Quotes from the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile

December 10, 2019

Charlie LoPresti (winning trainer of Wise Dan)

“His head was turned sideways, and he missed the break a little bit but that’s what happened to him in the Breeders’ Cup (Mile, G1) last year. He stumbled. I was a little worried down the backside. Silver Max got a slow quarter (mile time) up front. I thought, ‘Man, somebody’s got to go.’ He’s just an incredible horse. He’s incredible. That’s all I can say. Thank God.”

“The way this unfolded, for him to win the way he did, he ran a great race. (Jockey) Johnny (Velazquez) did a great job. He didn’t panic (over being behind). It was the same kind of thing that happened in the Breeders’ Cup last year. He kinda stumbled a few steps out of the gate and wasn’t where we wanted him to be but he still overcame it.”

On whether Wise Dan might race in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) instead of seeking a third win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1)

“I’ll leave it up to (breeder and owner) Mr. (Mort) Fink. The way he trained on the dirt here, the way he ran today, this is the kind of race I wanted for him. They ran :35 and change over a good turf. I’ll just leave it up to the boss, but I wouldn’t be afraid to run him anywhere – as long as he comes back good. You know he’s seven years old; how many races does he have left? Maybe now’s the time to do it.

“He’s trained so well over the dirt this year at Saratoga and here (that) I think if we’re ever going to try it, this would be the year. You just don’t know how many (races) he has in him, a horse of this age. And whether he’ll get a mile and a quarter, I don’t know. I guess the only way to find out is to try.”

On the reception from the Keeneland crowd “We love Keeneland. This is our home. It’s Wise Dan’s home, and thanks to all the fans for coming out here and being so proud of this horse. When he went through the colic surgery, the cards and letters that we got from people … ‘Please get well, Wise Dan.’ People love him and we love him. We’re proud to have him and blessed to have him.”

John Velazquez (winning rider)

“He just threw his head to the opposite side and the doors opened, so he got surprised and he didn’t break very good. And now I’m a little concerned, because now I’m going to be behind horses that are slower than he’s supposed to be. I was hoping he would settle going into the first turn. I let him run a little to the first turn. When I got a nice position, I tried to slow him down behind horses.

“The whole way down the backside I was worried he would clip heels because he was pretty strong. I was saying. ‘Buddy, be easy, easy, easy.’ Once I pulled him out of there, he kicked his usual kick. When I pulled him out, he was there for me.”

David Moran (rider of runner-up Grand Arch)

“Turning for home, I thought I had a big chance but Wise Dan came by me very, very fast. My horse kept grinding. He ran huge. He’s a hard knocker. If anyone was going to beat us today, it had to be Dan.”

Julien Leparoux (rider of third-place finisher Sayaad)

“He ran great. We had a great trip sitting second, very relaxed. I thought for a little bit I could win, but obviously Wise Dan is a tough horse. Third best today, that’s it.”

Patrick Husbands (rider of fourth-place finisher Kaigun)

“I had a perfect trip. The last eighth of a mile I was hoping that the space doesn’t close, but by the time I got there it was closed, but he ran a good race.”

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