LEXINGTON, Ky., April 12 (UPI) -- Wise Dan, the reigning U.S. Horse of the Year, scored an easy win Friday in his first race since winning the Breeders' Cup Mile last fall.
Wise Dan, eager to run, took over the lead in the $300,000, Grade I Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland when turned loose on the turn by jockey Jose Lezcano. He won by 1 length over Data Link.
Mr. Commons was 2 lengths farther back in third as the 1 mile on firm turf went in 1:36.37.
Wise Dan, a 7-year-old gelding by Wiseman's Ferry, has won eight of his last nine races and nine of his last 12 -- a string dating back nearly two years.
The wins include last November's Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita, in which he held off Animal Kingdom, the winner of last month's $10 million Dubai World Cup, to sew up Horse of the Year honors.
"People asked me earlier, 'What horse do you fear?'" said winning trainer Charles Lopresti. "I fear the layoff the most. I didn't crank him as tight as he needed to be for this race. Turning for home, I hoped he was going to win, but I knew he might get a little tired. He kicked in on heart alone."
Lopresti said he is targeting the Breeders' Cup again and might return Wise Dan to the dirt for his next start in the Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap June 15 at Churchill Downs. That 9-furlongs event is the only race Wise Dan lost last year, finishing second to Ron the Greek after a rough trip.