No Wise Dan Means BC Mile will be Tough Again
No Wise Dan means that the Breeders' Cup Mile will be tough again. Wise Dan, the former two time Horse of the Year was retired earlier this month.
While training for the G1 Woodbine Mile, trainer Charles Lopresti, according to an article by Ron Mitchell on Bloodhorse, found some filling in a tendon. Wise Dan retires with an awesome record, winning 23 of 31 with 2 second place finishes. The son of Wisemens Ferry earned $7,552,920.
Losing Wise Dan for the BC Mile is a double-edge sword. As horse racing fans, it's always tough when one of the greats retire. We appreciate the brilliance of horses like Wise Dan. We understand what it takes for connections to provide such an equine to the Sport of Kings. But as handicappers, Wise Dan's exclusion from the BC Mile could lead to a much more competitive race. With Wise Dan's involvement, the BC Mile had become a single on most Pick 6 and Pick 4 races. Now, in this year's Breeders' Cup, the door is wide-open for a long shot to not only hit the board but possibly win the race. See below for some instances where long shots took home the top prize in the BC Mile.
1. Da Hoss in 1998 - Da Hoss won the 1996 BC Mile. Unfortunately, Da Hoss had always been a somewhat fragile animal. He didn't run for 2 years after he won the BC Mile in 1996. One of the greatest unsung trainers in the history of thoroughbred racing, Michael Dickinson, brought Da Hoss to the 1998 BC Mile after a single prep, a single race in 2 years. Da Hoss not only won, but he beat Hawksley Hill, a terrific grass miler, while being on the inside of that horse. Dickinson's ability to get Da Hoss ready for the BC Mile after a single prep in 2 years is considered by many to be the greatest training feat of all time. As Tom Durkin described it, Da Hoss winning the BC Mile was the "greatest comeback since Lazarus".
2. Court Vision in 2011 - What's interesting is that Goldikova was in the 2011 BC Mile. She had won the previous 3 running's from 2008 to 2010. She was an odds on favorite to repeat in 2011. Court Vision not only beat Goldikova but he beat her as the longest shot on the board at 64 to 1. Court Vision earned the victory. He had to go extremely wide around the final turn in order to catch Goldikova. Perhaps, 4 BC Mile victories in a row was just too much for the brilliant mare.
3. Domedriver in 2002 - Rock of Gibraltar was considered a sure thing in the 2002 BC Mile. The Rock, as he was called, was the single on more than 1 Pick Six ticket. Unfortunately, a French horse named Domedriver, who probably shouldn't have been as big of a long shot as he was, got the jump on The Rock, and ended up taking down the European Champion in a huge upset. The ride on Rock of Gibraltar has been questioned by more than a few horse racing fans since 2002. Domedriver saved all of the ground on the inside while The Rock needed some luck in order to get an opening at the top of the stretch. The 2002 BC Mile is a great example of how race riding in Europe on the grass can be so different than race riding on the grass in the United States. Jockeys that adjust are the ones that find themselves in the winners' circle more often than not.
4. Artie Schiller in 2005 - Leroidesanimaux was an amazing horse. Trained by the awesome Bobby Frankel, Leroidesanimaux had won the Grade 1 Franke E Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita and the Grade 1 Fourstardave at Belmont. He had set the race record for the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile. Like Goldikova in 2011 and Rock of Gibraltar in 2002, Leroidesanimaux was a single on a lot of Pick 6 tickets, a huge favorite. Once he got the jump in the stretch, it looked like he was going to simply run on for the win. Artie Schiller under Garrett Gomez, waited for room, squeezed through 2 horses, and ran past Leroidesanimaux.
5. Lure in 1992 - Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Arguably the third greatest horse to ever win the BC Mile, after Wise Dan and Goldikova, Lure was as well-bred as any horse to enter the BC Mile in 1992. His sire was Danzig while his damsire was Alydar. Lure had won the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct in 1992 and was a winter book favorite for the Kentucky Derby. Injury forced him off the Derby Trail. He was second in the G3 Kelso Handicap. Although Lure would go on to win the 1993 BC Mile as a big favorite, he was an underdog in the 1992 BC Mile. Who was the favorite in that race? The 1992 Kentucky Derby favorite, Arazi, had gone back to Europe to run in 4 more races before trying for a BC Mile victory. The betting public bet Arazi down to 3 to 2, such was the horse's mythical aura. Arazi finished eleventh while Lure took the lead shortly after the gates opened and won easily. Lure shattered the track record that day.