Trained by Charlie LoPresti and ridden by Jose Lezcano, Wise Dan covered the mile on a firm turf course in 1:36.37. The victory was worth $186,000 and raised Wise Dan’s earnings to $3,727,638 with a record of 21-14-1-0.
Wise Dan, bred by Fink, is a six-year-old gelded son of Wiseman’s Ferry out of the Wolf Power (SAF) mare Lisa Danielle.
Silentio set the pace in the field of five, posting fractions of :24.61 and :48.84 as Wise Dan tracked in third place behind Skyring while racing three wide and in the clear. As the field raced past the quarter pole in 1:13.11, Wise Dan swept past Silentio with Data Link moving within a length to his outside.
Data Link closed to within a half-length at midstretch but could not get any closer as Wise Dan completed the final quarter of a mile in 23 seconds.
A winner of eight of his past nine races, Wise Dan was making his first start since winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) in November at Santa Anita.
“People asked me earlier, ‘What horse do you fear?’ I said, ‘I fear the layoff the most.’ ” LoPresti said. “I didn’t crank him as tight as he needed to be for this race. Turning for home, I hoped he was going to win, but I knew he might get a little tired. He kicked in on heart alone.”
Wise Dan returned mutuels of $2.80, $2.10 and $2.10. Data Link, seeking to join Kip Deville as the only repeat winner of the race, returned $3 and $2.20 under Javier Castellano with Mr. Commons finishing two lengths back in third under Corey Nakatani and returning $2.80 to show.
Skyring was another 1¼ lengths back in fourth with Silentio finishing fifth.
The 89th running of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) will highlight a 12-race program Saturday that includes two other Grade 1 stakes and two Grade 3 stakes. First post time Saturday is 1:05 p.m. (ET) with the Toyota Blue Grass scheduled as the 10th race with a 5:40 p.m. post time.