04/21/2013 4:55PM

Keeneland: Successful Dan gets away with slow fractions in Ben Ali

Barbara D. Livingston
Making his first start since last June, Successful Dan and Julien Leparoux win the Grade 3 Ben Ali.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Just like his younger half-brother, Horse of the Year Wise Dan, Successful Dan kicked off 2013 as a winner, taking the Grade 3, $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes by a length over Boisterous on Sunday at Keeneland.

Successful Dan’s win came nine days after Wise Dan won his 2013 bow in the Grade 1 Makers 46 Mile at Keeneland.

The race unfolded perfectly for Successful Dan, who was able to cruise to the lead from his inside post, and establish dawdling fractions of 50.18 seconds and 1:16.05 in the 1 1/8-mile Ben Ali on Keeneland’s Polytrack.

Asked to quicken midway on the final turn, Successful Dan opened up on the field, and though Boisterous rallied from fourth to threaten Successful Dan in midstretch, he wasn’t able to get closer than a length in the final sixteenth.

“They let me go very slow the first part of it,” winning rider Julien Leparoux said. “I knew at the three-eighths pole there was no way they could catch me.”

The winner, a 7-year-old gelded son of Successful Appeal owned and bred by Mort Fink, raced 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.14. He paid $3.60 as the favorite in a field reduced to six when Golden Ticket was scratched.

Following Boisterous was Richard’s Kid in third, 6 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up. Son of a General, Hattaash,  and Stephanaotsee completed the order of finish.

Well prepped off the bench by trainer Charlie LoPresti, Successful Dan was victorious despite not having raced since June 30 when second to eventual Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned in the Cornhusker at Prairie Meadows.

“At Saratoga he had some filling in his pastern – probably I could have run him,” LoPresti said, explaining the time off. “But you want them to be 100 percent with a horse of this caliber.”

LoPresti said the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs on June 15 would be considered for Successful Dan’s next race, but a race there would be contingent on what racing plans are drawn up for Wise Dan, who ran second in the Foster last year after winning the Ben Ali. Lopresti trains both horses for Fink.

Attendance on a cool, sunny day was 20,244.

Maker ties record with 16th win

Earlier Sunday, Mike Maker trained his 16th winner of the meet, matching a Keeneland spring meet record, when favored Kingsford Drive won the third race.

His 16th victory matched a mark set by Todd Pletcher during the spring meet in 2005. The overall record, counting spring and fall meets, is 22, established by D. Wayne Lukas in the fall of 1989.

Maker, comfortably on his way to win the spring training title with the meet concluding Friday, had two chances to claim the outright spring record on Sunday after Kingsford Drive’s victory in race 3, but Barrio Baby and Always Kitten each ran fourth in races 6 and 7, respectively.

Kingsford Drive’s victory came for Maker’s principal clients, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, themselves record-establishing owners this spring at Keeneland. The Ramseys and Maker have combined for 13 victories together at the meet.

Maker’s next opportunity to solely establish the spring-meet record comes Wednesday, when he has six horses entered in five races.