04/22/2013 2:45PM

Keeneland: LoPresti keeping Wise Dan, Successful Dan separated

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Barbara D. Livingston
Successful Dan, who won the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes on Saturday, might run next in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs on June 15.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – It’s the kind of problem any trainer would like to have. Charlie LoPresti will be trying to sort out schedules over the coming weeks while avoiding direct conflict between Wise Dan, the 2012 Horse of the Year, and Successful Dan, who made a stirring return to the races Sunday at Keeneland, capturing the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes as the odds-on favorite.

The return of the 7-year-old Successful Dan came a little more than a week after Wise Dan, his 6-year-old half-brother, won the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile in his first public appearance since being named Horse of the Year. After both wins, LoPresti mentioned the June 15 Stephen Foster Handicap as a possible next start, although now he isn’t certain which horse will run in that Grade 1 race at Churchill Downs.

“I guess we’ll have something to say about all that pretty soon,” LoPresti, who trains both geldings for breeder Mort Fink, said Monday. “Mr. Fink and I just had a long talk about it, and he definitely wants to keep them separated for the time being. Right now, we’re just trying to enjoy the moment. They both ran big, and both came back in great shape, so we’re very happy right now.”

LoPresti said he is contemplating a run in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the May 4 Kentucky Derby undercard for Wise Dan, “but that’s really premature,” he said. “Wise Dan came out of the Maker’s so good that the Woodford is more possible than I initially thought. But there’s still a ways to go on that. If we did go that way, then that’d leave the Foster to Successful Dan.”

A start in the 1 1/8-mile Woodford Reserve for Wise Dan would set up a riveting matchup between him and Point of Entry, the Phipps Stable star who defeated Animal Kingdom in his most recent start in February. Wise Dan has been most effective at distances around a mile, while Point of Entry has competed primarily in longer races.

Meanwhile, the front-running, one-length Ben Ali victory for Successful Dan was “the ideal comeback race for him,” said LoPresti, noting that the gelding “checked out perfectly” Monday morning with the noted equine veterinarian Larry Bramlage.

“He really only had to run hard the last three-eighths of a mile,” LoPresti said. “It’s like Dr. Bramlage said: You couldn’t ask for much more for a first race back.”

The Ben Ali was run before a crowd of 20,244 on Military Appreciation Day. Attendance for the three-day weekend totaled more than 64,000, with 32,325 turning out to see Todd Pletcher win the Coolmore Lexington Stakes on Saturday for a record fifth time. Pletcher won with Winning Cause, a colt he is considering as a potential sixth starter for the May 4 Kentucky Derby.