After Wise Dan and Successful Dan turned in separate Saturday breezes at Saratoga Race Course, trainer Charles LoPresti said he now has a better idea of where he'll run the half-brothers during the 2013 race meet.
Reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan remains on course for a title defense in the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap on August 10, while Successful Dan is now under consideration for the Grade 1, $750,000, Whitney Invitational Handicap on August 3, according to LoPresti, who trains the geldings for Morton Fink.
Exercise rider Damien Rock was aboard for both workouts, with Wise Dan breezing four furlongs in 51.24 seconds over a main track labeled “good” and Successful Dan earning a bullet for his five-furlong breeze in 1:00.61 after the track had been upgraded to “fast.”
Successful Dan, a four-time graded stakes winner, was fourth in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap on June 15 at Churchill Downs in his most recent start.
“I was really on the fence what to do with [Successful Dan] after he got up here,” said LoPresti of the 7-year-old. “His race in the Foster was kind of a question. He had never been beat at Churchill. A lot of those horses didn't show up that night. [The winner] Fort Larned ran a great race, but the rest of the horses – Ron the Greek and Take Charge Indy – didn't run their races. Royal Delta didn't run her race over that track [when second that night in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap]. [Jockey Julien Leparoux] told me [Successful Dan] was having trouble getting hold of the ground, so I drew a line through [the race].”
Successful Dan's breeze Saturday impressed LoPresti sufficiently for the trainer to consider the Whitney. The trainer had hoped to run Successful Dan in the Whitney last year before the gelding was forced to miss the race with a strained XYZ ligament.
“That was our plan last year, but it went south on us because of injuries,” said LoPresti. “This horse has been plagued by injuries that keep him from being the same caliber as Wise Dan.”
LoPresti spoke in glowing terms when describing Wise Dan's breeze.
“We didn't go fast by design,” said LoPresti. “Damien said he just held onto him the whole way. He was really strong galloping out and going down the backside. [Wise Dan] wanted to do more, obviously. He's dead fit off those races. We'll probably take him over to the grass, maybe next week, and work him one time for the Fourstardave.”
Wise Dan, a 6-year-old, has won seven straight races, a streak that began with last year's Fourstardave and includes the 2012 Breeders' Cup Mile. The streak briefly appeared in jeopardy last time out in the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap on June 29 at Churchill Downs when Wise Dan was shut off before he squeezed through along the inside en route to a two-length win.
“I don't have to prove anything or chase anybody,” said LoPresti. “Now I got him where I want him. If he can repeat what he did last year, I don't have to win a Grade 1 on the dirt with him.”
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