Two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan Faces Seven Rivals
in Saturdayâ€™s $1 Million Shadwell Turf Mile
Stakes is first seven-figure race in Keeneland history
LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 1, 2014) â€“ Morton Finkâ€™s reigning two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan, who is based at Keeneland, will face seven opponents Saturday in the 29th running of the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), the first $1 million race in Keeneland history.
The Shadwell Turf Mile is a Win and Youâ€™re In race for the Breedersâ€™ Cup Mile (G1) to be run Nov. 1 at Santa Anita and a race Wise Dan has won the past two years.
The Shadwell Turf Mile will go as the ninth race on Saturdayâ€™s 10-race program with a post time of 5:45 p.m. ET.
Wise Dan will break from post position six and be ridden by John Velazquez.
A winner of his past 13 races on grass of which nine were Grade 1 stakes, Wise Dan has won all three of his 2014 races that began with a victory here in April in the Makerâ€™s 46 Mile (G1). He won the Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 3 and less than two weeks later underwent emergency colic surgery.
Trainer Charlie LoPresti brought Wise Dan back to the races in the Bernard Baruch (G2) on Aug. 30, and the 7-year-old gelding responded with a nose victory over Optimizer, whom he will face again Saturday.
Optimizer will break from post position two with Alan Garcia retaining the mount from the Bernard Baruch. Jose Fernandez trains Optimizer.
In addition to Optimizer, the two horses that have finished closest to Wise Dan in 2014 â€“ Kaigun and Seek Again â€“ and the most recent horse to beat him â€“ Silver Max â€“ are coming back to challenge the six-time Keeneland graded stakes winner.
Trained by Mark Casse, Kaigun finished three-quarters of a length back in the Makerâ€™s 46 Mile and was fourth to Wise Dan in the Turf Classic. He won the Play the King (G2) at Woodbine in August and most recently was second in the Woodbine Mile (G1). Kaigun will break from post position five and be ridden by Patrick Husbands.
Seek Again was a head behind Wise Dan in the Turf Classic, was third in the Manhattan (G1) and won the Fourstardave (G2) at Saratoga in his most recent start. Trained by Bill Mott, Seek Again will be ridden by Joel Rosario and break from position eight.
In last yearâ€™s Shadwell, which was rained off the turf and moved to the all-weather surface, Silver Max never trailed in holding off Wise Dan by 1Â¼ lengths. Following a fourth-place finish in the 2013 Breedersâ€™ Cup Mile behind Wise Dan, Silver Max was off nearly eight months before returning to win the Firecracker (G2) at Churchill Downs in late June.
Trained by Dale Romans, Silver Max will be ridden by Robby Albarado and break from post position four.
The field for the Shadwell Turf Mile, from the inside out, is as follows: Sayaad (Julien Leparoux), Optimizer (Garcia), Grand Arch (David Moran), Silver Max (Albarado), Kaigun (Husbands), Wise Dan (Velazquez), Two Notch Road (Paco Lopez) and Seek Again (Rosario). All starters will carry 126 pounds.
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