Four contenders for the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (gr. I), including top-weighted Successful Dan, worked June 8 for the upcoming 1 1/8-mile race at Churchill Downs.
Alysheba Stakes (gr. II) winner Take Charge Indy led the Churchill Downs worktable, zipping a bullet half mile in :47 flat approaching the June 15 Stephen Foster.
Morton Fink's 7-year-old homebred Successful Dan, winner of the Ben Ali (gr. III) in his lone start of the year, breezed a half-mile on the Polytrack at Keeneland in :48 2/5. The worked ranked 20th of 66 at the distance.
"He worked well and galloped out really strong," trainer Charlie LoPresti said. "He was hard to pull up after the work because he wanted to do more and we wouldn't let him do more than that. We didn't want to go fast today. We just wanted :12s at every pole and he couldn't have done it any better.
"He cooled out really well and now it's just a matter of keeping him happy till the race."
Horse of the Year Wise Dan was assigned the top weight of 125 pounds by racing secretary Ben Huffman for the Stephen Foster but is being pointed to the Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT).
Successful Dan and 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Fort Larned were each assigned 121 pounds to top the Foster weight assignments for those likely to start.
LoPresti said Successful Dan, who will be ridden in the Foster by Julien Leparoux, was to van to Churchill Downs later in the afternoon to school with horses in the paddock for race 5.
Successful Dan, a Successful Appeal gelding, brings an 8-2-1 mark with earnings of $746,608 into his next start.
Exercise rider Johnny Byrne was aboard Take Charge Indy, who began his four-furlong work at the three-eighths pole and crossed the wire in :34 2/5 before completing the work in :47 and galloping out five furlongs in 1:01 2/5.
"Johnny did a great job of putting a little speed back into the big fella," trainer Pat Byrne said. "I wanted to put a little air into him today and we've got him ready for next Saturday. He's training as good, if not better, for this race as he did for the Alysheba."
WinStar Farm and Chuck and Maribeth Sandford own the 4-year-old son of A.P. Indy out of multiple grade I winner Take Charge Lady. Last year's Florida Derby (gr. I) winner has a 3-4-2 record from 12 starts. He was assigned 119 pounds for the Foster.
"He went slow because he's smart," Byrne said. "The track was empty and he likes to chase a horse because he's competitive."
Also working at Churchill Downs for the Stephen Foster were 2011 Stephen Foster winner Pool Play and Golden Ticket , who finished in a dead-heat for the win with Alpha in last year's Travers Stakes (gr. I). Pool Play breezed five furlongs in 1:01 1/5. Golden Ticket went the same distance in 1:00 4/5.
Weighted below Fort Larned and Successful Dan at 120 pounds is defending Stephen Foster winner Ron the Greek, most recently third in the Charles Town Classic (gr. II) for trainer Bill Mott.
Golden Ticket and Pool Play were assigned 117 and 115, respectively.
Champion Royal Delta, assigned top weight of 125 pounds for the Fleur de Lis Handicap Presented by Etihad Airways (gr. II) on the Foster program, and stablemate Ron the Greek are expected to arrive at Churchill Downs June 9 following a flight from New York.
Royal Delta won the Fleur de Lis Handicap last year by eight lengths and Ron the Greek defeated Horse of the Year Wise Dan by a head in the Stephen Foster.