Wise Dan, Turf Classic, Churchill Downs, 4th May 2013; BC Mile, 2nd November 2013; Maker's 46 Mile, Keeneland, 11th April 2014; Shadwell Turf Mile, Keeneland, 4th October 2014
Trained by Charles LoPresti, Sire: Wiseman's Ferry. Dam: Lisa Danielle
If only 83-year-old Morton Fink had decided to downsize his stable decades earlier. After some four decades in racing, in which he had considerable success with his long-time partner Roy Gottlieb, Fink decided to sell all of his broodmares except the one he named for his granddaughter, Lisa Danielle. He’d bought her for $29,000 as a yearling, and she won just one race, her maiden.
Fink, who inherited a chain of movie theaters from his father and then sold them to a national chain, was way too savvy not to know that breeding her could be a losing proposition, but he did so anyway.
He bred her to Successful Appeal, and was rewarded with Successful Dan. All he’s done is win four graded stakes; set a track record at Churchill Downs, and earn more than $700,000.
For many owners, he would be the horse of a lifetime. For Fink, he would become the second horse people mention when they talk about his stable.
Fink spent a $1,0000 stud fee to bred Lisa Danielle to Wiseman’s Ferry, who had won the Grade III Lone Star Derby. That resulted in Wise Dan, the reigning Horse of the Year who won three Eclipse Awards in 2012 and is undefeated this year.
Fink, a life-long resident of Chicago, was introduced to racing by his mother when she took him to the track. After graduating from Roosevelt University with a degree in business administration, he and a group of friends claimed a horse for $4,000, who did not win a race. A few years later, Fink went partners with Gottlieb, and they called the stable Carelaine Farm, a combination of their wives’ names. Carelaine Farms bred and raced a million dollar mare, Annoconnor, named to honor a deceased employee, and bred Producer, a Group 1 winner in Europe whom was sold in foal to Northern Dancer for $5.25 million in 1983. A decade later, the farm disbanded.
It turns out, Fink was just getting warmed up.