The inaugural $175,000 Homecoming Classic Sept. 28 at Churchill Downs still has Janis Whitham's reigning Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) and Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) winner Fort Larned at the top, but fellow handicap contender Successful Dan will bypass the race.
Trainer Charlie LoPresti said Sept. 21 that Morton Fink's 7-year-old Successful Appeal gelding, a half brother to reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan, will probably be pointed to the Oct. 28 Hagyard Fayette Stakes (gr. II) on Polytrack at Keeneland on closing day of the Lexington oval's fall meet.
LoPresti will be represented in the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up by allowance winner Windswept, who races for the Estate of Elaine Klein, Richard Klein and Bertram Klein. He said he sees the Churchill race as a good opportunity for Windswept, a 5-year-old homebred son of Arch who is coming off an impressive 9 1/4-length allowance victory at Saratoga Race Course.
Windswept's only previous stakes experience was a fourth-place run behind Wilburn in the 2011 Indiana Derby (gr. II) at Hoosier Park when he was trained by Steve Margolis.
Windswept has a 2-0-1 record in four starts since he moved to LoPresti's barn, and the Saratoga win was preceded by an allowance victory at Churchill, where he has won two of three career starts.
"He's awful good right now," LoPresti said via telephone from his training base at Keeneland. "I don't know if he's good enough to beat Fort Larned, but we're going to find out."
The career record of the Klein homebred stands at 3-1-1 in eight races with earnings of $167,296.
The rest of the Homecoming Classic field continues to take shape. One horse listed as "possible" is Magic City Thoroughbred Partners' Golden Ticket, the dead-heat winner of the 2012 Travers (gr. I) and runner-up to Fort Larned in the Foster.
The Ken McPeek trainee breezed a half-mile in :49.80 over a sloppy track on the morning of Sept. 21 at Churchill. The work by the 4-year-old son of Speightstown ranked 14th among the day's 28 moves at the distance.
McPeek's other possible option for Golden Ticket is the $250,000 Awesome Again (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park, which shares the Homecoming Classic's Sept. 28 running date.
"He's not definite for the Homecoming Classic," McPeek said. "We're still looking at the California race, but we're leaning this way."
McPeek said the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita remains the long-term goal for Golden Ticket.
McPeek's star has earned $896,323 and has fashioned a career record of 5-5-3 in 18 races.
Others considered "likely" or "possible" for the Homecoming Classic include William Farish Jr.'s 2011 Stephen Foster Handicap winner Pool Play, Zayat Stables' multiple graded stakes winner Prayer for Relief, and Jay Em Ess Stable's Worldly.
Entries for the Homecoming Classic will be drawn Sept. 22.