Wise Dan wins Clark Handicap by 33/4 lengths

Wise Dan beat Mission Impazible by 33/4 lengths to win the 137th

running of the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Friday,

avenging a tough loss by his older brother in last year’s Grade 1

race.

Wise Dan tracked early leader Will’s Wildcat in third under

jockey John Velazquez. When the pacesetter faded in the turn, Wise

Dan rolled down the middle of the stretch to overtake Mission

Impazible in the final furlong, covering the 1 1/8 miles in

1:48.95.

Wise Dan paid $11, $6 and $4.20. Mission Impazible returned $7

and $5.40. Flat Out, favored in the field of 13, was third and paid

$3.20.

Wise Dan, the 4-year-old son of Wiseman’s Ferry, is trained by

Charles Lopresti and owned and bred by Morton Fink.

Last year, half brother Successful Dan was dropped from first to

third for bumping Redding Colliery entering the stretch, giving

Giant Oak the victory. Owned and trained by the same connections,

Successful Dan has missed all of 2011 with a suspensory ligament

injury.

“Surely they won’t take this one down,” Lopresti said. “I was

really disappointed last year. I just didn’t understand why they

took his number down, but they saw it that way and I have to

respect their opinion.”

Velazquez said the victory Friday was just as easy as it

looked.

“When I got to the quarter-pole he took off and moved so

smoothly,” the jockey said. “He was very confident in himself.”

Riding the horse for the first time, the two-time Eclipse

Award-winning Velazquez picked up the ride for regular jockey

Julien Leparoux, who had another commitment in California.

Velazquez won this year’s Kentucky Derby aboard Animal Kingdom

after regular rider Robby Albarado broke his nose earlier that week

when a horse reared in the post parade.

“I like these pickup mounts. It worked out perfect,” Velazquez

said.

Wise Dan concludes his 2011 season with graded stakes wins on

dirt, synthetic and turf surfaces after winning the Fayette (G2) at

Keeneland in his last outing and Firecracker (G2) on the turf at

Churchill on July 4. His career record now stands at eight wins

from 14 career starts. He also won the Presque Isle Downs Mile on

Sept. 9.

Wise Dan added the $326,554 winner’s share of the $572,000 purse

to his bankroll, boosting his lifetime earnings to $919,601.

The race did little to sort out annual awards for champion

3-year-old and older males. Belmont winner Ruler on Ice was third

and Flat Out fifth in the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Classic; a win by

either would have bolstered their credentials for divisional

honors. Ruler on Ice was fifth in the Clark.

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