07/26/2013 3:42PM

Saratoga: Successful Dan gets green light for Whitney

Barbara D. Livingston
Successful Dan, under Damien Rock, works five furlongs in 1:00.16 Friday at Saratoga, convincing trainer Charlie LoPresti to enter the Aug. 3 Whitney Handicap.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – When trainer Charlie LoPresti brought Successful Dan to Saratoga a couple of weeks ago, he was very much indecisive on what to do with the 7-year-old gelding coming off a poor performance in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster.

After watching Successful Dan work twice over Saratoga’s main track in the last eight days, LoPresti’s decision became easier – run in the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap on Aug. 3.

For the second straight week, Successful Dan turned in a sensational work at Saratoga, going five furlongs in 1:00.16 over the Saratoga main track around 5:45 a.m. With regular exercise rider Damien Rock in the irons, Successful Dan went off in an easy 25.28 seconds for the opening quarter and came home in 34.78 seconds. He then proceeded to gallop out six furlongs in 1:12.78, seven-eighths in 1:26.21, and a mile in 1:39.98.

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“That’s what I wanted and it looks like he did it without really being asked,” LoPresti said afterward. “I wanted that long gallop out to run a mile and an eighth. He was blowing when he came back but he recovered really fast.”

Friday’s work came one week after Successful Dan worked five furlongs in 1:00.73 over the main track.

LoPresti had pointed Successful Dan to last year’s Whitney, but had to pull the plug when the horse sustained a strained ligament that ended his 6-year-old season.

After winning the Grade 3 Ben Ali to begin this year, Successful Dan finished fourth, beaten 15 lengths by Fort Larned in the Stephen Foster at Churchill on June 15.

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“He worked good going into the Stephen Foster but about 10 days after the work he was just real quiet,” LoPresti said. “I attributed it to him being settled. Maybe he was not on his game that night. I just don’t think he liked the track.”

LoPresti said Julien Leparoux, Successful Dan’s regular rider, would be in from California to ride.

Others pointing to the Whitney include last year’s Whitney one-two finishers Fort Larned and Ron the Greek, 2012 Woodward runner-up Mucho Macho Man, Metropolitan Handicap runner-up Cross Traffic, and 2012 Travers winner Alpha.

Horse of the Year Wise Dan, the younger brother to Successful Dan, will run in the Fourstardave on Aug. 10. He was scheduled to breeze on the turf on Saturday.

Enchanting Lisa makes turf debut

Enchanting Lisa, the 3-year-old half-sister to Successful Dan and Wise Dan, makes her turf debut in Sunday’s third race at 1 1/16 miles.

Enchanting Lisa, a daughter of War Front, won her career debut by seven lengths over the synthetic surface at Presque Isle Downs on June 12.

“I don’t know how she’s going to handle the turf but I got to think synthetic-to-turf, being by War Chant” she will handle it, LoPresti said.

Enchanting Lisa was training virtually exclusively over Keeneland’s synthetic surface before breezing a half-mile in 51.40 seconds over the dirt here on July 20.

“My impression of her is she’s a really nice filly,” LoPresti said. “She’s a filly that wants to look around a little bit – even up here she looks around – so I’m a little bit wondering what’s going to happen when she gets on the grass for the first time. She likes to follow horses anyway so I’m hoping some horses will carry her around there and she’ll know what to do.”

The race has several nice maiden-winning fillies, including Sustained, Riolama, and Clearbrook.