09/19/2013 10:45AM

Churchill Downs: Successful Dan possible for Homecoming Classic

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Barbara D. Livingston
Successful Dan may make his next start in the $175,000 Homecoming Classic at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Successful Dan has joined the prospective lineup for the $175,000 Homecoming Classic at Churchill Downs, further enhancing the outlook for a race that already has Fort Larned and Golden Ticket as starters for its inaugural running next Saturday night, Sept. 28.

Trainer Charlie LoPresti said Thursday from Keeneland that “there’s a pretty good chance” Successful Dan will run in the Homecoming, for which entries will be taken Sunday.

“We’re between this new race at Churchill and just waiting for the Fayette,” he said, referring to a Grade 2 race Oct. 26 over the Polytrack at Keeneland. “Maybe even both, I don’t know yet.”

LoPresti, best known as the trainer of 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan, also will run Windswept for the Klein family stable in the 1 1/8-mile Homecoming. Morton Fink bred and owns half-brothers Successful Dan and Wise Dan.

Successful Dan and Fort Larned, the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, are very familiar rivals. They have raced against each other four times already, with each finishing ahead of the other twice. Their latest clash came in the Aug. 3 Whitney at Saratoga, with Successful Dan finishing second and Fort Larned fifth as the 6-5 favorite.

The Whitney was the most recent race for Fort Larned, but Successful Dan ran four weeks later in the Woodward at Saratoga, finishing third behind Alpha and Flat Out. Fort Larned was entered in the Woodward but was scratched with what trainer Ian Wilkes described as a hind-end issue.

Successful Dan, a 7-year-old gelding, has won 8 of 15 starts for earnings of $998,154. One of the best races of his career came in the 2011 Clark Handicap at Churchill, where he finished first but was disqualified to third in a controversial decision.

“The Woodward took a little more out of him than I would’ve liked, which is part of the reason I’m kind of hesitant to commit to this Churchill race,” LoPresti said.

Fort Larned was confirmed earlier in the week for the Homecoming, the richest and only newly created stakes at the 12-day September meet. Wilkes said the 5-year-old horse probably will have a final breeze for the race Monday at Churchill.

Golden Ticket, a dead-heat winner of the 2012 Travers Stakes and an earner of nearly $900,000, is coming off a blowout victory as a 1-10 favorite in the July 27 Prairie Meadows Mile. Ken McPeek trains.

Meanwhile, from the East, Hymn Book has been dropped from consideration for the Homecoming by trainer Shug McGaughey, while trainer Chad Brown said “it’s doubtful” he will enter Last Gunfighter, a winner of 7 of his last 8.

The Homecoming will be part of a Downs After Dark program that also will include the $100,000 Jefferson Cup, the only turf stakes of a meet that ends the following afternoon, Sept. 29.