Wise Dan retired after tear discovered on tendon

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September 7th, 2015

Two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan, who was expected to make his return from an 11-month layoff in next Sunday's C$1 million Woodbine Mile (G1), has been forced out of the race and off the track for good after a tear on his tendon was found Monday morning.

"He'd been training lights out. But, we noticed some filling in his tendon this morning when we were giving him a bath," trainer Charlie LoPresti said. "The vet suggested we scan it and it turns out he has a tear on the outside edge of his tendon."

"[Owner Morton] Fink and I talked about it and we've all decided he should be retired at this age. There's no point trying to bring him back again. I expect he'll retire to our farm here in Kentucky. He'll be turned out with his brother Successful Dan."

An ankle injury was discovered following Wise Dan's last victory, the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland in October 2014, which necessitated his withdrawal from Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) consideration. Wise Dan was aiming for his third straight win in the race at Santa Anita.

"He has a perfect ankle now. We've radio graphed it many times to be sure and there's not even a hint of an issue with the ankle," LoPresti said. "We're not sure how it happened. We were four days away from shipping up to Woodbine and he had trained like a monster this morning. He never took a bad step, it was just something I noticed while giving him a bath."

An eight-year-old by Wiseman's Ferry, Wise Dan retires with a mark of 31-23-2-0, $7,552,920. He will long be considered one of the best geldings of all time as his talents extended far beyond what he had become most noted for -- as a great turf miler.

In addition to his Breeders' Cup Mile scores, Wise Dan also captured two editions each of the Woodbine Mile, Shadwell Turf Mile, Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1), Maker's 46 Mile (G1), Fourstardave H. (G2), and Firecracker H. (G2). His other grass stakes win occurred in last year's Bernard Baruch H. (G2).

Wise Dan also won on dirt, in the Clark H. (G1) at Churchill Downs, and on Keeneland's old synthetic Polytrack in the Fayette (G2), Phoenix (G3), and Ben Ali (G3). His lone non-graded stakes score came in the Presque Isle Mile.

Wise Dan was voted Horse of the Year in 2012 and 2013, and won divisional titles as champion turf male and champion older male in both years. His chances at a third consecutive title in all three categories were dashed following his injury last year. Main Sequence completed a perfect four-for-four season in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) and won both the turf male and older male titles.

Wise Dan's unexpected retirement is an especially difficult ones for Kentucky racing fans as this year's Breeders' Cup is being held at Keeneland, Wise Dan's home track where he enjoyed so much success.

"We were trying to get to the Breeders' Cup and we thought Woodbine was the perfect place to get started," Lopresti said. "We were so excited about coming up [to Woodbine] but it wasn't meant to be."

(Wise Dan photo: Keeneland/Coady Photography)