He’s charming. Disarming. Fast. And when he beats other horses, they thank him.
But there’s no denying that two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan is the most popular racehorse in a long time. His fans seem devoted to him not only because he wins so many of his races but because he wears his personality like a stakes race victory cooler.
Watch the stretch run in Saturday's $1 Million Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky. Wise Dan had his head turned when the gate opened, and broke last. Would he ever be able to make up the lost ground? Perhaps he was just trying to make it "interesting".
In the run-up to the 2014 Breeders Cup, America's Best Racing is promoting Wise Dan in a series of parody videos designed for social media sharing. Is Dos Equis quaking in fear? Or is their World's Most Interesting Man likely to show up to ride Wise Dan?
Owned and bred by Morton Fink of Northbrook, Illinois, Wise Dan topped the older horse divisions of American racing in 2012 and 2013, earning rare consecutive Horse of the Year honors.
Perhaps its his non-blue blood pedigree: He is a Kentucky-bred gelded son of Wiseman’s Ferry out of Lisa Danielle by Wolf Power.
Perhaps it’s his down-to-earth, media-friendly trainer, Charlie LoPresti. Perhaps it’s his devastating good looks.
But at a time when racing needs a good front man, it has one. His hashtag #WiseDanWednesday may be trending nationally yet.
Wise Dan doesn’t always have a clear path to the winner’s circle. He was featured in the Jurga Report this summer when he was recovering from colic surgery. He returned to racing in September, winning at Saratoga and his dramatic victory over an impressive lineup of challengers at Keeneland in Saturday's $1 Million Shadwell Turf Mile adds to his unblemished victory record for 2014.
He's used the Shadwell Turf Mile the past two years as his warmup for two consecutive victories in the Breeders Cup Mile. Last year, rain forced the Shadwell Turf Mile to be moved to Keeneland's Polytrack surface, and Wise Dan had to bypass the winner's circle on his way back to the barn.
Oh well, that just made things a bit more interesting.
And at the end of October, should Wise Dan be at Santa Anita for the 2014 Breeders Cup, television ratings will be up just by his mere presence. Because people who don’t even follow racing follow Wise Dan.
He's that interesting.