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May 09, 2014

Wise Dan defends Woodford Reserve Turf with gutsy race


Louisville, KY ( - Two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan was challenged down the stretch but was able to pull out a second straight win in Saturday's $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on the 140th Kentucky Derby undercard.

Trained by Charles LoPresti and ridden by John Velazquez, Wise Dan was sent off as the 1-2 favorite in the 10-horse field for the 1 1/8-mile turf race.

The 7-year-old gelding broke a little awkwardly but Velazquez allowed him to settle into third on the outside of pacesetter Bright Thought and Skyring.

Wise Dan raced up the backstretch in third on the outside and was three-wide around the far turn. He moved into second along side Bright Thought on the final turn and had the lead coming into the stretch.

The favorite was joined down the stretch by 7-1 second choice Seek Again and the two battled through the stretch until the wire. Wise Dan was able to get the best of Seek Again and register a head victory over the 4-year-old colt.

Boisterous finished third followed by Kaigun, Admiral Kitten, Guys Reward, Moro Tap, Finnegans Wake, Bright Thought and Skyring.

Wise Dan covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.73 on a firm turf course.

Wise Dan, owned by Morton Fink, notched his second win in as many starts this year and added $329,310 to his bankroll. The gelding has career earnings of $6,802,920 with 21 wins in 29 starts. At Churchill the champion thoroughbred has won seven of 11 starts for better than $1.3 million.

The 7-year-old won last year's Turf Classic by 4 3/4 lengths over a yielding grass course. He began 2014 with a second straight win in the Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland. Wise Dan has won the last two Breeders' Cup Miles and since the beginning of 2012 has won 13 of 15 starts. He is a six-time Eclipse Award winner.

Wise Dan paid $3.00, $2.40 and $2.10. Seek Again returned $4.80 and $3.80, and Boisterous paid $3.80 to show.

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