Wise Dan
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Wise Dan
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Coglianese Photos

Wise Dan to Depart for Woodbine Sept. 12

Horse of the Year will arrive in Canada for the Ricoh Woodbine Mile Sept. 13.

Wise Dan, reigning Horse of the Year in the U.S. and winner of the 2012 Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Can-IT), will arrive at Woodbine the morning of Sept. 13 to defend his title in the Sept. 15 event.

"He'll leave on Thursday evening from Kentucky to be there Friday morning by 11 a.m.," trainer Charlie LoPresti said  from his base at Keeneland.

Wise Dan, who was clocked in :59 on the Keeneland main track Sept. 4, will put in his final Woodbine Mile prep Sept. 10 at Keeneland.

"It's not going to be a real serious one; he had a good one last week in :58 and change, out in :11," LoPresit said. "We'll let him do a little half-mile or three-furlong breeze just to keep him ticking over. He's really fit and ready to go."

Wise Dan, an impressive 3 1/4-length winner of last year's $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile, will have an easy schedule upon his arrival at the Toronto, Ontario, racetrack.

"Maybe we'll take him over to the paddock and school him and he will have a gallop day, probably on Saturday like he did last year," LoPresti said.

Wise Dan won five of six starts in 2012, all graded events: the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) and Ben Ali (gr. III) at Keeneland (the latter on Polytrack); the Fourstardave (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Race Course; and the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) in record-setting fashion at Santa Anita Park in addition to his Woodbine Mile score.

The now 6-year-old gelding's lone defeat last year came in a narrow head decision to Ron the Greek in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), raced at 1 1/8-miles on the dirt at Churchill Downs.

LoPresti's charge is perfect through four starts in 2013, with wins in the Maker's 46 Mile (gr. IT), at Keeneland, the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) and Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) at Churchill, and the Fourstardave at Saratoga again, all on the grass.

While some observers are calling for Wise Dan to stray from his comfort zone of the turf mile, LoPresti is keen to remind potential detractors of the gelding's impressive resume.

"People forget this horse won a grade I on the dirt (the 2011 Clark Handicap); was second beaten a head in a grade I on the dirt, and he broke a track record on synthetic (in the Ben Ali)," the trainer said. "They also forget he won a grade III sprinting on the synthetic (in the 2010 edition of the Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland).

"He has done all that before, but they want him to do it again. At this point in time, I don't feel like I have to prove anything to anybody. I want to do what's right for my horse and what the owner wants to do. He pays the bills, and we'll do what's right for him and the horse."

Wise Dan is looking for for his ninth consecutive graded-stakes score.

"It's not like he's a stallion and we're trying to prove anything as far as breeding or standing him at stud," LoPresti said. "We just want to put him in places where we can keep him undefeated and we can enjoy him."