Wise Dan: reigning US Horse of the Year returns to action on FridayPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Lezcano takes over as Wise Dan returns to fray
Preview: USA, Friday 10.13pm BST (live on ATR)
Keeneland: Maker's 46 Mile (Grade 1) 1m, turf, 4yo+
BREEDERS' Cup Mile winner Wise Dan (Charles LoPresti/Jose Lezcano), the reigning US Horse of the Year, has a new rider on Friday when he makes his seasonal debut at Keeneland against four rivals in the Maker's 46 Mile.
Jose Lezcano takes over from the six-year-old's regular rider John Velazquez, who fractured a rib and chipped a bone in his wrist after a spill at Aqueduct on Sunday.
Lezcano rode Wise Dan to a course-and-distance victory in the Shadwell Turf Mile in the autumn, a month before he beat the likes of Animal Kingdom, Excelebration and Moonlight Cloud at the Breeders' Cup.
Wise Dan is a rarity in that he has won high-level races on all three surfaces - dirt, turf and all-weather - and he has long since been the top-rated US performer according to Racing Post Ratings. He was beaten just once in six starts last year when going down by a head as he tried to give 4lb to Ron The Greek in the Stephen Foster Handicap on dirt.
Chief rivals in Friday's $300,000 contest is last year's winner Data Link (Shug McGaughey/Javier Castellano), who gets 3lb from the heavy favourite. Although he was well behind in the Shadwell Turf Mile, he has won his last two starts in lesser Graded company.
Maker's 46 Mile
Ladbrokes: 2-5 Wise Dan, 6 Data Link, 8 Silentio, Mr. Commons, 33 Skyring
Also on Friday
Oaklawn Park: Apple Blossom Hcap (Grade 1) 1m½f, dirt, 4yo+ f/m (12.16am Sat BST)
Four-time Graded stakes winner Grace Hall (Tony Dutrow/Joel Rosario) bids for her second top-level success in this $500,000 contest, where recent Grade 2 victress Summer Applause (Chad Brown/Rajiv Maragh) heads six rivals.