Wise Dan Weighs In For Firecracker

Heavy Load for Wise Dan at Churchill

Wise Dan Will Carry 128 lbs in FirecrackerIn Saturday’s $150,000 Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs, reigning Horse of the Year, Wise Dan will face off in a 1 mile turf race carrying 128 lbs. That’s 15 lbs heavier than Dimension, the biggest long shot in the race and 11 lbs heavier than the second favorite in the race, Lea.  Sound a little unfair? Not if you’re “wise” to Wise Dan. The horse racing universe is all a buzz over the weight the super horse will tote this weekend in the Grade 2 Firecracker and many are wondering if he can carry the load. The record for weight carried in the Firecracker and winning belongs to Kitten’s Joy, carrying 124 lbs to the finish in 2005. 4 lbs heavier, Wise Dan is likely to smash this record.

Horse of the Year Heave-Ho!

Wise Dan Horse of the YearPersonally, I don’t think it is going to be an issue. Wise Dan has more than proven his worth as Horse of the Year and is well on his way to capturing that title again this year. He is on a 6 win streak that started in August of last year and the closest anyone has come to catching him was in the Maker’s at Keeneland when he beat Data Link by a length. Of those 6 wins, 5 of them were Grade 1 races and 1 was a Grade 2.  In that race, the Fourstardave Handicap, he beat Corporate Jungle (one of his competitors in the Firecracker) by 5 lengths. If you look at his past performances, “cleared” is the comment used most to describe his wins. Quite simply, Wise Dan is in a league of his own and standing next to the other 7 horses in this race, he appears to be made of gold. When compared to him on the racing form, the comments section for the other horses should read like a line out of the movie, Let It Ride.


“Not In This Lifetime”


But with the added weight, it does give some of the betting public a small shadow of doubt in the son of Wiseman’s Ferry. After all, this is horse racing and anything can happen… well most anything. I believe it was just last week when my dad (Mike Lane, Sr) announced that Dreaming of Julia would have a cake-walk in the Mother Goose and Close Hatches turned that into one big, fat goose egg. 😆 (I’m sure he just loves it when I call him out on this, but to be honest, I felt he was right in his choice. At least he had Close Hatches as the “potential” upset.) So with that being said, I feel it is my duty to look for Wise Dan’s closest competition in the Firecracker and well… try to make something out of a little bit of nothing. 😯

Lea Heavy Burden For Wise Dan?

LeaOf course the safest pick would be Lea. The second favorite at 4-1 morning line odds , Lea’s times look sound and competitive with that of Wise Dan’s. Trained by Albert Stall, Jr. and ridden by Brian Hernandez, Jr., this gelding is in the right hands for a possible upset. His works look really impressive until you look at his :47 handily work at 4 furlongs on June 22nd. Not bad… not bad at all, until you see he was 2nd of 42 horses that day at Keeneland. Of course, Wise Dan was working out that day, too and came in at 46.1 breezing. Still, races are not won by work-outs alone and Lea is the sound bet if you were to bet against Wise Dan.

Go Big or Go Home With Seruni

Corey Lanerie to Ride SeruniBut forget the “sound” bet. If you really want to bet against the powerhouse favorite, you might as well do it in style (and get paid well in the process!) For my long shot play here, I like Seruni. This 6 year old gelding might not look like much when compared to Wise Dan, but some of his times are compatible with all of the horses in the Firecracker, including the favorite. He’ll only be carrying 115 lbs on Saturday and Corey Lanerie will be aboard, who has had the best success with this horse as of late. He also ran second in this race last year behind Guys Reward, both horses beating the favorite, Turallure, in that one. Turallure was only carrying 122 lbs in the 2012 Firecracker and wound up fourth. Turallure was no Wise Dan, but if weight does play a factor, it’s at least food for thought. 🙄





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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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