Pollack looking forward to Wisdom Tree's '19 debut
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“She is one of my favorites,” said Pollack, who owns the 4-year-old mare pacer with trainer Jeff Cullipher. “She can race on any sized track, she is handy, she is tough, and she is fast. She is one of those horses that does everything right. It’s hard to not love her.”
Last year, Wisdom Tree won 11 of 18 races, including the Nadia Lobell Stakes and New York Sires Stakes championship, and earned $436,111. On Wednesday she will make her first start of 2019 against eight rivals in the $20,000 open for pacing fillies and mares at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. Wisdom Tree, the 3-1 morning-line favorite, will start from post five with driver Sam Widger.
Pollack and Cullipher had hoped to race Wisdom Tree earlier this month in the Sam “Chip” Noble Memorial at Miami Valley Raceway, but the mare’s return to action was delayed because of illness.
“It took maybe a couple extra weeks to get her back,” Pollack said. “We just took our time. She’s qualified twice and she was sharp in both of those (winning the first in 1:54.1 and the second in 1:52.3, both at Hoosier). She’s refreshed and good and ready to go.”
Wisdom Tree is a daughter of Betterthancheddar out of Wisdom. She was purchased for $28,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Sale. Pollack co-owned Wisdom Tree’s half-brother Rich Wisdom, who was a stakes winner, and her family also includes stakes-winner Allamerican Captor.
As a 2 year old, Wisdom Tree went offstride in three of her first six races, but then had three wins and a second in her last five starts of the campaign. Her only misstep during that span came when she made a break from post eight in the New York SiresStakes final at Yonkers.
She ended her season with a win over 3-year-old fillies in 1:52.4 at Hoosier.
“You could tell she had it in her, she just made a few breaks at the wrong times,” Pollack said. “We kind of knew (after her season finale at Hoosier) that if she matured, she would be something to be reckoned with. Sure enough, she was.”
At 3, Wisdom Tree debuted with a seventh-place finish before reeling off four consecutive victories. The win streak came during a five-month span that saw Wisdom Tree, who spent her time in New York with trainer Ed Hart, capture 11 of 13 starts overall.
After winning the New York Sire Stakes championship, she finished second in a division of the Glen Garnsey Memorial and third in both the Courageous Lady and a division of the Pegasus. The season concluded with a fifth-place finish in a division of the Circle City.
“She cut the mile (in the Garnsey) that went (1):47.3 and it took a lot out of her, I guess,” Pollack said. “The last start at Hoosier she really was tired and told us so. In hindsight, we went a little too far with her. But overall, she was a wonderful horse and it was a fun ride for sure.”
Pollack is hoping for another fun ride this year. Wisdom Tree is staked to several Grand Circuit races, including the Lady Liberty and Golden Girls at te Meadowlands and the Allerage Mare Pace at Red Mile.
“There are some good mares, and good 4-year-old mares out there, so it’s going to be a competitive bunch,” Pollack said. “She’s going to have to step up her game for sure. But if she can compete at a relatively high level, we’ll definitely keep going with her.” (Ken Weingartner/USTA)