Owned by Ben Hutzel, Nikkis Bold Gelato, at 16-1, made her fourth stakes appearance a memorable one, courtesy of a strong ride from Davy Moran.
At the stretch call, Nikkis Bold Gelato, two lengths in front, was under steady urging from Moran, as the pair went on to win by 1 ½ lengths with Tiller trainee and mutuel favourite It’s Gail taking second. Consecutive was third.
The final time was 1:41.70.
"She loved the soft going," said Moran, of the filly who was fourth in the Passing Mood Stakes on July 21. "When I asked her to pick up, she picked it up real good, and galloped out real strong after the race. She had a little more left, too, if somebody came. She carried me like a winner from the get-go."
Tiller’s other entrants, Princess Pick and Grace Phil, were fourth and seventh, in the eight-horse field.
Nikkis Bold Gelato paid $35.40, $12.30 and $8.20, combining with It’s Gail ($3.50, $2.90) for a $121.40 exactor. Consecutive ($5.20) completed an $821.40 triactor. A $1 superfecta returned $2,576.25.
Wise Dan ready for Woodbine Mile
TORONTO, September 8 - Wise Dan, currently ranked second on the NTRA`s list of North America’s top thoroughbreds in training, will arrive at Woodbine on Friday morning ready to race in the Grade 1, $1-million Ricoh Woodbine Mile, to be held Sunday, September 16, over the E.P Taylor Turf Course.
The bay son of Wiseman's Ferry-Lisa Danielle, trained by Charles Lopresti for owner-breeder Morton Fink, arrives at the Mile off a spectacular five-length score in the Grade 2 Fourstardave at Saratoga.
Wise Dan, a graded winner on multiple surfaces, has notched graded wins on the synthetic (Grade 3 Phoenix, Grade 2 Fayette and Grade 3 Ben Ali all at Keeneland), dirt (Grade 1 Clark at Churchill Downs) and turf (Grade 2 Firecracker at Churchill; Grade 2 Fourstardave at Saratoga).
Lopresti, who won the Woodbine Mile last year with Turallure, has been very impressed with how Wise Dan has been training heading into the Breeders' Cup ‘Win & You're In’ event.
On August 24, Wise Dan breezed four furlongs in :45.89 over the Saratoga training turf.
"It turned out phenomenal. None of us could believe it, including the clockers," said Lopresti. "I told his exercise rider I'd be happy if he goes in :48 and change. He probably went in :46, but they got him in :45 and change. He did it really easy. He looked like he was going :48."
The sharp work is a good sign for those planning to back Wise Dan at Woodbine. Wise Dan's final breeze before the Fourstardave, a five-panel jaunt over the Saratoga training turf, was clocked in a dazzling :58.40.
"That was incredible," recalled Lopresti. "He went :58 and change, they got three-quarters in 1:10 and out seven furlongs in 1:22. It looked like he had the hand brake on when he was doing it."
With the hard training taken care of, Wise Dan breezed an easy six furlongs over the Keeneland main track on September 5 in 1:13.
"He was just cruising around there," said Lopresti. "He's so fit. If he's not fit enough to run this race, I don't know what will get him fit!"
Lopresti's star contender will be partnered in the Mile by regular rider John Velazquez. The recent Hall of Fame inductee steered Miss Keller to a memorable win in the E.P Taylor Stakes at Woodbine, last October.
"It's an incredible turf course," said Lopresti. "I couldn’t believe it the first time I looked down that stretch. It's pretty neat. I know Johnny knows it well, I just hope Wise Dan realizes how long he has to run down the lane and saves it for the quarter pole home."