07/27/2012 3:19PM

Saratoga notes: Successful Dan will miss Whitney Handicap due to injury

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Barbara D. Livingston
Successful Dan will be sent to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital for further evaluation.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The multiple graded stakes winner Successful Dan has developed filling in the pastern of his left foreleg and will be forced to skip next Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga, trainer Charles Lopresti said Friday afternoon.

Successful Dan was scheduled to be vanned to Lexington, Ky., on Saturday and will be further evaluated by Dr. Larry Bramlage at the Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital on Wednesday.

Lopresti said that Successful Dan has continued to jog on Saratoga’s main track daily and does not appear to be sore. Lopresti said he sent a set of X-rays to Bramlage, who wanted to examine the 6-year-old gelding by Successful Appeal to make a proper diagnosis.

“He said he thinks he strained it, but without seeing the horse, he doesn’t want me to breeze him or run him,” Lopresti said. “We don’t see any tears. [Bramlage] is a little bit concerned that with the problems that [Successful Dan] has had, it’d be good for him to see him to make an honest evaluation.”

Successful Dan, owned by Morton Fink, was away from the races for more than a year with a suspensory tear in his left foreleg. Since coming back, he won an allowance race at Keeneland and the Grade 2 Alysheba over subsequent stakes winners Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man at Churchill, before finishing second to Fort Larned in the Grade 3 Cornhusker on June 30.

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This is the second big horse Lopresti has lost to injury in the last three weeks. Turallure, Lopresti’s Grade 1-winning turf horse, is sidelined for the rest of the year due to bone bruising.

Lopresti said that Wise Dan, who at one time was under consideration for the Whitney, will run in the Grade 2, $500,000 Fourstardave, a one-mile turf race here Aug. 11.

“We made our commitment to run him on the turf,” Lopresti said. “I trained Wise Dan to run on the turf, and he breezed really well on the turf.”

Over the past few weeks, the Whitney has lost several prominent names, including Shackleford, To Honor and Serve, and Stay Thirsty.

Post positions will be draw for the Whitney on Wednesday. Expected to run are Endorsement, Flat Out, Fort Larned, Hunters Bay, Hymn Book, Ron the Greek, Rule, and Trickmeister.

Trickmeister confirmed for Whitney

The best race Trickmeister ever ran came at Saratoga two summers ago. Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. hopes a return to the Spa can reprise that effort when Trickmeister runs in Saturday’s Whitney.

On Aug. 27, 2010 – in his first start for Dutrow and owners IEAH Stables – Trickmeister won the Pleasant Colony Stakes by 11 3/4 lengths, earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 104.

Strange thing was Dutrow didn’t believe Trickmeister liked training at Saratoga.

“I’m a horse-for-course kind of guy, I know he loves running up there,” Dutrow said by phone Friday from Aqueduct, where Trickmeister is currently based. “He couldn’t stand training up there. I had no idea how he ran that big.”

In his most recent start, Trickmeister finished third in the Grade  2 Suburban after setting rapid fractions. He was beaten 5 1/2 lengths by Mucho Macho Man.

“I had no qualms with the way Trickmeister ran in the Suburban,” Dutrow said.

Ramon Dominguez will ride Trickmeister in the Whitney.

Little Mike eyes Arlington Million

In news that will delight trainers pointing horses to the $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap here Aug.  14, trainer Dale Romans said Friday that he is leaning toward running Little Mike in the Arlington Million in Chicago on Aug. 18.

The Arlington Million is run at 1  1/4 miles.

Little Mike is 5 for 8 at a mile and has never raced beyond 1 1/8 miles. But Romans felt the way Little Mike relaxed in winning twice this year at 1 1/8 miles might indicate a sign of maturity that could help him get the added distance.

“He went the mile and an eighth and did that very well,” Romans said. “He’s getting a little bit older, he might be able to relax a little bit more.”

Little Mike finished third in the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park in his last start and is back at Churchill Downs.

“Little Mike is Little Mike, he’s always good,” Romans said. “He’s one of those horses that you never know is in the barn, he never takes a lot of work. Good personality, good sound horse.”

Should Romans elect to try the Arlington Million with Little Mike, he could still be represented in the Fourstardave with Guys Reward, who has won three consecutive races, including the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap at Churchill in his last start.