Wise Dan defends title in the Mile
By Ben Everill
ARCADIA, California (Reuters) - America's horse of the year and 4-5 favorite Wise Dan defended his $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park on Saturday despite an early stumble out of the gate and being ridden by a replacement jockey.
John Velazquez was supposed to ride Wise Dan but had to have emergency surgery following an earlier race fall and was replaced by Jose Lezcano, who steered the gelding to a powerful win.
Sitting well poised behind the pace for the majority of the race, Wise Dan reeled in the leaders down the final straight with ease.
A stumble out of the gate meant he was unable to match last year's track record but his 1:32:47 winning time was just 0.69 seconds behind his impressive mark.
"He stumbled out of the gate really bad," Lezcano said. "He tried to break so fast that he just lost his balance.
"I had to let him go. He tried to go to plan B, you know, waiting, and he gave me a good run and won the race. He's a champion horse."
It was the 19th win of the six-year-old's career from 27 starts. He has won 15 of his last 18 races.
Kentucky bred Za Approval, an 18-1 chance, claimed second while 31-1 outsider Silentio finished third. Continued...