Nelson McMakin’s Pleuven earned his first graded stakes victory in Saturday night’s Grade 2 Wise Dan Stakes, crossing the wire with a three-quarter-length advantage. The 5-year-old gelded son of Turtle Bowl covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.96 for trainer Phil Sims, after splitting horses mid-stretch under Channing Hill.
Wise Dan was on-hand to greet the runners of the race named in his honor. He paraded the paddock with them prior to the race.
Prominently placed early on, Pleuven and Hill settled in third, covering up behind the leaders. Kasagui strode out to a one-length lead, followed intently by Za Approval through a first quarter in :23.81. Easing back a bit, Kasagui made the half-mile mark in :48.31 as Potomac River made a middle move between horses. Fan favorite The Pizza Man was last early, nearly eight lengths off the early leaders.
Rounding the turn for home, Kasagui held a one-length lead over Pleuven, who had to force his way up the inside of Za Approval. Bulling through an opening, Pleuven exploded late to take the Wise Dan by three-quarters of a length over Kasagui. Thatcher Street, who’d beaten Pleuven last time the pair met, finished on to be third, and The Pizza Man finished strongly but too late and had to settle for fourth.
Bred in France by Jean De Cheffontaines, Pleuven began his career there as a 2-year-old. Transferred to the US near the end of that first season, he was graded stakes placed in his first start at Gulfstream Park. A lengthy one-year break from March of 2015 to April of 2016 followed, and just three starts later Pleuven is a Grade 2 winner. Overall, the gelding’s career record stands at 5 wins from 11 starts, with earnings of over $ 265,000.
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