Wise Dan: posts another decisive victory in the Woodford ReservePICTURE: EquiSport Photos/Jessie Holmes
So easy for Wise Dan in Woodford Reserve
Report: USA, Saturday
Churchill Downs: Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (Grade 1) 1m1f, turf, 4yo+
WISE DAN (Charles LoPresti/Jose Lezcano), the reigning Horse of the Year, made no mistake with another decisive victory in this $500,000 event, the highlight of the Kentucky Derby undercard at a mud-splattered Churchill Downs on Saturday.
The six-year-old's task was eased considerably when main rival Point Of Entry, the Breeders' Cup Turf runner-up, was scratched after heavy rain. But you can't do much more than comfortably dismiss what's put in front of you, and there aren't many better than the ultra-versatile Wise Dan in that respect.
Sitting a few lengths off the pace on yielding ground in the Woodford Reserve-sponsored Turf Classic, the odds-on favourite moved up smoothly three wide on the turn for home to go upsides the front pair.
While Lezcano gave him a couple of smacks to keep him interested, the Breeders' Cup Mile victor pulled away to score emphatically by nearly five lengths from Optimizer.
Although he also has top-level form on synthetics and dirt, Wise Dan is plainly one of the best US grass horses for many a year. He has now won nine of his last ten starts, including six Grade 1s.
Also on Saturday
Churchill Downs: Churchill Downs Stakes (Grade 2) 7f, dirt, 4yo+
Former claimer Delauney (Tom Amoss/Rosie Napravnik) made light of the sloppy conditions to blow away his rivals in this $440,000 contest, in the process completing a six-timer.
After sitting on Trinninberg's flank for the first half-mile, the six-year-old gelding sauntered past the Breeders' Cup winner early in the stretch before crushing his remaining rivals by four lengths as the 19-10 favourite. Trinniberg, broken spirited, faded to finish seventh.
Churchill Downs: Humana Distaff (Grade 1) 7f, dirt, 4yo+ f/m
Aubby K (Ralph Nicks/Edgar Prado) stalked the pace before taking control as they turned into the stretch and then held off Burban by a length and a half. She was sent off a 36-10 chance for her first Grade 1 win.
Churchill Downs: Distaff Turf Mile (Grade 2) 1m, turf, 4yo+
Stephanie's Kitten (Wayne Catalano/Julien Leparoux) recorded a last-to-first victory as she returned to the scene of her greatest triumph in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' Turf.
The four-year-old, unbeaten in three outings on the Churchill Downs turf course, edged out favourite Hungry Island by a neck to take this $290,000 contest, where morning-line favourite Marketing Mix was scratched owing to the rain-softened turf.