10/30/2010 5:05PM

Successful Dan tops off big meet for Lopresti

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Successful Dan wins the closing-day Fayette Stakes at Keeneland under Julien Leparoux.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Successful Dan capped a sensational fall meet for trainer Charlie Lopresti and jockey Julien Leparoux when rallying to victory Saturday in the 52nd running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Fayette Stakes on Saturday, closing day of the Keeneland fall meet.

Always striding smoothly while in mid-pack of a six-horse field, Successful Dan began edging closer in the final turn of the 1 1/8-mile Polytrack race, ultimately charging past front-running Exhi approaching the furlong pole en route to a three-length triumph. Stately Victor ran late to be third, a neck behind Exhi, and was followed by Dubious Miss, Mint Chip, and Cherokee Artist.

Successful Dan, a 4-year-old homebred gelding owned by Mort Fink, paid $5.40 as the favorite after finishing in 1:47.09 for his second graded stakes victory.

“He was very relaxed,” said Leparoux. “When I asked him, he just took off. I had a ton left. That’s a good thing.”

“I never thought he’d run past those good horses the way he did,” said an elated Lopresti. “It’s been like a dream come true to have a meet like this at Keeneland.”

Lopresti won with 6 of 9 starters at the fall meet, while Leparoux was easily the leading jockey at this meet, marking the fifth time the 27-year-old Frenchman has won or shared a Keeneland riding title.

Lopresti, who trains a stable of about 16 horses at Keeneland, has enjoyed easily the best year since his solo training career began in 1993. He is scheduled to have two starters in the upcoming Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs – Here Comes Ben in the Dirt Mile and Wise Dan in the Sprint.

Successful Dan has won 5 of 7 overall starts. At 3, he won all 3 starts, ending with a victory over the highly regarded Warrior’s Reward in the Grade 3 Northern Dancer at Churchill in June 2009 before an injury forced a 14-month layoff. He prepped for the Fayette with a smashing allowance victory here Oct. 9.

Four horses were early scratches in the Fayette: Adriano, Intercoastal, Battle of Hastings, and Boots Ahead. Battle of Hastings is expected to run instead Thursday in the Grade 3 River City Handicap at Churchill Downs.

An ontrack crowd of 12,627 turned out amid cool but sunny weather.

* The trainer’s race came down to the last few races of the 17-day meet, and for the second straight fall, Ken McPeek was the leading trainer here. McPeek won the fifth race with Jazz Life to lift him out of a tie with Wayne Catalano and give him a 10-9 lead, one that ultimately held when neither won any more races the rest of the day. McPeek won the 2009 fall title with 17 wins.