With his smashing victory Sept. 16 in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Can-IT), Wise Dan underlined that he is a formidable performer on any surface. Stretching back to July last year, he has won seven of his last nine starts, his sole defeats coming when fourth, beaten 1 3/4 lengths, in last year’s Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. I), and second, beaten a head, after a rough trip June 16 in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), his sole defeat in four outings this term. Winner of last year’s Clark Handicap (gr. I) on the dirt, Wise Dan kicked off 2012 with a 10 1/2-length tally in the Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) on the all-weather at Keeneland. After his narrow defeat in the Stephen Foster, he prefaced his Woodbine victory with a five-length tally in the Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Race Course. In addition, he owns both the best main-track Beyer speed figure and the two best turf Beyers of 2012.
Wise Dan is far and away the best performer to represent his sire Wiseman's Ferry. A member of the second crop sired by Hennessy, Wiseman’s Ferry did display a measure of the versatility owned by Wise Dan, albeit at a lesser level. Racing in Europe at 2, he broke his maiden on the turf and finished second in the Anglesey Stakes (Ire-III)—to Hennessy’s exceptional juvenile son Johannesburg—and third in the Sentanta Media Marble Hill Stakes. Transferred to the U.S. at 3, Wiseman’s Ferry proved more effective on dirt, capturing the West Virginia Derby and Lone Star Derby (both gr. III) and taking second in the Ohio Derby (gr. II). Having started his stallion career in New York, then served in Kentucky, Wiseman’s Ferry now stands at Dana Point Farm in Lenhartsville, Pa., where his advertised stud fee for 2012 was $3,500. Wiseman’s Ferry has sired six stakes winners, the best apart from Wise Dan being Riding the River, a multiple graded scorer in Canada.
If Wise Dan’s sire has not been an exceptional producer, we can’t say the same about his dam. A $29,000 purchase at 1995 Keeneland September yearling sale by Cecil Seaman on behalf of Morton Fink—the owner/breeder of Wise Dan—Lisa Danielle scored just once in seven starts, taking a maiden special weight at Arlington Park at 3. Following that victory, Lisa Danielle was soundly defeated in allowance races on both turf and dirt, making her final start in June of her 4-year-old season while already in foal to Roy.
A gelding named Lisa’s Royal Guy, winner of $182,386, was the result of that mating. A year later came a full sister, the filly Our Royal Dancer, who got the stud career of Lisa Danielle off to a bright start with a win in the West Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth. The next notable runner for Lisa Danielle, who boasts a record of seven winners from eight starters, was Wise Dan’s year-older half brother Successful Dan. A gelded son of Successful Appeal , Successful Dan has earned $656,608 to date, with graded wins coming in the Alysheba Stakes (gr. II), Greenbrier Fayette Stakes (gr. II), and Northern Dancer Stakes (gr. III). The 8 1/2-furlong track record holder at Churchill Downs, Successful Dan also has placed in a trio of stakes races, including when third in the Clark Handicap (gr. I).
Lisa Danielle is a daughter of the South African-born stallion Wolf Power. By the Round Table horse Flirting Around, a top-class sprinter in Europe, Wolf Power won 18 of 31 starts in his native country, earning honors as Champion 2-year-old colt and as Horse of the Year as an older runner. Standing his entire career in Kentucky—the majority at Gainesway—Wolf Power wasn’t a prolific stakes sire, but he did get U.S. grade I winner Freedom Cry and the group or graded scorers Wolf Brigade, Ask Anita, Lupine Lady, Wolf Alert, and Monashee. In addition to Wise Dan and Successful Dan, he appears as broodmare sire of grade I winner Milwaukee Brew and several other graded winners.
Lisa Danielle’s dam Askmysecretary, an unraced daughter of Secretariat, produced nine winners from 11 named foals, all runners. None of them captured a stakes event, but the Carson City filly Carsona was several times stakes-placed, including when third in the Hollywood Oaks (gr. I). She subsequently produced the multiple graded stakes winner Siphon City. Askmysecretary is out of Laquiola, a Lyphard daughter who won the Prix de la Seine and was group-placed while racing in France. She appears as second or third dam of several stakes winners, the most notable being Scalo, victorious in the Preis von Europa (Ger-I) and a multiple highweight in Germany, and Tzar Rodney, who took the Prix La Force (Fr-III) in France and the All-American Handicap (gr. IIIT) on this side of the Atlantic.
Laquiola was a product of top-class European breeding, as she is a half sister to the Prix du Jockey-Club (Fr-I) victor Roi Lear and to two other stakes winners. Their dam Kalila is half sister to two other classic winners in Valoris II, who took the Epsom Oaks and the Irish One Thousand Guineas in 1966, and to another French Derby hero in Val de Loir. Their dam Vali is ancestress of a slew of notable winners, including the group and grade one winners Le Miracle, Petoski, Cent Home, Aragorn, and One Cool Cat. Vali is a great-great-grandaughter of the mare Simon’s Shoes, ancestress though another branch of Nureyev, Sadler’s Wells, and Fairy King.
The most notable feature of Lisa Danielle’s pedigree is that her sire is a Princequillo/Nasrullah cross while her broodmare sire Secretariat is at the pinnacle of the runners produced by the reverse of that cross. Wiseman’s Ferry, the sire of Wise Dan, reinforces that background: He brings in a second cross of Secretariat (as broodmare sire of Storm Cat, a reverse Northern Dancer/Secretariat cross to the dam of Lisa Danielle), and his third dam La Mesa is by Round Table out of a daughter of Nasrullah.