Arlington Million scouting report: Wake Forest

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

August 13th, 2015

Wake Forest is a lightly-raced multiple Group 3 winner in his native Germany. That resume implies that he’ll need to step up from what he’s achieved so far, but he has the connections (both human and pedigree) to offer hope of better.

From the yard of Andreas Wohler, who trained 2001 Arlington Million (G1) star Silvano, Wake Forest won his first two career starts, including Germany’s richest race for two-year-olds (a conditions event for Baden sales alumni). He thus merited favoritism in his sophomore bow in the 2013 Dr Busch Memorial (G3), only to wind up a subpar fourth.

According to, Wake Forest had “slipped at home” prior to the Busch Memorial. He exited the race worse for wear, and lost the rest of the season to injury.

Sidelined for nearly 15 months, Wake Forest returned triumphant in a Compiegne conditions race last July. A further two-month break ensued, and he made another cross-border raid to capture a similar event at Longchamp.

Now Wake Forest was ready to try German Group 3 company in the Preis der Deutschen Einheit at Berlin’s Hoppegarten. Under a well-timed move by regular rider Eddie Pedroza, he forged clear:


His burgeoning streak was halted when a flat sixth in the Baden Wurttemberg Trophy (G3). Wheeling back on just 16 days’ rest, for a horse used to longer gaps, might have been a factor.

Wake Forest was put away for the winter. After a fifth in his mile prep, he ventured to Rome for his first Group 1 assignment, the May 10 Premio Presidente della Repubblica.

Wohler told that he had good place chances, and his assessment was spot on as his pupil finished third.

Observe that Wake Forest didn’t really stride out or level off. Indeed, he seemed to wander a little as though feeling Capannelle’s firmish ground (as evidenced by a 10-furlong final time of 1:59.50). But he showed a good attitude to keep trying:


Of course, that’s some way below the form required here. Runner-up Magic Artist provides a direct tie-in to the Million: he was only fifth in the Manhattan (G1) behind Slumber, Big Blue Kitten and Legendary, and that’s cause for concern.

Next time, Wake Forest regained the winning thread with a smooth rally in the July 3 Hamburg Trophy (G3):


Had Wake Forest stayed in Germany for a Group 1 attempt in the July 26 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis at Munich, he would have had less spacing between races.

Wohler’s website describes the Million as “a slightly more daring option,” so the trainer is as realistic as ever. Still, if you’ve got a smart 1 1/4-mile specialist like Wake Forest, it’s worth a shot. And significantly for a German horse, he's adding Lasix.

What’s also clear is that Wake Forest is a bit of a character. While the language barrier is overcome to some degree by Google Translate, I’m still missing a good deal of the nuance of their jests about him.

By Sir Percy, Wake Forest is out of a half-sister to German champion Wurftaube, dam of German Derby (G1) winner Waldpark and ancestress of St Leger (G1) winner Masked Marvel.

Bonus: If you’ve got 13 minutes to immerse yourself in a lovely day at Hoppegarten, from the perspective of Wake Forest, watch this.


Photo courtesy of trainer Andreas Wohler's website,