Two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan won't run in the upcoming Breeders' Cup because of an ankle injury.
Owner Morton Fink said Monday the injury to Wise Dan's right front fetlock likely occurred during his victory in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 4.
Wise Dan had been preparing to defend his title in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 1. Fink said trainer Charlie LoPresti checked Wise Dan ahead of a scheduled breeze this week and noticed swelling in the horse's ankle. The fracture was confirmed in an X-ray.
''This is not a fracture that can be helped with surgery; he has to heal it on his own,'' said Fink, adding that he has been advised to wait 30 days to see if the horse heals.
''We won't decide if he will return to training until we see if he heals perfectly because he has nothing left to prove,'' Fink said in a statement. ''Wise Dan has accomplished a lot in his career so far, and given us endless joy. We would never want to race him unless he is 100 percent.''
Wise Dan is 4-0 this year after his season was interrupted by colic surgery. He won two Grade 1 races in April and May before the emergency surgery. He won his comeback race at Saratoga in August and then won the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile earlier this month.
Wise Dan has 23 wins in 31 career starts, including 11 Grade 1 wins, and over $7.5 million in earnings.
He would have been a heavy favorite in the BC Mile, while trying to join Goldikova as the only horses to win the same race three years in a row.
Breeders' Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel said he is disappointed Wise Dan won't be able to defend his title.
Pre-entries for the Breeders' Cup will be announced on Oct. 22.