when he actually faced real G1 company.

If the Euro's send over anything decent for the mile, I will be betting hand over fist against Wise Dan.

As to those who compared Wise Dan to Frankel..Frankel could spot him 20 pounds and still win easily.

17 Sep 2013 2:20 PM

The Wise Dan is a wise man.  No other sprinter seems to share his sensibilities. He stays cool, he runs full out and he comes home fresh.  He always looks as though he could do it again if you just gave him five minutes to rest. Plus I have a feeling his shares in the lovefest of his connections. He brings pleasure to the sport and I haven't had so much fun watching a sprinter since Lostinthefog and Mr. Aiello. Alright Wise Dan is the greatest sprinter we've ever had the honor to watch. Wise Dan, Charlie LoPresti and Mr. Fink make a great triumvirate  

17 Sep 2013 3:20 PM
Tracey Gilbert

I always enjoy your column and I agree that Wise Dan is a gorgeous, talented horse. However, I feel that if Toronado, Moonlight Cloud or Dawn Approach turn up and bring their A game then Wise Dan may be pushed to the limits. I love the Breeder's Cup meeting and watch it avidly each year but I do feel that our horses are at something of a disadvantage not so much because of the travelling but the way our season is set up. French horses seem to do well: I hope to see a terrific race between Wise Dan and Moonlight Cloud. It is always a pleasure to watch greatness in action all national loyalties aside.

17 Sep 2013 3:45 PM
steve from st louis

It's not often we Americans puff out our chests and come up with our best imitation of Sly Stallone's "Sez Who?" But if we ever have the goods it's with this gelding. What a shame Fink's homebred couldn't have faced Frankel at Santa Anita. I know he isn't 20 pounds better than Wise Dan. That's nothing but hyperbole. An intelligent handicapper might have Wise Dan carry 136 for the mile with Frankel at 145. That would bring them together.

17 Sep 2013 4:15 PM
Love 'em all


Appreciate it, really I do.    

I mean no disrespect to Coldfacts, but he's probably the type W. C. Fields had in mind when he said .... "Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps him from betting on people."  Wise Dan probably has more horse sense than most, and I'd be willing to bet on that!  


17 Sep 2013 4:23 PM


It is disingenuous to knock Wise Dan based on the competition that show up to face him and you know it.  Take this very good example of Little Mike's connections who were bragging about how they were ready for a match race against Wise Dan because the were peaved that Little Mike lost the HOTY vote last year while being more deserving in their opinion.  They planned to race Little Mike in the Shadwell Turf mile for his next start BUT after witnessing Wise Dan's dominating performance at Woodbine and hearing that LoPresti might send him to the Shadwell, Little Mike's connections have had a sudden change of heart and decided to avoid Wise Dan and go to the Joe Hirsch at Belmont instead. The cold facts are staring you in the face pal ...get honest now buddy ...admit that Wise Dan is a monster ...he scares 'em off.

17 Sep 2013 4:47 PM

On the world stage, where does Wise Dan rank?

According to the people who study this, he was number 2 in the world BEFORE his latest romp.

Here are the Timeform Global rankings as of August 28, 2013.

The top 10:


2 WISE DAN USA 134(now 135)



4 FARHH UK 132

4 NOVELLIST Germany 132



8 GOLD SHIP Japan 131



10 ORFEVRE  Japan 130

17 Sep 2013 4:51 PM


"your zeal to knock down a favourite horse you sometimes misrepresent the cold facts"

You more than anyone else should know that the above assessment is grossly inaccurate.

I merely try to keep those posting emotionally driven statements honest. This does not amount to a zeal to knock down favorite horses.

In your case I have kept you honest with Verrazano, Uncle Mo, Union Rags, Quality Road and many others.

Your most egregious emotionally driven posted related to Overanalyze. You regarded him as the best 3YO. How could I not keep you honest regard that colt. You referred to Verrazano as King Kong. Yet another emotionally driven posted that I addressed.

"it was Point of Entry that ducked Wise Dan"

OK! After the BC, POE next start was the (G1) Gulfstream Park HD. He face the Derby winery abs champion 3YO and subsequent Dubai WC winner Animal Kingdom. Wise Dan was put away for 5 months after his BC win and returned to face Data Link & company.

"I have a funny sense that Wise Dan has been costing you big time"

No serious gambler wagers race containing Wide Dan. The risk is not worth the reward.

"stop betting against him and you'll begin to appreciate how awesome this horse is."

I appreciate Wise Dan and the  likes of Zezyatta. However, I am not one to go over board. I view thoroughbreds through very wide lens. At least Zenyatta was far more versatile and prepared to go outside her comfort zone.

One can celebrate Wise Dan's achievements without berating others by suggesting they are race fillers when they compete at major disadvantages.

17 Sep 2013 5:32 PM

Love 'em all,

I am not sure how long you have been a contributor on Mr. Haskin's blog. Irrespective, I am the major recipient of disrespect so do not be shy just joint the long list.

There is no need to reference quote by others you can be original. I am a big boy and I can take it.

You posted your views and I responded without disrespect. If you are of the opinion I have less senses than a thoroughbred with one exchange between us I must have come across as a buffoon.

You are clearly into quotes and you might find the one below edifying:

"I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him" Galileo.

17 Sep 2013 5:47 PM

It's interesting that Steve posted this picture of Wise Dan on the same day that an image of Fort Larned in a similar pose appears in a story in Bloodhorse.

Both lean racing machines, well-muscled, but their coupling is so different.

And such fun to watch them both run!

17 Sep 2013 5:48 PM
Daniel Jividen

I thought Steve Haskin would be the last person to drink the Kool Aid.  Never say never,  Steve.  It is true that Wise Dan is much superior to all other turf milers right now.  On the other hand Charles LoPresti has kept this horse at its physical peak for nearly 24 months now (with brief winter freshenings).  That is genuinely amazing, nearly impossible.  I doubt any horse can maintain peak form much longer than that.  An up and coming turf miler,  still rising to its peak,  might catch Wise Dan on the downswing at Santa Anita on November 2.

17 Sep 2013 6:20 PM
Matt Scott

Wise Dan is an incredible athlete, and I do not think he will be beaten this year. Any thoughts for horses outside of Europe? Not to say the matchup(s) would ever happen, but there are some very good milers in Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia.

17 Sep 2013 7:14 PM

Game on Dude is waiting for anyone who Dare to run against him in the Breeders' Classic $5 mil.

Bring any pretenders on.

17 Sep 2013 7:25 PM

Cigarsmom, sorry but have to disagree with you. Wise Dan always has plenty left at the stretch. He runs effortlessly and I have yet to see him struggle to win. Its like there is a 5th gear there just waiting to kick in if ever needed. I wish him safe journeys and another HOY. I am starting to enjoy the turf racing more than the dirt. It is just awesome that there are horses that are allowed to grow and mature into racing like Wise Dan and not raced into the ground as a 3 year old and end up retiring to stud due to an injury or for some other reason. Not knocking the Triple Crown or the 2 and 3 years old campaigns,I still watch but it is these older horses that keep me turned onto horse racing for the love of the horse. (This is just my humble opinion.

17 Sep 2013 7:25 PM
Steve Haskin

Daniel, I did say it seemed like a silly comment, but I was in a silly mood at the time :). Sometimes, it's good to stir things up a little. And I just can't envision a scenario where he gets beat. If you watch his races, other than the Firecracker, when he was stuck on the rail, he's in the exact same place turning for home in every race.

As for racing needing a horse like Wise Dan, I wish that were true, but the fact is, outside of racing, very few people know who he is. Mile grass horses just don't draw the attention of the general public. Unfortunately for Wise Dan, this isnt England or Australia. America is too Triple Crown conscious. Once the TC is over, the public drops racing like the proverbial hot potato. Look how long it took Zenyatta to become well known to the general public. And she had to run in two BC Classics. We need to make stars out of our horses, regardless of their age, sex, or the surface and distance they compete at. It's called marketing; something racing has lacked.

17 Sep 2013 7:44 PM
Fran Loszynski

He has the makings of a barn horse the strength of a champion. You know how I feel about strongboned horses Steve. Always will believe they have  the upper hand.   A Yeeehaaawh out to Dancing A fleet and Sweet Lulu on  Saturday at Parx bring it home girls!

17 Sep 2013 7:59 PM

Cold Facts-"The great Nijinsky won the 1970 British TC and remains the last horse to do so. He was the overwhelming favorite to win the Arc. He was defeated by Sassafras".  First off after the St.Leger Nijinsky was pretty ill and lost 200 pds.  He was still not even close to being 80% healthy when he ran in the ARC, and Should have NEVER been entered.  His last two races where he lost by a combined couple of lengths were the fault of his connections at Coolmore who ruined the record of probably the top 3 or top Thoroughbred to run on turf ever.  So your example is loaded with ignorance.  With All due respect.

17 Sep 2013 8:07 PM


Kindly revisit the title of the blog.

I compared the competition WD has faced in 2013 to the competition that is likely to ship from across the pond.

Mr. Haskin has suggested that the Euros can stay home on the basis that WD has destroyed a bunch of G2/G3 horses in 2013.

I disagree as a number of the Euros

are significantly better than the horses WD has defeated in 2013.

In addition, many things can occur in a race. Just revisit the race with Rock Of Gibraltar. The best horse doesn't always win a race.

Zenyatta's 19 or 20 consecutive victories did not prevent her from being beaten. A horse's win streak is always capable of being broken the next time out.

I gave several example of world beater being beaten when least expected because those considered inferior show up for the challenge.

Kindly view my posts in the proper context.

Your love for WD should not impede your capacity to understand that past success is no guarantee for future glory.

17 Sep 2013 8:07 PM
Karen in Indiana

Coldfacts, does it really matter who is behind Wise Dan when he keeps breaking records?

17 Sep 2013 8:10 PM

So let me get this straight,  Zenyatta runs on the west coast and beats up on weaker opposition, and she is praised as an alltime great because she won the Classic in her back yard.  Wise Dan beats the same quality horses, and wins the BC mile in record time, vs a pretty strong field and is considered irrelevant because what Turf is not the M.O. for most fans in the USA?.  Pathetic.

17 Sep 2013 8:12 PM

Karen in Indiana,

The answer to your question is no.

However, you would agree that based on the title of the blog it is worthwhile to comparing those he has been beating to the Euros he is likely to meet in the BC Mile Turf.

Those horses are significantly better than the bunch WD has been whipping. Some are 3YOs and no one really knows how much they have  improve over the season. Who knows how the addition of Lasix will impact their performance.

Some are 4YOs and now fully mature and could be up to the task. I would never underestimate a top class European miler.

I would also not conclude that horses that have dominated a race should stay home under any circumstance.

17 Sep 2013 9:22 PM
Paula Higgins

Ranagulzion, I think I love you (take that Cigar's Mom). I agree with you in this discussion. I believe it is unlikely that the Euros will race Wise Dan. It isn't just about "race day drugs" etc. or NONE of them would show up for any race, period. If they think they can win, and they are willing to make the trip, they show. The reverse is also true. Yes, any horse can be beaten on any given day if the challenger is peaking and the favorite is off his/her game or they have a bad trip. Having said that, I think Wise Dan is on a roll. Lammtarra, that old rubbish about Zenyatta is laughable. You're ability to appreciate greatness is clearly lacking. You could have made your point without taking a slap at the greatest mare in the past 100+ years. It is true that some people do not appreciate the grass as much as the dirt in horse racing. I think in Wise Dan's case he is so dominant, that he is  respected by everyone. I would love to see them race him on the dirt. I think he would do very well. Steve is right. This sport needs marketing and super stars.

17 Sep 2013 9:43 PM
Age of Reason

Listen up, Euros. As fair Arwen said to the Black Riders before they 'crossed the pond', "If you want him, come and claim him!"

p.s. Ranag, you're lucky I've had such a long day or I would take serious exception to the tired old "Point of Entry ducked Wise Dan" rhetoric. I called in sick last week for the first part of a meeting, but it wasn't because I was scared of talking to the little secretary/intern girl in the lobby. In other words, there are clearly other factors at play. With POE's injury coming on the same soft turf out of which he scratched in the Woodford Turf Classic, I think those factors are obvious. If McGaughey brings him to the Breeders' Cup, I predict he will win. But these things are definitely another discussion for another day. Point of Entry ducks no one; just ask Animal Kingdom, Real Solution, Unbridled Command, Twilight Eclipse...

17 Sep 2013 10:03 PM
The Deacon

Ok, summer is about over and everyone is getting testy. Everyone just get a grip and allow folks to their opinion  All this bickering is silly.

You can't WIN a horse racing argument, it is the right of everyone in a subjective sport to have their own feelings.

It's like Bagger Vance said in the movie, "Golf can never be won, only played"......  

17 Sep 2013 10:24 PM
Bill Rinker

Steve with all due respect I'm not sure that I agree or understand your angle on marketing. Success demands attention to those who pay attention, noble success engenders endearment to the hearts of many. Watching a close up of Wise Dan's most recent stretch run reveals a very tangible exuberance in doing what he does best. It was electrifying as well as eddifying. How could you ask for a better example of positive marketing. I think it is better to play to ones strengths and focus praise upon accomplishment rather than to indirectly propose a challenge. Wise Dan could very possibly be a top class router, but right now he is one of the greatest milers ever. Why change the formula, the risk for multible reasons is not worth the reward. It is best left to the responsible Trainers and Owners to decide the direction, and scope of stewardship. Not to underestimate your compassion, knowledge, or respect for all that is thoroughbred racing, but the excitement for positive publicity must be tempered, least we forget an ill fated match race that was perceived as a good marketing event.  

17 Sep 2013 11:38 PM

Zenyatta has been very successfully marketed as Steve alluded to above as being something that the racing industry needs.In fact, eventhough she has retired and had two foals, she still has a fanatic following.  Some of the other farms and owners have made some steps in that direction. Wise Dan has his Facebook page as does Orb and a few others. I agree with Steve, we need to make stars out the horses and Wise Dan has star power. Sometimes horses become our heroes in difficult times, for example Seabiscuit. Right now, Wise Dan is my horse hero as is Rachel for what she survived.  

18 Sep 2013 5:00 AM


I am well aware that Nijinsky's trainer was against the colt starting in the Arc as it was too close to the St Ledger.

The point I was making related to world beaters being beaten. There was no need to post other issue I considered irrelevant to make the point.

The connections of Curlin were very reluctant to run him on synthetic. I did not mention that.

I did not mention that Uncle Mo's trainer mentioned he had an issue leaving the gate.

Rock Of Gibraltar's trainer was concerned that his coat was changing and was not sure how it would affect his performance.

Despite Nijinsky's pre Are issues, are you suggesting that he was not the overwhelming favorite to win?

The omission of certain details should not be considered ignorance. I am sure even in your quest to score points you have room to understand this.

While I do not profess to be knowledgeable about all historic factors associated with great champions. However, I am prepared to match my knowledge against most anytime.

18 Sep 2013 8:50 AM

The USA is the mecca of marketing. There is no doubt good marketing results is higher product appeal that translates into higher sales and bigger bottom lines.

I have no opposition to the marketing Wise Dan as he is the now horse on the turf up to 9F. However, his marketing is being done in a fashion that could be perceived to be insulting, condescending and braggadocious.

Wise Dan won the 2012 Breeder Cup Mile turf in a NTR. It was his first BC victory. There have been three consecutive winners of the turf mile i.e., Miesque, Lure and Goldikova. Only the exceptional ones have won consecutively.  

Wise Dan has won 9 consecutive races and 12 of his last 13 starts. He appears unbeatable in his current form. But have we seen this story before?

There was another dominant chestnut by the name Cigar that won 16 consecutive races. Included in his 16 victories was the Breeders’ Cup Classic which he won in commanding fashion. Cigar is probably one of the only horses that has covered 1 1/4M in 1:59 plus, three times.

Although his win streak was brought to end by Dare and Go, he was still the overwhelming favorite to repeat in the Breeder Cup Classic. He finished a game 3rd.

Based on WD’s current form he is being marketed as a world beater. The marketing approach is to advise his likely opponents from across the pond of the wisdom of staying home. Why? The race is already won

Wouldn’t a better marketing approach be to suggest that they bring their A+ games? How can it be effective marketing to advise a racing jurisdiction that has produced two of the three consecutive winners and the only three times winner of the race, to stay home?

Many Breeder Cup winners have attempted repeats and have failed. If the incomparable Cigar got beat so can Wise Dan despite his current dominance.

18 Sep 2013 10:46 AM

Those euro tigers at a mile.

They met August 11 at Deauville on a good track going a mile at weight-for-age.

The race was won by Moonlight Cloud.

Olympic Glory was 2nd.

Declaration of War finished finished 4th.

Dawn Approach finished 5th.

Along with Toronado, they are the top-ranked milers in Europe.

On August 4 Moonlight Cloud beat Lethal Force going 6.5 fur at the same track.

In his last start, going 10.5 fur on Aug 21, Toronado finished last to Declaration of War whom he had previously beaten. The trainer said Toronado suffered a displaced palate which was to be operated on.

When Moonlight Cloud met Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last year she could not be found.

“Settled towards rear, ridden and no impression from 2f out, never really figured” Racing Post.

Maybe she had an off-day.

Should be fun this year. Hope a couple of them show up.

18 Sep 2013 11:06 AM

Every so often a freak horse comes along - Wise Dan is one of them.  I LOVE this horse.  He's not only a pleasure to watch on the track but an absolute delight to visit in person.

While connections are not going to take him out of what they consider his comfort zone for the rest of this year, I hope they ramp it up a bit next year if they plan to bring him back.

18 Sep 2013 11:11 AM
Linda in Texas

Slee - agree totally. Fort Larned looked majestic in that pose. He is a beaut.

Quarterhossgal - to ride Wise Dan would be a thrill no doubt, bareback no saddle.(in my younger years i rode all of mine that way.) But depending on what Game on Dude does, i won't name Wise Dan Horse of The Year yet.

Bill Rinker - i had not paid enough attention to Wise Dan the winning machine. However, i as you, upon watching his race last Saturday 3 times was mesmerized by his running agility. I watched each hoof hit the ground and glanced at the way he carried his head, then looked at the power surge each forward push gave him with every muscle on que, then a look at Johnny and NO WHIP and no prodding, Wise Dan knew what he was supposed to do and did it. Watching him slide around the track was absolute poetry in motion.

It was Ruffian that hooked me when she was racing and winning and unhooked me after her death. It was her memory that made me realize what i was missing in not following Thoroughbred Racing. I do so now with her and Man O'War in mind, always.  

Steve - you can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time! I don't think i have ever disagreed with you. Others yes. But it is their right and makes the world go round and I snicker and move on.

Don't change a thing.  

Deacon - you are priceless and wise to boot. I have no doubt you, like Steve, learned from your dad and you do him proud! I thank your dads because i learn from all of you.

Three Wise Men - Steve, Rinker and Deacon! And a few others.

Horse wise - Animal Kingdom winning the World Cup on the international front was one of the greatest races i have watched in a long time next to Goldikova's win in the states.

Those touched a soft spot in my heart for sure and that is where everything in this sport comes from, at least for me.

Thanks Steve.


18 Sep 2013 11:48 AM

Age of Reason 17 Sep 2013 10:03 PM

You don't have a leg to stand on my friend ...Point Of Entry ran on that soft turf in which he got injured because Wise Dan was not entered. In the Woodford Reserve where he was the original favourite, it was very clear that the trainer scratched because Wise Dan, a late entry into the race, was percieved as too formidable an opponent on turf not best suited to POE. The latter's connections wanted to his favourite track condition or weaker opponents. That's it pal. Wise Dan's the beast.

18 Sep 2013 1:34 PM
Daniel Jividen

Steve Haskin makes a good point:  if the thoroughbred industry can't effectively market Wise Dan and his connections what can they market?  Wise Dan is an archetypal,  strong, athletic,  dominating champion.  Both Charles LoPresti and Morton Fink are good,  knowledgeable and witty interviews.  And yet no one outside the cognoscenti have any idea who any of them are.

18 Sep 2013 2:47 PM

"Euros wise to stay home"  Really? If the Euros stay home it isnt about Wise Dan.  He does not have a big profile over the pond (sorry).  I would have loved to see him race in Europe but that's not the point.  The European horses will come win lose or draw depending on whether they are running at Longchamp or Champions day and how those races pan out. Its a bit of a display banner by Haskin but then he did write something questioning Frankel's abilities last year which Im guessing was the same sort of peacocking.  Wise Dan is a lovely talented boy and on home turf it is more than likely he would win the mile.  Frankel truly was a machine and yet he never had a walkover... never be scared of one horse.  The best poster on here....Coldfact has summed it up perfectly though, it ain't over until hes past the post.  Enjoy him while he's in this form, long may it continue, things can change in a heartbeat just look what happened to St Nicholas Abbey bless the little legend.

18 Sep 2013 3:19 PM

Hi Steve,

Nice article on Wise Dan.  He a very nice horse.  I believe the only real competition he will get while running at the one mile only distance will be at the Breeders' Cup, just like it was last year when Animal Kingdom raced against him.  Animal Kingdom, which a much cleaner trip would have beat Wise Dan on Breeders' Cup day.  I was there in the stands that day, and A.K.'s heroic second place finish was one of the most impressive, jaw-dropping efforts I've ever seen.  Had the race been a smidgen longer in distance Animal Kingdom probably would have won the race despite all the challenges he mightily overcame that day.  That day was the only day Wise Dan truly had competition on his own level.  He has been beating overmatched horses all along because he scares off most of his real competition.  Wise Dan's last race was truly impressive and I give him total props for that race.  It's not a secret that I love horses that can answer the bell when they are being put in challenging situations and overcomes them.  That impresses me far more than a champion that continually wins in his or her comfort zone, never stretching themselves into unknown, untried territory.  I admire Wise Dan, I truly do, but I fear we will never know just how talented he really is because Mr. LoPresti is content with the trophies and accolades Wise Dan has already accrued.

18 Sep 2013 3:32 PM

To The Deacon:

You wrote two great posts on this thread and I agree with both of them.

To Linda in Texas:

Ditto, Wise One!

18 Sep 2013 3:33 PM

Cigar!  One of the best of all time!  The mere mention of his name still sends tingles up my spine.  It was a privilege to watch him race.  Cigar was greatness personified.  Thanks for the fab memories, Cigar - Oh Great One!

18 Sep 2013 3:39 PM
Rusty Weisner


McGaughey was clearly leery of a soft turf and Point of Entry's subsequent injury on another soft course bore him out.  That's not to say he would have beaten Wise Dan, but that wasn't the reason he was scratched.  

18 Sep 2013 4:30 PM

Cold Facts,

I love your posts and I think I got you on this one, however irrelevant it is to your argument, Cigar was most definitely NOT a chestnut.  :)

He's a dark brown/bay.

18 Sep 2013 5:42 PM
Steve Haskin

Doolquila, dont take this question the wrong way, but what are you talking about? No one here has written more glowing columns on Frankel than I have. And as for the headline and context of this column, do you really believe I dont think any Euros should come for the Mile? Come on. It's called literary license, trying to make a point and attract people who dont normally read this column or comment on it, like yourself, to read it and comment on it. You shouldnt take things so literally. Do I think there is a Euro who can beat Wise Dan? No. But I want them to come and they should come. They should just know what theyre in for :).

18 Sep 2013 7:20 PM
Pedigree Ann

One thing no one has mentioned is that there is a US-trained horse who will give Dan a race and whom Dan has not faced this year - the West Coast mile champion, Obviously.

Obviously was a late-starter, with only 3 starts at 3. Last year at 4, he connections took a while to figure out what his metier was, running him in turf and AW sprints until August, when he won his first try at 8f. He followed up with two G2 wins at a mile before he is pitched into the BC Mile, his first try in a G1.

This year Obviously is all grown up and his efforts have been directed at getting him to the BC Mile in top shape, instead of experimenting on distances and surfaces. Wise Dan's folks better not take Obviously lightly.

18 Sep 2013 9:10 PM


I was doing some research on Cigar recently and reviewed his sire Place Music who was a beautiful chestnut. I must have confused the two. That stated Cigar does look like a Chestnut in the photo in the Pedigree Online web site.

He is in fact light bay who got darker as he aged.

18 Sep 2013 9:19 PM
Paula Higgins

Windolin, we are not fanatics. We love Zenyatta for good reason. Rachel too.

I totally understand what Steve is saying about marketing. Horse racing is still a big sport in Britain. Not so much here anymore. Horse racing needs its stars and superstars promoted and not ignored. The east and west coasts need to get the memo and support any horse racing star regardless of which coast they predominantly race on. The profile of the sport could be raised with just a little concerted effort. The sport needs to be cleaned up i.e drugs. The breakdowns in (Mentor Cane for example) are the downside of the sport. But they are going to happen despite everyone's best efforts. It would certainly help if the breeders would start to breed again for stamina and soundness, instead of just speed. That would certainly help. I really believe that for a superstar you need a horse to be around for awhile instead of sending them off to the breeding shed at age 4.

18 Sep 2013 9:35 PM
Age of Reason

Ranagulzion, you old rascal, I think Rusty Weisner has more than ably given a very concise response to your last statement. We're all speculating on this, of course, no matter which side in the argument we take, but when in doubt about an honest trainer's horse it seems only right to go with what the honest trainer says. You know where I'm going with this. Shug said(as Rusty already noted, only he isn't cursed with being verbose) that Point of Entry was scratched due to concerns over the swamped course. Is it possible that running into Wise Dan over a course and course conditions more to Dan's liking (POE clearly not his best on soft ground) was also a factor in being scratched? Maybe, maybe not, but there's no proof to that effect. So, any claim of it is conjecture and baseless guesswork at best.

Steve, I apologize for getting off-topic; I too greatly admire Wise Dan. I just took exception to a related side comment and had to respond. Thanks for indulging me as I chase this rabbit! :)

18 Sep 2013 9:52 PM

Windolin, if I understood your 9-16-12, 8:12pm post correctly, may I gently point out that Secretariat did race twice on turf and won both times. On October 8, 1973, he won the Man o' War Stakes by five lengths, covering the 1 1/2 mile race in 2:24 4/5ths and beating an excellent field of older turf horses while carrying top weight on the scale. Secretariat closed out his magnificent career by winning the Canadian International on October 28, covering the 1 5/8 mile race in 2:41 4/5 and winning by an easy 6 1/2 lengths. In addition to Horse of the Year and Champion 3-yr-old, Secretariat was also named Champion Turf Horse that year.

Steve, I know you mean well, but in my opinion it's so unfortunate that Mr. Fink is being hectored by so many to run HIS horse where they insist he should run. This closing statement in your article is both diplomatic and artfully written, but it just makes me sad and for several reasons:

"I’m not even going to approach the question of the horse’s legacy again, at least at this time, only to say, everyone can look at that aspect of his career from the outside and want to see him strive for Forego, Kelso, and John Henry greatness. They do it only as a fan and an admirer of the horse. But his connections are the only ones who look at it from the inside, and if winning is more important to them...then all we can do is just appreciate what we have and let history take care of the rest."

I don't think there's ever been a racehorse owner on the planet for whom winning wasn't "more important" than almost any other consideration. Well, whatever else you might have in mind, please stop to consider the human dimension for a moment. Intentional or not, what you've actually said is that Mr. Fink doesn't measure up to -- in your view -- the more sporting owners of John Henry, Forego and Kelso. Mr. Fink is an elderly man who is living a dream that might very well be his last hurrah. It's HIS dream. Not yours. Or mine, or those of any other armchair trainer.

Due to his pedigree, my dream would have been to see Wise Dan become a world-class sire, but I'm not sitting around stewing about the fact that he's a gelding. I just enjoy the horse and his connections for who and what they are and, as you concluded, will let history take care of itself. I just want to see Wise Dan have a long, healthy and happy retirement when that day comes. At this point, Mr. Fink could enter his great gelding in allowance races and it wouldn't bother me one tiny bit.

18 Sep 2013 10:54 PM

Let's be honest, the triple crown races are all the general public is really familiar with and even then, most only remember the winners. Okay, I'm stretching it a bit, most folks on the street may possibly recall the winner of the Kentucky Derby and not much else. I was checking out at a Super  Saver market after Super Saver won the roses, I made a comment to the checker and she looked at me like I was nuts. We are no longer a horse racing nation. Zenyatta did a lot for the sport in a short time. Horses like Wise Dan can bring in new fans and revive old ones. The good thing about Danny boy is the fact he's a gelding and with a little luck he'll be around awhile. However, at some point he should leave his comfort zone to "wow" the fans. He also needs to take on the Euros, the best they have, to keep his fan club energized. Loyal fans don't turn away if the horse loses a race or two. How many fans did Silky Sullivan lose after his Triple Crown flop? If he lost any, it wasn't evident. So perhaps Wise Dan can finish out the year doing what he does best and maybe next year he can go for a swim in deeper waters? A swim across the pond would be exciting.

18 Sep 2013 11:34 PM
The Deacon

Linda in Texas:

Joy Jackson 21:

               Very kind of you to say, I was just saying what I felt. All this continued back and forth is senseless.

Ruffian also captured my heart, although I must admit because of my dad's love for Swaps, he was my first horse racing love. Dr. Fager was next and will always be my all time heart strings tug. Ruffian is next and I would say Majestic Prince and then Damascus.

I love reading both of your posts. You always have something important to add. Steve is the best turf writer ever, he is the Jim Murray of horse racing writing........

19 Sep 2013 4:20 AM

Paula Higgins, perhaps fanatic was a poor word choice, maybe passionate would have been better. Though I will admit that I am a fanatic when it comes to Secretariat. The choice of the word was not meant to be insulting to her fans. My reference to Zenyatta was in support of what Steve was saying about the need in the racing industry to market these successful horses. The Mosses have done a lot for the racing industry by turning Zenyatta into a brand.

Horse racing has had a number of black eyes: the breakdowns, the doping, the suspension of unethical trainers, the horse slaughter controversy and nurse mares. Those of us who love horses and the sport of racing need feel good stories and heroes. And I think there needs to be a little bit of "team" rivalry such as there was when Zenyatta and Rachel were racing.

Successful horses like Wise Dan  serve to bring to take the focus away from the negatives and to the positives. This is just my opinion from my perspective.

19 Sep 2013 5:40 AM

Big Red Forever, you did misunderstand me. I was trying to say that I personally wish that Secretariat had been given the opportunity to race beyond his three year old career and that one can only imagine what he would have achieved. I see a lot of Secretariat in Wise Dan, that being the endurance, that awesome hip, the bone, the intelligence and the desire to win. I personally think also that not enough credit is given to Secretariat as a stallion. Anyone who breeds

19 Sep 2013 11:07 AM
Love 'em all

Coldfacts -  posted 9/17 at 5:47PM

>You are clearly into quotes and you might find the one below edifying:

"I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him" Galileo.<

Galileo?  How 'bout one that's a little more 'down-to-earth'.  Here's one for you ....

"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please."  ~ Mark Twain

However, with a name 'Coldfacts' you might wish to check the facts before posting in this blog that Wise Dan avoided Point of Entry.  That's all we ask.

Here's one we could all use ...

"Get the facts, or the facts will get you.  And when you get them, get them right, or they will get you wrong." ~ Dr. Thomas Fuller (1654 - 1734)

19 Sep 2013 11:11 AM

Sorry hit submit by accident. Was going to add that anyone who breeds horses knows that what you get in the way of a foal often goes back several generations. Secretariat is the horse who turned me onto racing. I hope one day to have foal from a Secretariat line mare. Came close in June, but sadly the mare had twins and after a hard fight we lost the twin that was born alive after eleven days. Thanks for allowing me to clarify my comment.

19 Sep 2013 11:20 AM

I agree that thoroughbred racing need stars to keep the game’s existing enthusiasts interested and to attract new ones. However, there are stars and there are superstars. Wise Dan is certainly a star at mile on turf and even appears better on synthetic. In spite of all his achievements, has he attained superstar status?  

In modern day thoroughbred racing superstar are rarely one dimensional. The general consensus is that a horse that can sprint a mile in 1:31 should be able to get 10F. How many times did the Wise Dan contest the prestigious Arlington Million or other 10F  (G1) races?

The Australian sprinter Black Caviar is considered a superstar. She did not venture outside her preferred sprint distances. She would therefore be considered one dimensional. Did the fact that she was never beaten propel to superstar status as oppose to star status?

While she did not depart from sprint distances, she departed Australia for England to take on their best sprinters. If not for an almost catastrophic error in judgment by her rider, she would have won handily but scrambled home by a NS.

Wise Dan is star/superstar in the USA. If the Euros are being advised to stay home, would his connections ship him to Europe to take of their best milers?  While no one in Europe would be brazen enough to advise Wise Dan of the wisdom of staying home, he would be advised of the wisdom of leaving the drugs at home. It should be noted that he would not be allowed to race with Lasix or any other race day medications. Would Europe’s top milers run away and hide at the thought of facing the American win machine? No Chance!

The monster sprinter Black Caviar defeated Europe’s best sprinters. The monster miler Wise Dan should have no problems defeating Europe’s best milers on their soil if he is the wonder miler he is proclaimed to be.  

Enhanced transportation techniques for thoroughbreds have allowed them to travel all over the world to compete in top races. The American brand could be well served if it shipped its top runners not just to Dubai but other parts of the world to compete.

I will not hold my breath that this will occur soon as our despicable drug philosophy will never be accepted by the rest of the world whom we are supposed to be leading.

19 Sep 2013 12:48 PM

When Wise Dan won the Breeders’ Cup Mile last year he beat two of the best milers in Europe.

Did either of them run on Lasix?

Yes, both Midnight Cloud and Excelebration ran on Lasix.

19 Sep 2013 2:59 PM

Paula Higgins 17 Sep 2013 9:43 PM

I think I love you too (eat your hearts out Ted from LA and Bob from Boston ...where ever you are LOL).

Rusty & Age of Reason,

Unless you two have inside information on Point Of Entry's connections that you can share with us your position is very shaky. The obvious inference to be drawn from their decision to run POE on boggy turf (the race he won but sustained injury) similar to the one from which they scratched him after Wise Dan was belatedly entered is that they perceived the opposition beatable, in the absence of Wise Dan.  in other words, Wise Dan scared them off in the Woodford Reserve, not just the underfoot condition of the track.

You're both welcome to try again. Peace & love.

19 Sep 2013 3:28 PM

JerseyBoy 19 Sep 2013 2:59 PM

My buddy!!! Your posts are awesome ...keep them coming.

19 Sep 2013 3:30 PM


The horse's name is Moonlight Cloud. Sorry

19 Sep 2013 3:32 PM
Bill Two

After watching Wise Dan get paid for a public workout at Woodbine last Sunday, I was thinking that it would have been interesting to see him run against Frankel.  Can you imagine??

19 Sep 2013 6:10 PM
Paula Higgins

Ranagulzion :). Windolin, we agree and I can totally understand why you are a "fanatic" about Secretariat.

19 Sep 2013 9:07 PM

Pedigree Ann 18 Sep 2013 9:10 PM

Za Approval ran two honest races recently against Obviously and Wise Dan respectively and I think that the difference is pretty clear ...Obviously, after being brushed aside in the Breeder's Cup mile last year, is still measured easily by the "BIG" horse.

19 Sep 2013 9:27 PM

Daniel Jividen,

You hit the nail on the head. The entire NTRA needs a top notch marketing team.  I've talked about marketing thoroughbreds ad nauseum on Steve's blogs.  Much needs to be done to "connect the horse to the fan."  Mainstream America is clueless as to who Wise Dan is and that is a shame. NBC just drops the ball after the TC races, where coverage should be continued all the way to the BC races.  Still much work to be done in marketing in the thoroughbred industry.  Most of America does not have HRTV or TVG in their cable programs.  Like I keep saying the Steve Haskin Show on the Bloodhorse Channel, what could be better??????  And a Don Draper "Mad men" type marketing exec to crack the whole thing wide open.

Wise Dan and Steve, the wisest of all.

19 Sep 2013 10:44 PM

Windolin, thank you for your additional comments. As my screen name here implies, I also love Secretariat and agree with you completely that he has been a very important influence as a sire. The passage of time makes it pretty clear Red inherited much from his maternal grandsire, Princequillo, one of the most important broodmare sires of all time. Princequillo carried the X factor heart that was passed to Secretariat through Somethingroyal along with a conformation that strongly resembled her sire.

In any case, to return to the subject of this column, I personally think Wise Dan's owner and trainer are doing exactly the right thing. Mr. Fink is doing what makes him happy, and Mr. LoPresti is doing what makes his client happy. As for me, all I want as a fan is for the horse to retire sound and, like I said in my earlier post, to have a long, healthy, happy retirement.

19 Sep 2013 10:57 PM

Big Red Always, I like what you posted about Mr Fink living his dream and not ours and how and where he races his horse is up to him.

20 Sep 2013 12:17 AM

Thank you Ranagulzion.

I do not like to belabor a point because this is just horse-racing. It is not life and death.

However, I will point out that some attempts to detract from Wise Dan seem to make him look even better.

Moonlight Cloud gave Black Caviar fits at Ascot. Black Caviar’s rider misjudged the finish. Yet Black Caviar won.

So Black Caviar must be really great. Well, Timeform ranks Wise Dan just 1 pound below her.

If we say Moonlight Cloud is not that good, then we are saying the Euro milers are not that good because Moonlight Cloud beat them in August.

What I find amusing is people basing their comments on the headline rather than the contents of Steve’s column. I have never seen this before.

By the way, the race of the year will not be the Breeders’ Cup Mile or Classic. It will be this year’s

Prix de l'Arc. The possible collection of Group 1 winners makes for must-see TV. This could be an event to remember. It deserves a two-week blog.

20 Sep 2013 10:10 AM
Arthur Wellesley

By no means do I mean to 'knock' Wise Dan, but I do find it rather strange to even suggest that the gelding could have got close to Frankel in a mile race over turf, on any course.

20 Sep 2013 2:02 PM


Thank you for mention the most important turf race in the world

Prix de l'Arc de triomph, but I think you are going to have a tough time convince some people

with blinkers in here that any race outside U.S. will be an important one.

Some of these self proclaim expert even suggest to me in some blog that  " by the end of this yesr Successful Dan will be the best older horse in America."

I will be ready for the biggest race of the year on turf to see who will be the best turf horse of the year 2013.

don't forget the list of the horses who will run in the Melbourn cup is out, check it out.

20 Sep 2013 3:43 PM
Paula Higgins

JerseyBoy, good points. Black Caviar won over Moonlight Cloud by a nostril only. This is not to disparage Black Caviar at all. To do what she did after flying in from down under/Australia was amazing. But as you said, Moonlight Cloud is one very good horse and I think Wise Dan would dust her. For those of you who don't think Wise Dan could have made a dent in Frankel's win streak, I think you are wrong. The potential was/is there. His Woodbine Mile was proof of that at 1:31.3.

20 Sep 2013 4:02 PM

blimey, sticking your neck out there steve. only kidding. wise dan deserves every praise he gets. his performances are pure joy to watch. the euro milers are much of a muchness, perhaps they are all good. but that seems pretty far fetched. I don't think there is any barathea in there like there was with lure.

strange with wise dan's breeding. by wiseman's ferry who raced for aiden o' brien in ireland, not great either. he was sold back to the us where he raced over longer distances and won a G3 on dirt. what is the score with wiseman's ferry in the us? has he had much success?

back to the race. euros no chance, despite some blue-blooded breeding. a poor bunch this year over a mile, and even a good or great bunch would struggle to get close to wise dan. steve, a blog on the potentially best arc ever would be appreciated. what a race that might be.      

20 Sep 2013 5:31 PM
Miguel Bonifaz 2

No disrespect to Wise Dan, but Animal Kingdom was a much better horse by all means on hand.

20 Sep 2013 10:41 PM

Paula Higgins,

If not for an almost catastrophic error in judgment by her rider, Black Caviar would have won handily Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1)but instead scrambled home by a NS.

If you revisit the video you will see her rider easing up before the winning post. He later started that he misjudged it.

There is a significant difference between competing on flat hard tracks as opposed to those soft to good courses that gradually elevate as the distance gets longer.

What Mr. Jerseyboy failed to post is the fact that of Moonlight 17 starts only two were at 6F and both were losing efforts. Of her 10 victories 5 were at 7F, 3 at 6 1/2F and 2 at a mile. Her best distance appears to be 7F.

Lost in Black Caviar’s narrow margin of victory is the fact that she travelled anywhere between 9,000 and 10,600 miles to compete on an unfamiliar track and softer ground than which she is accustom. True champion overcome these challenges and she did.

The major concern for Wise Dan‘s connection would be neither the travel to distance nor the course configuration but how would he perform without Lasix. Let’s assume his performance would not be impacted by absence of Lasix. Do you believe he would decimate Europe’s best miler the way he has been beating the American opposition like rented mules?

The Euro’s visit our shores from 3,000 miles or more and different time zone to compete on our flat and hard tracks. Many have Lasix administered for the first time and those who do not add the drug compete at a disadvantage.

Despite of the challenges they face they have done extremely well over the years. When we defeat them we should never beat our chest and insult them as their handicaps, are significantly heavier than ours.

21 Sep 2013 9:09 AM

Lets not leave Lisa Danielle out of the mix here. All the credit does not go the stallion.

21 Sep 2013 10:37 AM

well said coldfacts. the difficulty of winning on another continent is vastly underestimated, as evidenced by animal kingdom's woeful showing at ascot on an undulating straight mile. however,  I do think wise dan is different class. and i would love to see him come to ascot, either in june or october. british racing fans are very welcoming and appreciate good horses wherever they come from. just ask wesley ward.  

21 Sep 2013 1:44 PM

Paula Higgins:

I find more of the comments made in an attempt to detract from Wise Dan beyond laughable.

Consider the following statement about Moonlight Cloud:

“Her best distance appears to be 7F”.

Well she just beat the best milers in Europe at a mile. What does that say about the milers and what does that say about the sprinters she beat or almost beat at 6 furlongs? This Moonlight Cloud must be something.

By the way, here is the Racing Post comment about the win Black Caviar had over Moonlight Cloud. Not my comment, the comment of the people who do this for a living  and  do not have an axe to grind:

“Chased leading pair, went 2nd 2f out, ridden to lead over 1f out, pushed along hands and heels and in command inside final furlong, pressed and rider stopped riding towards finish, hard pressed and pushed along again close home, held on”. Racing Post notes.

I will make no more comment on this topic. Have a nice weekend.

21 Sep 2013 2:53 PM
Paula Higgins

Coldfacts, thank you for your reply. I am aware of Luke's problematic ride with Black Caviar. He stopped riding, literally. Even so, the trip from Australia had its effect on Black Caviar. The trip is hellatious from Australia, even on a horse like Black Caviar. I think the fact that she won, considering the trip, new track, bad ride etc., was amazing. I am one of her biggest fans. Her connections did one of the bravest things I have ever seen in horse racing (along with Zenyatta's connections and her run against the boys x 2 and Rachel's races against the boys). So you are preaching to the choir. When Black Caviar's connections were deciding whether to bring her to Britain or not, the British writers were going on and on about how much better Frankel was than Black Caviar. That really me. I understand that when the Euros come here they may be at a disadvantage, as U.S. horses would be if we ran there. But the Euros tend to think their horses are better i.e. "Frankel the greatest horse of all time" designation that the Brits/Timeform have awarded him. Yes, he is definitely one of the greats, but he is not Secretariat and he is not Ribot for that matter. Secretariat ran on every surface, at many distances, against tough competition and set records that still stand. There are also others I would place above Frankel that ran in the U.S. but I won't go there for now. The one thing that the Brits do in fact do better than we do, is breed for stamina and soundness.

21 Sep 2013 5:14 PM
Paula Higgins

ITA Jersey Boy. Moonlight Cloud is a very good horse and after a very tough trip, Black Caviar did well to hang on to win. Also, in my post above, the sentence should read "That really irritated me." I really do need to edit my posts.

22 Sep 2013 1:12 AM
Arthur Wellesley

Should Wise Dan carry on undefeated this year then are we to think that there could be a chance at a Royal Ascot tilt? Or did Animal Kingdom's performance ruin any chance of that? If Wise Dan did take on the world, on the biggest stage, and come out on top, in say the Queen Anne for instance, then he would be assured a place in history.

22 Sep 2013 10:32 AM

Your dislike for me knows no bounds. I have often tried to determine whether it exceeds that of the KY VET. Both of you have spared no effort to discredit my views/positions and project me a self-serving idiot.

Like most contributors I share my views and I am prepared to defend my positions with what I consider to pertinent facts. While I welcome opposing views, I find it disturbing that so many see it necessary to go to great lengths to malign others.

I have repeatedly ascribe to you academic dominion as I did not make it past primary school. Certainly, I am not one that your time is best spent engaging in either a direct or indirect fashion. There are far more learned contributors who are more worthy of your time, intellect and insightful inputs.

Your love for hate equates to negative entry. You are far too resourceful to be incapable of correcting this character flaw.

One Love!

22 Sep 2013 11:17 AM

Miguel Bonifaz 2 20 Sep 2013 10:41 PM

You're entitled to your opinion, no doubt but you're exposing ignorance by your comparison of AK and WD. Look at their performance statistics, then look at who they beat, then look at who beat them and you might have a change of mind.

22 Sep 2013 3:50 PM

Miguel Bonifaz 2 20 Sep 2013 10:41 PM

Regarding your comparison of AK with Wise Dan, I forgot to mention track records. Did Animal Kingdom ever set or equal any track or stakes record ...can you tell us?  Wise Dan has done so on at least three occassions.

You owe WD an apology.

22 Sep 2013 5:11 PM


You have exposed yourself to a litany of counter questions with your 22 Sep, 2013 post. A few are listed below and in the interest of full disclosure the answers have been provided.

“Did Animal Kingdom ever set or equal any track or stakes record?”

Unfortunately no! Quality Road set 3 NTRs and I guess he was a wonder horse on the track like Wise Dan.

Did two times HOY Curlin ever set or equal any track or stakes record?

Unfortunately no!

Did Wise Dan win the most prestigious race for 3YOs?

Unfortunately no!

Did Wise Dan win the richest race in the world?

Unfortunately no!

Has Wise Dan ever won a race without Lasix?

Unfortunately no!

Has Wise Dan ever won a race outside North America?

Unfortunately no!

How many connections would exchange a track record victory for a win in the Kentucky Derby?


How many connections would exchange a track record victory for a 1st place purse of $5.6M?


From the above questions and answers, you should now realize your point regarding Wise Dan’s tack records is lukewarm at best.

A new track or stakes record is pale in comparison to many achievements.

23 Sep 2013 10:06 AM
Pedigree Ann

Ranagulzion -

Obviously slammed Za Approval by over 3 lengths in the Shoemaker Mile and was pulling away at the finish. Last year he was winning only by noses and half-lengths in these sorts of races. He is a different animal this year.

23 Sep 2013 11:07 AM

Coldfacts my friend,

You quite evidently endorse Miguel Bonifaz 2 20 Sep 2013 10:41 PM post.  Well, have you done what I suggested i.e. compared the race records of the two horses? If/when you've done so, can you tell us how many wins out of how many starts AK has versus WD's record in graded stakes (not to mention number of Grade 1 victories)?

No one is here trying to detract from AK's Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup victories but his overall record pales against WD's.  Okay, let me tell you: AK had 5 wins(2 Grade 1's) from 12 starts w/stakes earned $8.4M. WD has 15 wins(6 Grade 1's) from 25 starts for $5M and counting, with 3 track records to embelish his glowing accomplishments.

Your statements about the brilliant Quality Road and two-time HOTY, Curlin, are irrelevant, as are the questions you pose about whether Wise Dan ran without lasix or outside America (Man O War, Secretariat, Kelso, Dr Fager, Rahel Alexandra, Zenyatta etc never ran outside Norh America and Frankel, Brigadier Gerard, Sea Bird, Nijinsky, Allez france and Zarkava never ran outside Europe).

The races that you pose your rhetorical question about: whether Wise Dan has won ...are ridicoulous because he never competed in thse races. In fact in his only head to head meeting with Animal Kingdom, Wise Dan won decisively ina track record, missing the world record for the mile on turf by 0.37 seconds, bar all the mumble jumble about AK's rough trip ...get over it pal. You mention stakes winnings ... well, AK is retired but WD is still piling on the grade 1 stakes earnings. It will be interesting to see his bank roll when he is retired.

I think that you are holding a losing ticket here my friend. Anyway, I appreciate the opportunity you gave to expose the mismatch in the comparison.

I am predicting that next year you'll be referig to Wise Dan as a two-time HOTY as he widens the gap between himself and AK (has the latter ever won HOTY ...LOL).

23 Sep 2013 5:57 PM


You have mounted a very strong defense for Wise Dan and I cannot dispute the cold facts you have presented in same.

Animal Kingdom had an injury plagues career. Despite this I regard his 12 race career as superseding that of Wise Dan’s 25 and counting. There is a world of difference between what was achieve in his 12 and the Dan’s 25 to date.

Below is an interesting comparison:

Animal Kingdom finished 6th in the Belmont contested on 06/06/2011 and was not seen for the rest of the year. Wise Dan’s last start in June 2011 was on the 10th in an Allowance race in which he finished 4th. WD made 5 additional starts between 06/10/2011 and December 2011. He won 4 and finished 4th in the Shadwell Mile won by Gio Ponti. Between June 10th 2011 to December 2011 AK made zero starts. It should be noted Wise Dan bypassed the Breeder Cup Turf Mile in 2011.

In the 16 months between June 10th, 2011 and November 2012 Wise Dan made 9 starts preceding the BC Turf Mile compared to Animal Kingdom’s 1. Who do you think would have been the fitter of the two?

In the BC Turf Mile AK made his 1st start against older horse in a graded race in the US and it just happened to be at highest level on the biggest race day. It should be noted that Wise Dan finished 6th in his 1st G1 attempt against older. While he contested three  (G2), one (G3) and four (G1) in the 9 races before the 2012 BC Mile,  AK’s contested an optional claim allowance.

AK with a troubled trip and short of fitness was only beaten by 1–2 lengths in a NTR. In all honesty, do you believe AK should have gotten that close with his resume of one race in 16 months?

AK was a champion 3YO who took on the ultimate test for any thoroughbred i.e., the Triple Crown. This is a series of races covering 31.5F in 5 weeks. The enormity of the TC cannot and should not be dismissed as only 11 horses have won the 3 races.

He left the shored of the US with only 3 starts in 20 months to contest and win the world’s richest at 10F.

AK did not go through G2 & G3 ranks like the fabulous Wise Dan who was in hiding when Gio Ponti was ruling the roost.

If not for Animal Kingdom’s injury plagued career we would not be having this exchange regarding who is better.

24 Sep 2013 8:24 AM
Old Old Cat

I think when a racehorse wins a race and sets a new world/track/course record that horse feels a real sense of accomplishment, and doesn't ask how much was the purse money.  But then they are just dumb animals.  All they know is they ran their best, and beat the rest.

Steve, your undercurrent of horse racing's failure to publicize the champions deserves it's own article.

24 Sep 2013 11:13 AM

Coldfacts 24 Sep 2013 8:24 AM

Your opinion is what it is ...I respect that but the cold facts are the cold facts my friend.  

Why bother arguing about what if?  If Eskendereya wasn't injured on the eve of the Kentucky Derby 2010 he'd be a triple crown winner for sure and if Union Rags had Johnny V or Edgar Prado riding him in the 2012 Derby perhaps ...he might have won ...and perhaps if Uncle Mo wasn't a sick 3YO in 2012 we wouldn't be arguing about Animal Kingdom ...get it now bro?

24 Sep 2013 3:17 PM

again......whoever is on top, it doesnt matter what horse, COLDCUTS the contrarian, will tear down.....but question the almighty haskin....why a maiden isnt on the derby top 10.........talent means nothing.......the color, the month they were foaled, the amount of letters in the horses name, the swan neck,giraffe neck, ewe head shape, these are more important.....

24 Sep 2013 4:05 PM


You do not appreciate the fact the AK is better than WD so we are clearly at a dead end.

One has taken the greater challenges with success and the other has been beating subs par competition.

If WD floats you boat sail on.

24 Sep 2013 11:32 PM


"but question the almighty haskin"

In English and many other languages, proper names and words derived from them are associated with capitalization.

If you are incapable posting the first letter of Mr. Haskin in the proper case, why should your views be taken seriously.

Your deficiencies are overwhelming in numbers and you should consider addressing them before you attempt to participate in these forums.

24 Sep 2013 11:52 PM

To Coldfacts:

Regarding your last two posts on Animal Kingdom:  totally true and great points, stated very impressively.  They were points I would have posted myself.  Animal Kingdom is an awesome thoroughbred horse, especially considering all he had to overcome during his racing career.  I very much admire A.K.'s bravery and determination to excel.  And I agree with you:  a large majority of owners would give their eye teeth to have had even the tiniest chance to own Animal Kingdom seeing that the Dream of All Dreams for 90% or more of thoroughbred owners and trainers in the U.S. is to win the Kentucky Derby.  The fact that Animal Kingdom also commandingly won the Dubai World Cup against some of the best thoroughbred horses in training in the WORLD would have just been icing on the cake to them.

BTW - Your points regarding Black Caviar were also well taken.  She has overcome some pretty impressive challenges in her career, the fact of which caused her legend and her superstar status to deepen, including the fact that her level of competition was quite high & impressive, she raced on challenging surfaces, she overcame jockey mistakes, and she overcame ASTOUNDING travel logistics which would have totally unnerved and freaked out most other horses.  

To the Wise Dan fans:  As I've said before, I really like Wise Dan.  He's a wonderful horse.  I mean no disrespect to him in any way.  I would love to see him travel one day to France and have the chance to compete in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - one of the three premiere turf races in the world.   For me, it is THE premiere turf race in the world.  In a perfect racing world, Wise Dan should be there representing U.S., and he would be competing in the l'Arc de Triomphe if he were allowed to push himself past the one mile performance distance, just as Orfevre was there representing Japan last year.  Sure, Orfevre came in second in the race last year, but that doesn't matter in the least.  At least he tried, and tried rather heroically, at that.  There's no shame in being barely nipped at the wire.  He is still considered one of the Top 10 greatest racing superstars in the world because his owners continually stretch his limits and his talents.  He's admired by all because his owners keep trying to push his boundaries and challenge his abilities.  They are not content with letting Orfevre rest on his well-deserved laurels.  They keep trying, even if Orfevre comes in second every once in awhile.  They are still proud of him & his accomplishments.  And Orfevre still remains a world-wide superstar in the eyes of the world's racing fans.  Don't you think Wise Dan deserves that chance as well?  I do.  Unfortunately, Mr. LoPresti has not given Wise Dan permission to take his turn at bat in such a prestigious long distance race though, to race with an abundance of his true peers.  It's really too bad.

27 Sep 2013 4:43 PM

To The Deacon:

Thank you very much.  I appreciate you saying that.  Have a great weekend.

27 Sep 2013 4:44 PM

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