Trainer Charles Lopresti will saddle Wise Dan in Sunday's $1 million Woodbine Mile in an attempt to win the stakes a second straight year. Wise Dan will take on eight rivals in the grass event.
"Turallure was impressive in winning the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile, before losing by a nose to 2010 Woodbine Mile winner Court Vision in the Breeders' Cup Mile," Woodbine director of racing Steve Lym said earlier. Turallure won last year's Mile by a neck at odds of better than 6-1 for Lopresti.
The winner of the Woodbine Mile, a "Win and You're In" event, will be entitled to automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 3.
Wise Dan, owned by Morton Fink, will start from post three with regular rider John Velazquez and is the 6-5 morning line favorite. The Hall of Fame jockey has two previous Mile wins with Riviera (2000) and Leroidesanimaux (2005).
"It's an incredible turf course," said Lopresti. "I couldn't believe it the first time I looked down that stretch. It's pretty neat. I know Johnny knows it well, I just hope Wise Dan realizes how long he has to run down the lane and saves it for the quarter pole home."
A 5-year-old chestnut gelding, Wise Dan will be making just his second start on the turf this year and fourth in his career. He won the Fourstardave last month on Saratoga's turf course after winning the Ben Ali at Keeneland and finishing second in Churchill Downs' Stephen Foster. Last year on the turf he won the Firecracker at Churchill and was fourth at Keeneland in the Shadwell Mile.
"I liked him from way before the first time we ran him," noted Lopresti. "He'd been showing brilliance in the morning. I really thought he would win first time out and I was a little disappointed that he didn't, but then we brought him back and he broke his maiden by 15 lengths and the rest was history."
A winner on three different surfaces, Wise Dan has earned nearly $1.4 million with 10 victories in 17 career starts.
"I do think he is better on synthetic and grass but he's pretty good on the dirt as well...and an off track," said Lopresti.
Here is the complete Mile field from the rail out: Riding the River, Patrick Husbands, 10-1; Dance And Dance, Garrett Gomez, 12-1; Wise Dan, John Velazquez, 6-5; Artic Fern, Justin Stein, 20-1; Big Band Sound, Tyler Pizarro, 6-1; Hunters Bay, Emma-Jayne Wilson, 15-1; Cityscape, James Doyle, 5-2; Hollinger, Alex Solis, 20-1 and Worthadd, Luis Contreras, 8-1.
Supporting the Woodbine Mile will be the $500,000 Northern Dancer at 1 1/2- miles on the grass. Eight have been entered with 10-year-old Musketier topping the field.
Trained by Roger Attfield, Musketier will be ridden by John Velazquez from post six. The Hall of Fame trainer will also start Forte Dei Marmi who will break from post five with Alex Solis in the saddle.
In post position order here is the field for the Northern Dancer: Celtic Conviction, Jesse Campbell; Ojibway Signal, Luis Contreras; Al Khali, Garrett Gomez; Scalo, Umberto Rispoli; Forte Dei Marmi, Alex Solis; Musketier, John Velazquez; Wigmore Hall, Jamie Spencer and Irish Mission, Justin Stein.