Our country's rising turf stars will take the
stage in Saturday's $300K Wise Dan
Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs. They are a competitive bunch, as we shall
see in a moment,
But first things first, how about some
background knowledge of the stakes race in question?
Before it was the Wise Dan Stakes, it was
formerly run as the Firecracker Stakes (G2). And WISE DAN won it twice: in 2011
WISE DAN was an outstanding turf specialist.
He won eleven Grade 1 races. He won the Breeder's Cup Mile (G1) twice. He even
won the Clark Stakes (G1), which was contested on the dirt.
A simple google search will verify that he was
the first horse to win the same three Eclipse Awards—Horse of the Year,
Champion Older Male, Champion Male Turf Horse—for two consecutive years.
Well, we've got ten entrants competing on
Saturday in honor of Wise Dan's name, and you never know—a turf star may be
born from this race and have it named after him! There's only one way to find
out: race and win.
Let's look at the field and three potential
10: $300K Wise Dan Stakes (G2)
Post Time is 5:26 PM ET.
- SET PIECE
- SUPER SOL
- RIDE A COMET
- FIELD PASS
- IN LOVE
First candidate is SET PIECE from the one-hole
for trainer Brad Cox. He's a five-year-old son of DANSILI who is stepping up in
class, but strung together two wins in a row. Those wins were over this
Churchill Downs grass, though a bit softer going.
He closed well despite the slow fractions put
before him. They went :49 flat for a half-mile in a one-mile race, and he
closed triumphantly to a length and a half win.They went :24 for an opening
quarter in an 8.5 furlong race, and he won by four lengths. His mind is on
He's likely to come from off the pace again,
with regular rider Florent Geroux onboard—who wins with closers at a decent
rate that approaches 20%.
SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN seeks his first Grade 1
victory for trainer Michael Maker. Hasn't had great success in his tries at
Churchill Downs, but we can't deny his competitiveness.
This son of BIG BROWN comes off a Grade 2
victory in the Dinner Party Stakes during Preakness Stakes Saturday. He figures
to be the lone speed of the race, which is dangerous when he's got more class
than his rivals to step up with!
Jose Ortiz piloted him last time out and is
back again. We also can't ignore that in 6 tries at this 8.5-9 furlong
distance, he's got 3 wins and 3 seconds.
Can we make the case for a potential price
horse? How about HIERARCHY for trainer Joe Sharp, who is stepping up in class.
He breaks from the five-hole with jockey Adam Beschizza in the irons. This will
be his second graded stakes attempt; he finished sixth in his first attempt.
But what's interesting is that on paper, his
last Optional Claiming 80k victory at Churchill Downs was sneakily
competitive—as competitive as SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN's last race: the Grade 2
Dinner Party. Yet HIERARCHY succeeded in his assignment off a seven month layoff.
He also appears to have developed an affinity for Churchill Downs: 2 wins and 1
third from 3 total tries. With this being his second race off a layoff, he
could be sitting on a big one. Look out!
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