Successful Dan worked a strong six furlongs over the Keeneland Polytrack June 1 after trainer Charles LoPresti changed his mind about vanning to Churchill Downs due to expected showers and thunderstorms.
LoPresti said they were on their way to Louisville when he decided he didn't want to work Successful Dan on a potentially sloppy track. Instead, the 7-year-old Successful Appeal gelding worked handily in 1:11 3/5 over the all-weather surface at his home base.
"It was about 4:30 in the morning and we were almost to Versailles," LoPresti said. "I heard storms were coming and so we turned around and headed back. I think we made the right call."
Morton Fink's homebred Successful Dan, winner of the Ben Ali (gr. III) at Keeneland in his lone start of the year, is being pointed toward the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill June 15.
"He worked really well and (Keeneland clockers) got him the last quarter in 22 and change," LoPresti said of the multiple graded stakes winner. "He's spot on. He'll have one more work and then he'll run."
LoPresti added that he is unsure whether Successful Dan will have his final tune-up for the Stephen Foster at Keeneland or Churchill Downs.
"I don't know what I'm going to do now that I've got him this close," LoPresti said. "I may work him here (at Keeneland) one more time and then bring him over to Churchill three or four days before the race and gallop him over the track. I'm still undecided."
Successful Dan, the older half brother of defending Horse of the Year Wise Dan, will take on a competitive group of older horses in the Stephen Foster. The field is expected to include Breeders Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Fort Larned and Alysheba Stakes (gr. II) winner Take Charge Indy .
"If (Successful Dan) runs his race, he's going to be tough to beat," LoPresti said.
Pool Play, the 2011 Stephen Foster winner trained by Mark Casse, breezed five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 June 1 over a Churchill main track rated "good."
"He worked really well, but more importantly he galloped out very strong," said assistant trainer Norman Casse. "Everything is on track with him."
Foster contender Golden Ticket , who finished in a dead-heat for the win with Alpha in last year’s Travers Stakes (gr. I), breezed five furlongs at Churchill in 1:01 1/5 when the track was labeled "sloppy." Golden Ticket most recently won an allowance at Churchill Downs May 2.