Jose Lezcano (yellow) rides Wise Dan to a repeat win in the MilePICTURE: Harry How/Getty Images
Dan the man with smooth repeat win
Report: USA, Saturday
Santa Anita: Breeders' Cup Mile (Grade 1) 3yo+, 1m
THE Horse Of The Year in the USA made a strong pitch for repeat honours as Wise Dan gained his 11th win in 12 runs on grass with a slick victory in the Mile.
The 4-5 favourite gained back-to-back wins in the race by running down two outsiders in Za Approval and Silentio as Europe's big hope Olympic Glory failed to make an impression.
Victory was smoothly gained but not before an element of drama at the start as Wise Dan stumbled coming out of the gates.
His rider Jose Lezcano, deputising for the hospitalised John Velazquez, reverted to what he described as "Plan B" by allowing Wise Dan to make his own way into the race.
Progress was serene until a brief moment late in the straight when Lezcano's mount ran up behind Za Approval with Silentio blocking his route up the inner.
Switched to the outside, the Charlie LoPresti-trained star opened up to ease to victory, in the process pushing the six-year-old gelding's career earnings past $6 million.
LoPresti touched on pre-race suggestions of a weakening in Wise Dan's Horse Of The Year claims due a shock defeat on his most recent run which ended a winning streak of nine stretching back to August 2012.
"If anybody thought he lost a step [with that defeat]," said LoPresti, "I'm sorry for them. He's a real special horse."
Richard Hughes, who endured a dismal run on Olympic Glory, said: "I was going as fast as I could the whole way and I couldn't really fill him up to go again.
"Then he ran on again in the straight. I'd say he could step up to a mile and two furlongs when the ground is not soft.
"He travelled well. It was a tad firm out there because it is riding even firmer today than it was yesterday. Normal ground would be fine. He ran respectably."