No More 'What Ifs' With Wise Dan

On one side of Saratoga Race Course, facing the Oklahoma training track, is the home of Palace Malice, currently the No. 1 ranked horse in America and favorite for Horse of the Year honors.

On the other side of the grandstand, facing the main track, is the home of Wise Dan, reigning two-time Horse of the Year.

Both horses can look out their window and watch the activity on their respective tracks. Both are kind, intelligent horses, but fierce competitors. Both are the best at what they do.

But that is where the similarities end. In age, color, markings, surface preference, and racing career, they are nothing alike.

It is looking more and more as if they will never meet in battle, unless Wise Dan returns to the dirt in the Woodward Stakes, which at this point appears to be a remote possibility at best.

Wise Dan’s career is what it is, and now that he is about to embark on a comeback at age 7 from colic surgery, he should be appreciated for what he does and what he’s accomplished and forget about what he could have or should have done over the past two years. My hope that he be given a chance for immortality by running in the Breeders’ Cup Classic or other top-class dirt races at least one more time has all but disappeared and I have accepted that.

It is time to live by Emerson’s words: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

If Wise Dan is not ready for a third attempt at the Fourstardave Handicap Aug. 9, he likely will point for the Aug. 30 Bernard Baruch Handicap. And it was Baruch who echoed Emerson’s words: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.”

Those are the words trainer Charlie LoPresti and owner Morton Fink have been living by, and I will be the first to commend them for not paying attention to all those, myself included, who yearned for Wise Dan to try to elevate himself into the realm of the all-time great geldings, such as Kelso, Forego, and John Henry. That has not been their priority. They have remained true to themselves and to their horse. And while they chose not to aim for the galaxy, there certainly is nothing wrong with being considered one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, ever at what you do.

I have maintained over the past year and a half that Wise Dan is unbeatable at a mile on the grass, and not only has he justified that comment, he has done it in a variety of ways--winning comfortably, breaking course records, overcoming trouble, handling bog-like surfaces, and passing those rare gut checks when he had to reach deep down inside himself. He is a pure winning machine; one of the purest anyone has ever seen. His long frame and the energy he is able to generate, especially from his hind end, demonstrates just what a powerful and efficient mover he is. To claim a horse is unbeatable is the greatest compliment one can give, because as the saying goes, “It takes a horse to make a person feel like an ass.”

No one knows for sure how Wise Dan will return at his age from fairly recent surgery. The fact that he’s back working and pointing for an Aug. 9 return only seven weeks after his surgery says a great deal about the horse. When they went in to perform the emergency surgery they discovered that the problem had corrected itself, which in some ways also says a lot about the old boy’s toughness and his healing powers.

Whether he comes back in the Fourstardave or the Bernard Baruch, it will be a memorable occasion, and I hope to be there to record that entire day, from dawn until dusk. Saratoga has provided some emotional moments in its long history, the most recent being Rachel Alexandra’s gut-wrenching victory in the Woodward Stakes, and a triumphant return by Wise Dan would rank right up there.

There are no more ‘what might have beens’ with Wise Dan, just ‘what is.’ It looked for a while as if we were going to lose him for an extended period of time, considering the initial severity of his condition and not knowing for sure if he would ever make it back. Now that he is back already and barely missed a beat, it is time to appreciate the horse for what he is and be grateful every time he steps on to the track--whatever race it may be.


Leave a Comment:


""It is time to live by Emerson’s words: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”"

Says it all in my mind.

22 Jul 2014 3:20 PM

Beautifully written, Steve.  I always love reading your columns, but it's especially heart-warming when you write about a horse that you obviously have affection, or at least admiration, for and I think Dan may be one of those.  I completely agree - Wise Dan has been a wonderful ambassador as HOY (twice) and has nothing to prove to anybody.  It's remarkable that he's attempting to come back after his surgery at age 7, when it would have been entirely understandable for his owner and trainer to say "enough".  It looks like Palace Malice is waiting in the wings to be crowned HOY for 2014, but I don't think that matters one bit to Dan's connections.  Kudos to all of them for all they've accomplished, and best of everything for a safe trip and a happy retirement whenever that day does eventually come around.

22 Jul 2014 3:24 PM

The proliferaton of stakes weighted races make a great horse look even greater.

22 Jul 2014 3:35 PM


This is a spectacular piece! Your posts during the last few weeks have been absolutely brilliant. Each time I see one come up, I think to myself "this can't possibly top the last one," and yet it always does!

There may be no more 'what might have beens' with Wise Dan, but the "still to comes" may include some of the greatest moments of his career. His connections recently mentioned the possibility of running back in the Clark Handicap after the Breeders' Cup, so we may get to see him on dirt after all this year! And of course, 2014 may not be the last year of competition for Wise Dan. Morton Fink once mentioned that he would like to see Wise Dan race through the age of nine, so who knows? There's always a chance that Wise Dan could equal Kelso's unprecedented feat of winning five consecutive Horse of the Year titles!

22 Jul 2014 3:56 PM

Amen and Amen!

22 Jul 2014 3:58 PM

Mr. Haskin~once again your writing has touched my heart!

Brilliant article~Brilliant Horse we sould ALL learn to appreciate!

As another saying goes "You run YOUR race, Wise Dan!" BRAVO!!

22 Jul 2014 4:11 PM

Retire him!  He has nothing left to prove.  WHY run him on dirt?  WHY run him over a mile?  WHY run him again at all?  WHY take a chance with him?  To prove WHAT?  He's done enough and has EARNED his retirement.

22 Jul 2014 4:20 PM
steve from st louis

Steve, you have more "street cred" than anyone else who may also offer their opinion on this blog. If you say Wise Dan's the best at a mile over the lawn, I'll defer. My choice would be Frankel who won nine Group I races in a row and who needed no horse to make his pace if need be. Two other favorites would be Manila and Cozzene. But Wise Dan is such a treasure, we should just enjoy him doing what he does best, outrun the wind.

22 Jul 2014 4:32 PM

Great piece, and very true. Sure, Dan could have tried to compete at the very top level on dirt, but for what? More than ever before, racing needs heroes. Casual fans get frustrated when they follow horses for less than a half-dozen races and then it's off to the breeding shed. I've watched all of Dan's races: cheering when he runs away from the pack, and biting my nails if it looks like he might not make it to the wire first. That's worth more to racing right now than a horse that competes at the top level but doesn't win the public's heart.

22 Jul 2014 4:40 PM
Kimmons Mitchell

Amen Brother Haskin!! Loved what you had to say about the Great One! He has meant so Much to All of Us.Praying for a Great Return and Win from the Champion and that God continues to ride with him and all his connections! Safe and Sound...

22 Jul 2014 4:45 PM
Seabiscrateriat O' War

But Steve, he IS one of the greatest geldings we've been blessed enough to see. He has broken track records, won Breeders' Cups, carried 129 lbs. to victory in an era when that just doesn't happen. He has won a Grade 1 on dirt, shattered a track record on polytrack and won countless Gade 1s on turf. He has run and won from age three to age eight, he has won over firm turf and yielding turf. He has stayed sound and fit while previous competitors of his have long since retired to the breeding shed. Wise Dan is one of the Greats, and anything he does after this will only further define his greatness. If he was just as talented a runner, but did his running on the conventional dirt, we would all be hailing him as the best of this young century and one of the best ever. Instead, we continue to ignore his brilliant dominance of the turf and wonder if he could defeat the best of the dirt runners.

22 Jul 2014 4:53 PM

I agree with you.  We should appreciate Wise Dan for who he is and what he has done.  I can hardly wait until he races again.

22 Jul 2014 5:50 PM


You are not only a great writer, but also a sage philosopher...and you're a better English teacher than most Classics professors! Thanks for finding those fitting quotes, and linking them together, too.

If Wise Dan runs on August 9th, I'm extending my Saratoga vacation to see him.

22 Jul 2014 6:18 PM
Beau Gar

Extremely well written. Unlike the other article Steve wrote about Wise Dan in stating that he should not be considered great until he beats the best of his generation on dirt.Kinda like saying Edwin Moses was not great because he did not run the 440! In this article, Steve gives Dan all the accolades he deserves.

22 Jul 2014 6:29 PM
Eric Rickard

He is what he is. Awesome at a mile on the turf. Very good at 1 1/8 on turf. I hope he returns as good as he was in the past. His last two races were not that "great". I will be rooting.

22 Jul 2014 6:39 PM

Nice article Steve. A surprise from the Wise Dan connection would be better than all the speculation, I think ...leave it at that never know with a horse as talented as "Dan".

22 Jul 2014 6:41 PM
Glorious Goodwood

I visited Woodbine last year for the Woodbine Mile and that was THE performance of the year in North America. The way he absolutely hammered that field in hand and all wrapped up was just jaw dropping. Beating the course record also. No to many horses can run the Woodbine Turf course at a mile and do it in 1:31 and change. Like I said Jaw dropping.  I have also had the privilege to watch Frankel run at my name sake vs Canford Cliffs and that was a jaw dropping performance also.  I can say that I have had the ultimate privilege to see the two best Turf milers of this generation, or possibly ever(Sorry Brigidier Gerard fans).  As far as HOTY. Wise Dan has two GR1 wins under his belt, and will probably add another Woodbine Mile, and BC MIle to his resume along with his comeback race. IF that is the case that is 4 GR1's and a GR2 for the season. Should be enough, unless Palace Malice wins the Whitney and BC CLassic.  

22 Jul 2014 7:38 PM

"The Quotes" that reveal what champions are made of ~ "Quotes" to pay attention to before we become critics and judges - before we assume and become definitive on outcomes and results.  Oh! Wise Dan - what an appropriate name for a champion - "Wise" indeed - superior in strength and remarkable in ability to retain himself throughout his career, through his ails and a wonder to watch then and now.  How much there is to appreciate and how much he gives - as you do Steve -and you should know how much you are appreciated for your tender words of emotions that define "The Quotes"  ~ you have accomplished very much through this column and a "Wise" man you are!

22 Jul 2014 8:27 PM

As usual, you are correct in encouraging us to admire the horse for who he is and what he has accomplished.  He has given much and I only hope that he eventually retires sound and healthy.

22 Jul 2014 8:54 PM
Paula Higgins

Absolutely right Steve. The way I look at it, the fact that he is even back after his recent colon issue is amazing to me. Even though it corrected itself, surgery is no day at the beach. Whatever else he gives us is gravy and I will be very grateful. He is a great horse. Hard to know who is better: Frankel or Wise Dan. It really doesn't matter. They were and are both phenomenal. I will say this though, there is no way Frankel is the greatest horse to ever race. Could not believe the Brits came up with that one.

22 Jul 2014 9:25 PM

Mr Haskin,

You continue to impress me with your poetic writing style, and I have decided that there is very little you could do to deter me from reading your articles.

I have been a "Dan-Fan" throughout this amazing gelding's racing career. In fact, last year, I was FAR more interested in watching his race on Derby day than I was in watching the actual Derby! He has NEVER disappointed and has done everything and more asked of him. He is a true warrior, both bold and brave. When I learned of his colic surgery, I was, of course, worried...but something in me said not to worry too much. Afterall...he is "Dan The Man."

The phrase you referred to has always been a favorite of mine for various reasons. It is one of those quotes that bring you strength in a time of need. No matter what Dan does during the remainder of his career...I do not doubt him. He has already done so much and will truly go down in history as one of the greats...

He is MY John Henry - rest his cantankerous soul and God love him.

Thank you for what you do, Mr. Haskin. I look forward to reading your articles.


Shaun S. Basch, LVT

22 Jul 2014 9:42 PM
Arts and Letters

I appreciate Wise Dan for what he is and I'm glad he's recovered - but I still wish he'd taken just one trip to England to take on their best turf milers.  But no one can argue with his record as it is.

22 Jul 2014 10:57 PM

Wise Dan will be retired after this season of racing. He's made a pile of money for his team, and he deserves a decent retirement.  He's best on grass, so why rock the boat at this point in the stream? - RAMMER

22 Jul 2014 11:08 PM
Karen in Indiana

Amen, Steve - what you said!

22 Jul 2014 11:42 PM


Your post contained some unrealistic scenarios. If WD’s last two races are used as a measure he is unlikely to win is good company again. At his age and with his recent near death experience I think he should have been retired. He has certainly earned and done enough to deserve retirement at this phase of his career.

Why further subject the aging gelding to the rigors of racing after his serious illness?  

23 Jul 2014 12:59 AM

Love our Dan just the way he is. Many great horses that are 'just milers' such as Goldy and there is nothing wrong with that. Visited Dan 10 July at Keeneland trackside prior to his departure to Saratoga on the 13th. He looked great and regardless of how things go the rest of the year, he is still number 1 ~

23 Jul 2014 1:15 AM
spectacular bid

while some may say these two are apples to oranges. Dan, to, me is similar to Game on Dude in that both these horses are great. Dan will most likely end up in the hall of fame, dude..time will tell..but both of these horses should be celebrated for doing what theyve done for as long as they have. the sport will miss them both when they are cool would it be to see them share a paddock at old friends some day?

23 Jul 2014 2:46 AM

It's a really good article, but I can't understand why people keep forgetting that Wise Dan has ALREADY proven himself on dirt AND polytrack?  He is a G1SW/G1SP on dirt and a G2SW/G3SW/G3SW on poly.  He's a G3SW-ing sprinter and a G1SW-ing middle-distance horse.  He beat Flat Out in the Clark H.-G1 in 2011.  He set a NTR when he won the Ben Ali S.-G3 in 2012 and was second in a photo finish to Santa Anita H. winner Ron the Greek in the Stephen Foster-G1.  Then he found his best niche at 8fT and has stuck with it.  Not only am I tired of people "dissing" my horse because he's "only" a turf horse, but I'm tired of people forgetting his versatility and brilliance on multiple surfaces and at varied distances.

23 Jul 2014 10:03 AM

I hope Dan returns to Woodbine for The Mile this Sept.  I'll be front & centre if he does.  But most of all, I wish him a safe return to the races whenever that occurs & good health.  

23 Jul 2014 10:08 AM

Arts and Letters

"but I still wish he'd taken just one trip to England to take on their best turf milers."

It is not customary for American top turf horses to travel across the pond to contest races against Europe's best.

They would be at a disadvantage.

Firstly they would not be allowed to race on Lasix and any other race day medications.

Secondly, the tracks in Europe are not flat all the way around and could confuse American horses. Just imagine an American horse that has raced exclusively on flat surfaces running the last 2-3 furlongs up hill.

Thirdly, turf pedigrees in Europe are much stronger than those in the US and the competition would be more fierce. Whereas only one or two horses might have a slim chance of defeating WD in America, the same would not hold true in Europe.  

A younger Wise Dan probably but not when me became dominant. Remember his connections did not take any of the opportunities to complete again Goldikova in spite of her four visit to contest the BC Mile.  He was just not as good then. Back then Gio Ponti was the top dog.

23 Jul 2014 10:38 AM

Wise words from an eloquent writer. I love Wise Dan and I'm guilty of wishing he could put his hoof in the mouths of his critics before he swaps the track for pasture life. That being said, he has nothing to prove, we know that. His longevity and ability to compete at the top for as long as he has is a marker for greatness. As a rule, American horses just don't run over the age of 4 unless they are geldings, and how many geldings today find their way to the winner's circle as much as Wise Dan has? As for being strictly a turf horse, his connections made that call, not Wise Dan. I believe he was robbed of the opportunity to prove himself on the dirt, but I'm not sure this would be the time to take him out of his comfort zone after his recent health scare. Age is just a number across the pond, we make too much of it here. I'm not thinking of his age getting in the way, the surgery, perhaps. I refuse to sell this tough gelding short. He may have many more pleasant surprises left for us to behold. I hope so. He will let us know when he's ready to hang it up, they always do. We should appreciate Wise Dan for the horse he is, and in 40 years from now, history will judge him as a horse we should've appreciated more.

23 Jul 2014 10:52 AM
Love 'em all

Mr. Haskin, thank you for this most delightful and respectful article on a favorite subject of mine, Wise Dan.  Judging by a recent video of him; he's one happy horse back at work on the track ... and looking fit as a fiddle for a fella is age.  Couldn't ask for more from this fan!  

Without a doubt, Wise Dan is and always will be one of my all-time favorites .... no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  Stay happy and healthy, Wise Dan!  

23 Jul 2014 11:08 AM
Daniel Jividen

Steve:  It is good to see you have found peace and contentment with Wise Dan's conservatively managed career.  Taken on its own terms Wise Dan's racing record has made him a racing immortal,  if not quite a racing icon.  However,  don't give up the ship just yet. Because Wise Dan's 2014 season has been shortened by his colic surgery there is still a possibility we could see him contest the Clark Handicap (one of Charles LoPresti's favorite races) at Churchill Downs on Thanksgiving Friday at nine furlongs on dirt.  If Palace Malice or Will Take Charge hasn't nailed down Horse of the Year honours by then we might all be rewarded with a classic matchup that day.

23 Jul 2014 11:23 AM


If you haven't already, please watch:

You might change your mind.

23 Jul 2014 12:25 PM

Great article Steve! Wise Dan is fortunate to have such a loving and considerate owner and trainer in Morton Fink and Charlie LoPresti. And we are fortunate to have witnessed Wise Dan's mettle on and off the track. He's given us so much.

23 Jul 2014 12:56 PM

High 5 Quinnbit for your comment! And Coldfacts..sometimes I wish you would consider a nice hot bath..maybe it would warm up your heart! More later on our beloved Wise Dan and our beloved Steve Haskin.

23 Jul 2014 2:54 PM

I saw Wise Dan win in a narrow victory in the Woodford Reserve May 3rd. What a champ he is. It was a thrilling victory and a joy to watch. Later on the way to his stall, I was able to see what a long frame he has and what an impressive figure he is. He has nothing left to prove. If he needs a place to retire; I'd gladly take him at my barn!!

23 Jul 2014 3:04 PM

Wise Dan is a purist- he generates pure love from his fans.

23 Jul 2014 3:29 PM

Wise Dan deserves all the accolades he can get. Shelve the naysayers & give credit where credit is due. There are those who will never be satisfied with Wise Dan's accomplishments & will constantly clamor for the horse to perform greater feats. The owner's persona has decided Wise Dan's path & there's no more to say. We must satisfied with the champion that we have & the fact that he has come back (most likely) to form & has the opportunity to race into our hearts again.

23 Jul 2014 3:35 PM

Great article as always Steve!  You said it all - we need to just appreciate him for him.  We will never know what he may have done but at this point it does not matter.  He has done great things as is and I think he is a great horse and deserves the respect of all racing fans.   Spectacular Bid - well said.  I agree with you about Wise Dan and Game On Dude!  They have both given us much excitement and have done great things.  And what a thought that they could someday be retired pasture mates together!  Oh the stories they could tell...!!  LOL

23 Jul 2014 11:52 PM
dance with fate

Wise Dan made me a believer.  Something about him is so honest it draws you to him & you can't help but respect & love him.  ("To thine own self be true...")  Thank you Mr. Haskin for your admiring reflections on this champion.

23 Jul 2014 11:58 PM

One thing is certain, the rest of this year is gonna be awesome. Starting this weekend! Fasten your seatbelts, folks!

24 Jul 2014 2:43 AM
Forbidden Apple

Wise Dan and Charles LoPresti are both full of class and courage. Wise Dan is a running machine with a huge heart and he seems to be thriving on his training year after year. Yes he has nothing left to prove to anyone. And he will always be on my mind and in my heart, a true warrior in the world of horse racing. I remember watching Fourstardave when I was a kid, both of these horses electrify a crowd. After last summer at Saratoga it seemed like the owner's wanted to keep Dan's win streak going. He has been beaten since and there is no shame in running second. Let us also remember that if not for being gelded he would already be retired from racing. If he remains sound, fit, happy, and eager to run, then let him try a dirt race again. Ron the Greek ran at least three monster races in his career, he was a very nice horse. I never could understand why one loss to a Grade I caliber foe has completely banned Wise Dan from running on dirt. I thought that he could have run in and won the 2013 Whitney. Now with a purse increase it looked as if NYRA was trying to lure Wise Dan into the 2014 Whitney. After Will Take Charge wins the Whitney, maybe we can see Wise Dan point to the Woodward and win it! I have nothing but respect for this horse and his trainer, they both are a gift to horse racing. Why am I a naysayer or negative for simply wanting to see my favorite horse throw down against top colts on dirt? Wise Dan deserves a chance, win or lose he's still the undisputed champ to me.

24 Jul 2014 6:22 AM


Many thanks for directing me to the report featuring details of WD first breeze subsequent to his colic surgery.

A breeze is normally a controlled piece of exercise and is significantly different from a race. The much youngers Paynter was breezing impressively after his surgery. I predicted then that he would not win at the top level and he did not.

I harbor no ill will against WD. I just think the gelding has given so much that after his encounter with colic and successful surgery the time had come to retire him.

He narrowly won his pre colic/surgery race. In my opinion it is unrealistic to think that at his age he  will continue his winning ways in top class company.

It's just an opinion.

24 Jul 2014 8:44 AM


What am I guilty of now? In which way have I not been worm towards DW?

A contributor proposed what I considered to be some over ambitious scenarios regarding the aging gelding who recently recovered from colic surgery. It is my opinion that they bordered on fantasy. We all appreciate what WD had done but we should remain realistic given facts as they are.

The report on WD’s first post-surgery breeze has done nothing to change my opinion. A Breeze is not a race. Many horses that have not undergone surgery breeze impressively and are badly beaten in actual races.

I firmly believe WD should be retired and now subjected to further racing. My opinion has nothing to do with coldness toward the brilliant gelding.

I do not have lot of information on horses that have recovered from colic surgery. However, the little I have indicates they never returned to their pre surgery levels. Why risk the gelding being beaten by lesser which I believe is a likely scenario.

If being realistic makes me cold, then I consider this a good kind of coldness.

24 Jul 2014 9:16 AM

Wise Dan's "self-correction" of his colic problem reminded me of a situation with a neighbor's Morgan mare.  WD's vets said they thought maybe the rolling of WD into position for the surgery loosened the coil of intestines that was causing the colic.  My neighbor's mare broke loose while we were walking her, waiting for the vet to arrive.  She bolted to the other side of the pasture and got down and rolled, which is what most colic horses want to do.  She rolled, twisted, got up, got down and rolled some more.  Then she stopped, got up, shook her head and came back to us.  Her pulse was near normal and she'd stopped sweating.  When the vet arrived she said the intestinal sounds were normal.  The mare lived another decade and died of a heart issue, never having colic again.

Wisdom and experience dictate that most colic horses want to get down and roll and you shouldn't let them lest they twist an intestine, making things so much worse, possibly fatefully so.  

But one wonders, if, sometimes, the horse's instinct is right - get down and roll and roll and UNDO the problem……Not an experiment I'd want to try, obviously, but interesting.

24 Jul 2014 12:56 PM

Great post. Dirt or turf is "apples and oranges". I don't see the great dirt horses rushing to compete with Wise Dan on "his turf".

24 Jul 2014 1:56 PM


Palace Malice does have a strong Turf pedigree and I am of the opinion he would be competitive on the surface. The Breeder Cup Classic carries a bigger purse and more prestige. Defeating the aging champion cannot be compared to defeating to class 3YOs the likes of Tonalist, California Chrome and Shared Belief.

24 Jul 2014 3:36 PM

Wise Dan has nothing to prove....Palace Malice is not in Wise Dan's class, not(yet).................Royal Heroine could run with any miler in history.  

24 Jul 2014 10:23 PM

All I know is this horse has taken on all comers from around the world . I think he would have beaten frankle had he run in the breeders cup. 2 races he ran under 132 for a mile at different tracks . ive never seen that before an im almost 50. At a mile maybe the best ever???.

25 Jul 2014 3:02 AM


We all have and are entitled to our opinions, after all, that is what powers racing. In the case of Wise Dan there is one opinion that supersedes both yours mine and everyone's, Wise Dan's. I am confident that he expresses his opinion clearly and fortunately for him Mr. LoPresti listens. The two have known each other for quite a few years and Dan isn't about to try and sway Charlie and vice versa.

With regard to Paynter he had a much more serious condition, Colitis. In addition he had a case of laminitis post surgery. According to the reports Wise Dan had a twist in his intestine that was diagnosed immediately, he was sent to surgery and when the doctors opened him up they found that the twist had rectified itself, so other than the incision healing there were no other complications of note.

As you stated breezes are controlled. They are practice and only representative of a horses desire to run. In the case of older geldings their savvy prowess gives them an immeasurable edge when breezing because they will do exactly what is prescribed.

Wise Dan's last race was challenging indeed and not his best by any analysis, but from the determination viewpoint he did what he had to do and fought a tough battle from start to finish and was the victor.

25 Jul 2014 11:12 AM


You left me in stiches regarding your Frankel comments.

Had Animal Kingdom experienced a better trip in the 2012 Breeder Cup Turf Mile Wise Dan would have been beaten. He recorded a NTR on a rock hard turf. Little Mike also set a NTR for 12F.

Animal Kingdom raced on turf in Europe and was unplaced. He was only  beaten by less than 2 lengths by Wise Dan coming off an almost 12 months respite.

If the connections of Wise Dan avoided Goldikova why on god's earth do you believe they would take on wonder horse Frankel.

With age should come wisdom

25 Jul 2014 12:31 PM

Thank you, Steve!!  Very well said.  I have so enjoyed following Wise Dan and watching his winning ways on multiple surfaces so in my heart he is already one of the greats!!  I'm also very grateful to his connections for always putting the horse first and considering what is best for him - they have my respect and admiration.  

26 Jul 2014 11:47 AM

Your comment of Wise Dan generating energy from his hind end is contributed to the double cross of Round Table in his breeding. Round Table was renown for "running almost off his hocks".Wise Dan follows in Round Table hoof prints as he is considered "America's greatest home bred turf runner". Also similar to Round Table Wise Dan has won dirt stakes but not on the level of Round Table, who won 17 dirt stakes (11 designated Grade 1 since)and well as 14 turf stakes.wise Dan also has set track records again not on the scale of RT (16 equalled or bettered) with 5 more possible records as he won easily at only a fifth of a second slower than the track record. Again Wise Dan brings back memories of his ancestor.Wise Dan in comparison to today's runners is more of a comparison of runners from decades ago. He has been a supreme pleasure to watch and cheer for. Go on Wise Dan!

26 Jul 2014 2:24 PM
md reynolds

Well said! Cannot wait for The Wise One's return!

26 Jul 2014 4:16 PM

There is just something special about some horses that endears me to them.

The first time I saw a photo of Wise Dan's beautiful head and the depth of his eyes, I felt a connection to him. It was much the same way when I saw Secretariat in the line up for the Derby on a little 13 inch black and white TV. For those of you who have felt this sensation, you know what I mean. For those of you who have not, then you most likely never will and therefore will never understand that feeling.

Following Wise Dan has taken me from someone who really liked turf racing to someone who loves the turf and actually prefers it to the dirt track. There is something Old World about the turf and it hearkens back to when racing in Colonial times in this country.

For all intents and purposes, based on what I have read, there was not a lot of faith in Wise Dan ever amounting to much. Wise Dan’s sire was a somewhat non-descript stallion and based on his pedigree and admittedly his conformation flaws, it was decided early on that he was not stallion material and was gelded.

Wise Dan exceeded expectations and he has certainly outran his pedigree (for those of you who live by pedigree only).

One day he will deservedly be placed in the racing hall of fame and years from now will no doubt be thought of a being one of racing greats.

I think we all know that his chances of garnering a third Horse of the Year are slim to none. We do not even know yet if he will win more races this year. But if any horse can come back, I think it is Wise Dan.

Wise Dan has brought great joy to many people and especially Mr. Fink.

Horses like Wise Dan and owners like Mr. Fink are symbolic of what horse racing has always been intended to be; love of the horse and love of the sport.

27 Jul 2014 8:48 AM

What if a Bull Frog had wings???...He would be Wise Dan!!!...

27 Jul 2014 7:39 PM


Your points are valid and passionately expressed. I appreciate that I was not demonized in your submission.

I always endeavor to respect the opinions of others. However, what appear to be fantasies are hardly opinions but rather wishes driven by unrestrained emotions

Your points have been acknowledged and are appreciated.

28 Jul 2014 9:06 AM

I think it only fair that we be reminded that Dan gets a break every winter at Mr. LoPresti's farm. This vacation every year has no doubt contributed also to Dan's longevity. Dan of course has to go back in training early enough in the late winter to be ready for the races. If you recall, we had frigid winter with snow and ice for weeks. Mr LoPresti made the comment that he would have liked several more weeks of training before the first race. Did this impact his first race, I think it did. Conditioning is key to the performance on the track. A comment on the colic Dan had. The flips can happen to any hord

28 Jul 2014 12:33 PM

Continued : to any horse of any age or breed or any discipline, even a backyard pet. Luckily for Dan, his did correct itself and he did not spiral down into a fatal twist colic. Was it serious yes. Was it due to his age or racing, no. From what I saw he looked great when he was unloaded at the farm after the colic to recuperate. From the reports, Dan was ready to go back to the track. one thing he hated the flies and they had to put a fly mask on him. He seems to  have made a great recovery. He is as you say Steve, one tough bird. mm

28 Jul 2014 12:47 PM
Rusty Weisner

Steve Haskin,

That pairing of quotes, one by the namesake of a race at Saratoga no less, demonstrated some real writing talent.  That was really high-caliber stuff.

That said, Wise Dan has cost me nothing but grief at the windows over the years.  Still, I won't be glad to see him go.

29 Jul 2014 9:14 AM

Colic surgery is devastating.  On a recent tuesday my daughter had a wonderful, accomplished, Grand Prix Dressage horse; and on Friday he was gone. This was his second colic surgery.  His loss is a hurt that can't be described.  I respect Wise Dan's trainer in so many ways and the decision to wait until Dan is truly ready to race, if ever.  Wise Dan is a champion and as such deserves the status that follows him even if it means retirement.  

01 Aug 2014 3:00 PM

About time I got back to this.

I always said that since Wise Dan is the best at a mile, why does everyone insist he has to go farther to prove he's great. He's already been proven to be the best at what he does best.

I never heard anyone ranting that Goldikova needed to enter the BC Classic. She was the greatest at a mile, and she proved it...over and over and over again.

A 2 time HOY has nothing to prove...he's already a proven champion. My best wishes will ride with him just as he is.

02 Aug 2014 7:18 PM

freetex, I am so sorry for your daughter's loss.

04 Aug 2014 9:32 AM

Recent Posts



Social Media

More Blogs