By Ben Everill
ARCADIA, California (Reuters) - America's top-ranked horse Wise Dan bolted to a sizzling victory in the $2million Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, posting a track record on the way to his fourth consecutive win.
Wise Dan broke from the pack on the home straight and held off 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom by a length and a half, covering the mile in 1:31.78 to beat the track record set in 1997 by Atticus by .11 seconds.
The new mark was all the more impressive given Atticus carried 117 pounds while Wise Dan was lugging 126 pounds.
Irish gelding Obviously took out third in a photo finish from highly fancied fellow Irish colt Excelebration who could not live up to his tag as the world's number two rated horse.
It was Wise Dan's 13th win from just 20 starts and the ninth victory in his last 11 races.
"I just wanted to get him in the right position," jockey John Velazquez said. "When I was able to do that, and you've got a horse as good as this, you can expect a result like this."
The result gave trainer Charles Lopresti his first Breeders' Cup win, sweet revenge after losing the Mile in 2011 with Turallure by a short nose to 64-1 shot Court Vision.
"He's just a dream come true, you work all your life to get a horse like this," Lopresti said.
"I never had any doubts. I was just a little concerned about how the race would shape up.
"It was hard last year but I wasn't disappointed in my horse, he ran a good race.
"He didn't get the best trip in the world as everybody knows and to come and now win this race is incredible. It eases the pain.
"Every time I do something with him (Wise Dan) he amazes me and I've tried not to work him too often and too fast."
Wise Dan has been ranked number one in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's weekly national poll since October and will now likely firm given Game On Dude's failure in the Classic, giving him a leg up for Horse of the Year honors.
"I think he's accomplished an awful lot on every surface you put him on," owner Morton Fink said.
"He's won with records over different surfaces and there is not a lot of horses that do that."
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)