For months now, American horse racing fans have wondered what it would be like if Frankel came to the United States for the Breeders Cup. Obviously that isn’t going to happen, but the presence of Excelebration might be the next best thing. This strapping four-year old bay colt has won 8 for 14 lifetime starts, and has amassed over $2.5 million dollars in earnings. His biggest claim to fame, however, may be his runner-up finishes to the Frankel. The mighty Frankel has beaten Excelebration by an average of just over five lengths in four starts against each other, showing that Excelebration has proven to be no match for the great beast. If not for Frankel, Excelebration could be rolling into Santa Anita on an EIGHT race win streak.
Speaking of winning streaks, from the Red White, and Blue corner comes a horse that’s won three races in a row coming into this colossal showdown. Wise Dan could possibly be America’s best turf miler in years, as his last three races have all been at that distance over the turf. Like Excelebration, his earnings exceed $2 million dollars, and he’s won 12 of 19 lifetime races. All three of his latest victories have been in blowout fashion, and all three have come against graded stakes company. In mid-June Wise Dan was rated as the number one older male in the country by many, but suffered a nose loss in the Stephen Foster at Churchill on the dirt. The loss sparked the move back to turf, and they haven’t looked back since. While Excelebration brings a lot of unknown factors to American handicapers, there aren’t many unknown’s to us when it comes to Wise Dan. Simply put: He’s really good.
So with the greatest miler in the world retired, is it fair to say that these two are the next best thing? I certainly believe so, and to me this race overshadows the Classic itself. This is your true “Classic” of the Breeders Cup. The story lines and drama are everywhere. The constant America vs. Europe rivalry has never meant more than it does in this race. If Wise Dan was to beat Excelebration by multiple lengths, the Wise Dan vs. Frankel debate would live on forever. If Excelebration was to beat Wise Dan by multiple lengths, Frankel’s status becomes that much more legendary. What if they are only separated by a nose? What would this mean in the grand scheme of things? When European horses make the trip across the pond you never fully know how they will handle the different racing conditions, which even further leads to the suspense and build up of this race.
It’s going to truly be one for the ages. While many sports fans have probably never heard of these two horses, you can bet horse racing fans are losing sleep just thinking about this race. Forget the betting aspect for a second, this is one of those races where you don’t need a wager on the race to be interested. When they gates open for this one, you can bet the next minute and a half will be nothing short of spectacular. It may not be the final race on Saturday, but make no mistake…this is the main event of the Breeders Cup.