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Oct 17, 2014

Up the Backstretch: Hole left with absence of Wise Dan

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

 Philadelphia, PA ( - The 2014 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita won't be the same without reigning two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan.

X-rays revealed a non-displaced "half-moon shaped" fracture of the bottom of the cannon bone in the right front fetlock. At least 30 days of rest is needed before any further evaluation can be made on Wise Dan's future.

I think we can all agree that we've become accustomed to having the now 7-year-old gelding competing in the Breeders' Cup Mile, especially at Santa Anita where he won the last two renewals.

Wise Dan, owned by Morton Fink and trained by Charlie LoPresti, won last year's Mile as the 4-5 favorite by charging between horses down the stretch to register a three-quarters length win.

In 2012, the gelding was the 2-1 favorite and cruised to a two-length win over Animal Kingdom, setting a course and stakes record of 1:31.78.

"Over the course of his brilliant career," said Craig Fravel, Breeders' Cup President and CEO, "Wise Dan has demonstrated extraordinary prowess, grit and determination on the racetrack as a two-time Breeders' Cup champion and Horse of the Year. Morton Fink and Charlie LoPresti have campaigned a terrific racehorse, and all of us at the Breeders' Cup wish Wise Dan a speedy recovery."

This year was certainly a difficult one for Wise Dan and his connections.

After beginning his 2014 season with repeat victories in the Maker's 46 Mile and Woodford Reserve Turf Classic he developed intestinal problems that required emergency colic surgery on May 16.

Wise Dan returned to the races on Aug. 30 at Saratoga by winning the Bernard Baruch Handicap and just over a week ago claimed his second Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland. He was second in last year's Shadwell to Silver Max, winning the event in 2012.

Now Wise Dan will be out of action for an unknown amount time.

"This is just part of the ups and downs of the game," LoPresti said. "I'm fine, but I really feel bad for him. He won't get the chance to show his greatness again.

"The thing I want people to know is he is not limping around. He walks twice a day and stands on a vibration plate. He is just a tick off and has a little filling in the joint."

Champions rarely continue beyond Eclipse Award-winning campaigns so the fact that Wise Dan is a gelding necessitated his continued racing after achieving the sport's highest honors.

"We won't decide if he will return to training until we see if he heals perfectly because he has nothing left to prove," Fink said in his statement to the Breeders' Cup. "This is not a fracture that can be helped with surgery; he has to heal it on his own.

"He is seven-years-old, with 30 starts in his career so we'll let him show us what to do next."

Wise Dan has accomplished so much for himself, his connections and racing as a whole. We can all be assured Fink and LoPresti will do what's best for the future Hall of Fame thoroughbred.

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