Reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan makes his final start before the Breeders’ Cup as the 2-5 heavy favorite in Saturday’s $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), and it may not be wise to go against him despite the short price.
However, I have not met too many 2-5 shots I really like, so I am going to s take small stab we can beat the gelding, who is looking to win his tenth consecutive race.
The Charles LoPresti trainee is taking the same route as he did last year, where he won the Fourstardave (G2), Woodbine Mile (G1), Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) to clinch Horse of the Year honors.
He is perfect in five starts this year, winning the Makers 46 Mile (G1), Woodard Reserve Turf Classic (G1), Firecracker Handicap (G2) followed by the Fourstardave and Woodbine Mile.
A win on Saturday followed by a repeat in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) puts him in line to repeat as Horse of the Year, but Game on Dude will have a say in the matter if he is able to cap off his campaign by winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), something he failed to do last year as the betting favorite.
Game On Dude is perfect in five starts this year, with three Grade 1 wins and a pair of Grade 2 victories.
Some in the press have been critical of the campaign of Wise Dan, hoping we would see the gelding on conventional dirt, and some of those criticizing his connections are Eclipse voters, which could tilt the scales toward Game On Dude if they both win out.
First Wise Dan has to get by a field of nine breaking from the 10 post in Saturday’s Shadwell Turf Mile. He is coming into the race in as good a form as last year, but do we really want to back him at 2-5?
I am going to take a small stab against him with Winning Prize and also I am going to take a small flyer that we can beat Groupie Doll, who figures to be a similar puny price when she takes on five foes in the Thoroughbred Club of America (G1), a race she won last year as her final prep before winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
All of the stakes action from Keeneland and Belmont Park is included in today’s Best Plays Report.
Let’s head out to Keeneland for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Keeneland Race 9 The Shadwell Turf Mile G1 (Post time 5:30 ET)
1 Winning Prize 6-1
10 Wise Dan 2-5
9 Silver Max 6-1
5 Summer Front 20-1
Analysis: Winning Prize won three Group1 races in Argentina and now makes his second start since coming to the U.S. and landing with the Neil Drysdale barn. The colt came off an eight month layoff with a gate to wire score against $100,000 optional claimers in fast time. The winner up was Chips All In. who came back to win the Eddie D (G3) in his next outing on Sept. 27 at Santa Anita Park. Now he gets a real class test running into reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan, but he figures to move forward second off the bench and is going to offer more value than the chalk. He draws the rail and needs to avoid getting into an early speed duel, but it will be a lot more fun dropping a few on this guy if we catch most of the 6-1 morning line.
Wise Dan has won nine in a row including this race last year. His Woodbine Mile (G1) last out was a solid looking effort and he still had plenty left in the tank in the stretch. He is the obvious one to beat here but tough to get excited about backing him at 2-5. He has enough tactical speed to overcome the outside post and will be tough here in his final prep for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).
Silver Max took the field gate to wire to win the Bernard Baruch (G1) last out at Belmont Park over yielding footing. He was ninth in this race last year and also finished behind Wise Dan in the Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. The colt owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and will be the one to catch.
WIN: #1 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 1,10 / 1,5,9,10
TRI: 1,10 / 1,5,9,10 / 1,5,6,9,10
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