The Wise Dan (Grade 2)- $200.000 Purse
CD- For Four Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Turf
June 20, 2020
Things are a little different about the Wise Dan this year, and it might have resulted in many top older horses finding their way here. In what it is the 18th running of the race, it is the first time that three year olds are not allowed to be a part of the show. So, in a time where the younger horses can get considerable weight allowances, this race took on a level of appeal for older horses that it might not have otherwise had. Three year olds had been on a four race winning streak in this race, as well. Last year’s race was won by Devilish Details for Mb Stables, making the always wise trainer a two time winner of the race. While that horse was not won a stake since the race, he has been running at the highest levels, and was part of the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap a couple weeks ago. It seems as though this will be a great race, so let’s enjoy this opportunity for the older horses to be free of the young ones getting in their way, and look at this full field!
#1- Puzzle (La Canada Racehorses, ridden by G Correlas)- Beginning on the rail, this colt that is out of the former BC Distaff winner Lullaby Maker Tf might just be starting to live up to his mother’s name. He has always shown that promise, and did run in the Grade 3 Saranac very early in his career, but big results had eluded him. Finally, at the end of last month, he picked up his first stake win, doing so in the $100.000 Douglas Park, needing to beat a nearly full field. Now, he is back at the graded level, and given the quality of opposition, the trainer will get a clearer picture of where the horse stands in this division, one way or the other.
#2-Jamie Mach (RNP Stables, ridden by J K Court)- This horse has been a round for a while now, and the Wise Dan will be his 38th career start. After finishing fourth in the most recent BC Turf, you could have said that he has never been better as he gets older, but his three races afterwards were cause for some concern. He finally got back on track in May, when he was second at the Grade 2 Fort Mercy at the start of the month, the winning an open allowance at the very end of the month. Perhaps he just needed the confidence booster, so we will see how he builds off of that here.
#3- Command Authority (Nakamura Stables, ridden by G Saez)- Before a tough period in the sales ring in the late summer months may have derailed his progress a little bit, Command Authority entered the graded ranks a few times, but had limited success. Now, he has finally had enough time with Nakamura Stables to show his best potential. At first, he was only entered in optional claimers, but in February, he had a chance at the Grade 3 Canadian Turf and pulled off a win. Now, we have to see if he can do that again, because he did not good a good finish in the Grade 3 SF Mile in April, his only race since. However, that may be a case of where the actual effort was better then the finishing position implies.
#4- Inicnam (Our Athletes, ridden by J R Leparoux)- Having a hard time getting excited over this here, especially off a dismal race in his last start. But, the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap may have been too long for him, and he might just not have liked the soft going. Therefore, I try to throw that out, but then see a bunch of other efforts that are certainly not bad races but they do not instill confidence that he is about to beat a field of the caliber. Not saying that Inicnam can’t be competitive here, but I am not putting any money on him.
#5- Multiple Shadows (Our Athletes, ridden by F Geroux)- The second of two in this field from the trainer, and it seems to be his best entry. That said, even he is coming off a couple of tough races. His last two times at the track have seen double digit finishes: The Man O War last month, and the Makers Mark in April. This might not be a Grade 1 in name, but the field quality is of that nature, so can Multiple Shadows reach down deep and find that form that saw him win the Grade 3 FG Stakes in February? If he can, then he should have a shot here.
#6- General Ferro (Mb Stables, ridden by T C Baze)- This colt by Ferro saw his career turn around when he was placed on the turf, and he was able to climb the ladder to the point of winning the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge about a year ago. Once he did that, the his placement only picked up, running in three consecutive Grade 1’s, including the BEL Derby and the Arlington Million. He didn’t win any of them, then came close but failed to win one of the Grade 2’s afterward. Took another Grade 3 at the start of the year, but then was taken off the turf. While that was not terrible, he was happy to be back on the grass in the Grade 2 Fort Mercy, where he was second. Is it time to win one of these, now? We will see.
#7- Arkenstone (Mb Stables, ridden by B J Hernandez Jr)- Our wise trainer brings this second horse to the Wise Dan, and you could tell a similar story with him about the amount of Grade 1’s that he was entered in, but has not won. The highlight is a strong second place in the BEL Derby, which made it seem at the time like he was going to score some big wins, but we are still waiting for that race that can be considered the signature victory of his career. It seems to only be a matter of time for Arkenstone, and while I am not sure the Wise Dan is a crown jewel race for the resume, it would beat what he has attained thus far.
#8- Lunar Blaze (John Henry, ridden by R Bejarano)- For me, it really puts into perspective how long I have been writing these previews when I can remember when Lunar Blaze arrived at John Henry after a 2016 private sale. While it seems like only yesterday, it has been three and a half years now, and Lunar Blaze keeps running strong. It seems as though every time it looks like there might be a problem with his form, he turns it around and runs off a streak of wins or otherwise good finishes. Right now, that is not a concern, as he just won the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile two starts ago, but it’s truly been a great career for this one. A win allows him to surpass $4,000.000 in career earnings.
#9- Catch A Buzz (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- It is just a couple months shy of two years since the last time Catch A Buzz raced on the turf, but if anyone is going to make it work, then Maxmillion can. He toiled in claimers for a while, and then in optional claimers before he was claimed by Maxmillion last October. Off of that, he ran and won the CC Jewel. Two graded efforts followed that did not pick up a check, so here we will see if a change in surface can lead to graded success.
#10- Sneaky Little Monkii (Nakamura Stables, ridden by C H Borel)- This is the graded debut for this four year old gelding that less then a year ago ran for a $6.500 claiming tag. Thankfully for the trainer, he was not claimed then or at any of the other small tags he went for after it. This would allow him to see the promise that he had on the turf, starting late last year. He comes here off a win in the $115.000 Opening Verse, and it will be a tough test for him.
#11- Paris Diplomat (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by C Landeros)- Here is another one making their first start in a graded stake, and it is a big vote of confidence in him by the trainer. His only stake appearance was an ungraded attempt in late November where he was fourth. Since then, he has been gelded, then finished sixth then third in an allowance and optional claimer. This is a horse that is usually able to be close at the end, so that might have a lot to do with this ambitious move.
#12- Cherra Grans (John Henry, ridden by C J Lanerie)- For him, the debut is not in a graded stake, but while running in the silks of John Henry. After finishing up the track in the Forester Turf Classic (Grade 1) here last month, Cherra Grans was sold just six days later for $100.000. Now, we’ll see if the Cherokee Sunset gelding can duplicate the kind of lengthy career that Lunar Blaze has had while running for John Henry. It’s been six weeks, so he has had time to get the gelding right and back to form, something that he has done often for Lunar Blaze.