Trainer Charles Lopresti loaded Morton Fink's multiple grade II stakes winner Successful Dan onto a van the morning of July 28, bound from Saratoga Race Course for Lexington and an appointment with Dr. Larry Bramlage at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital.
A filling in Successful Dan's left front pastern has knocked the 6-year-old son of Successful Appeal out of the $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap (gr. I) Aug. 4, but Lopresti is hoping the injury will not be career-ending.
"I've been watching it, and it won't go down, and it's a place where he had an injury in '09 as a 3-year-old," Lopresti said. "He's not lame or anything; he's been on the track every day. Even if it's just a strain, we don't want to take a chance like that. It's sad; it's unfortunate. He's been plagued with nagging injuries all his life, and we haven't seen the best of him."
Successful Dan finished second in the June 30 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (gr. III) last out, and won the May 4 Alysheba Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs after taking an optional claimer at Keeneland April 6. He did not race in 2011, but was third in the Clark Handicap (gr. I) in 2010 after winning the Greenbrier Fayette Stakes (gr. II).
Successful Dan underwent an ultrasound examination that came up clean, Lopresti said, and will receive further testing at Rood & Riddle.
"There is no tear," the trainer remarked. "Dr. Bramlage, we sent everything to him. He knows that horse inside out and upside down. He's got all the records. He knows everything about that horse. If there's any chance to bring him back, he'll tell me.
"I jogged [Successful Dan] on the track this morning, and he was full of himself. With a horse of that caliber, you have to be careful. To win a race like the Whitney, you have to be 100 percent. It's a really sad day for us."