Four contenders for the June 15 $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (Grade I), including Successful Dan and Take Charge Indy, worked
Saturday in preparation for the 1 1/8-mile race at Churchill Downs.
Successful Dan, winner of the Ben Ali
(GIII) in his lone start of the year, breezed a half-mile on the
Polytrack at Keeneland in :48.40. The worked ranked 20th of 66 at the distance.
“He worked well and galloped out really strong,” trainer Charlie LoPresti
said. “He was hard to pull up after the work because he wanted to do
more and we wouldn’t let him do more than that. We didn’t want to go
today. We just wanted :12s at every pole and he couldn’t have done it
“He cooled out really well and now it’s just a matter of keeping him happy till the race.”
LoPresti added that Successful Dan, who will be ridden in the Stephen Foster Handicap by Julien Leparoux, will van to Churchill Downs on Saturday afternoon to school with horses in the paddock for Race 5. Post time
for the fifth race is 2:51 p.m. (all times Eastern).
The Stephen Foster Handicap works at
Churchill Downs were highlighted by Alysheba (GII) winner Take Charge
Indy’s “bullet” half-mile breeze in :47 under regular exercise rider Johnny Byrne.
Take Charge Indy began his
four-furlong work at the three-eighths pole and crossed the wire in
:34.40 before completing the work in :47 and galloping out five furlongs
“Johnny did a great job of putting a little speed back into the big fella,” trainer Pat Byrne said. “I wanted to put a little air into him today and we’ve got him ready for next Saturday. He’s training as good, if not
better, for this race as he did for the Alysheba.”
In his previous work on May 31, Take Charge Indy breezed five furlongs in 1:03.80 under Rosie Napravnik at Churchill Downs.
“He went slow because he’s smart,” Pat Byrne said. “The track was empty and he likes to chase a horse because he’s competitive.”
“I’ve worked a lot of good horses and
a lot of bad ones, but he’s probably the trickiest horse I’ve worked,”
Johnny Byrne said. “If you don’t ask him to work, he’ll just
diddle-daddle around there. He’s competitive and he’s
clever. If he sees something to run at, he’ll do it easy.”
Also working at Churchill Downs for the Stephen Foster Handicap were 2011 Stephen Foster winner Pool Play and Golden Ticket, who finished in a dead-heat for the win with Alpha in last year’s Travers (GI).
Pool Play breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 and Golden Ticket went the same distance in 1:00.80.
Pool Play, under Miguel Mena, started his work two-lengths behind stablemate Troubadour Tango and finished two lengths in front before galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.80.
“When we won the race in 2011, even though we were longshots, we were confident,” assistant trainer Norman Casse said. “This is a much tougher rendition of the Stephen Foster. I hope the real Pool Play shows up and
he can be competitive against some of the best horses in the country.”
Golden Ticket, under Marvin Abrego, worked in-company with Matt Winn (GIII) contender Bellarmine and recorded fractions of :12.40 and :36.60 and galloped out in 1:14. Golden Ticket finished about four lengths
ahead of Bellarmine, who was credited with a five-furlong time of 1:01.60.
“I think both horses got what they needed out of the work and they both came out of it well,” said Phil Bauer, assistant to trainer Ken McPeek.
Golden Ticket will enter the Stephen
Foster off a 2 ½-length victory in a one-mile allowance/optional
claiming race at Churchill Downs on May 2.
“I think Golden Ticket is coming into
the race in good shape,” Bauer said. “He seemed to like the surface
here in his last race and so if he can stretch it out to two turns
against some better competition then he should be
Other horses working toward Stephen Foster Night stakes were Funny Proposition, who breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 to prep for the Fleur de Lis Handicap, Matt Winn hopeful Uncaptured, who went five furlongs
in 1:00.60 and Regret (GIII) contenders Beverage Queen and Praia, who both breezed a half-mile in :50.80, and Intelyhente, who breezed four furlongs in :47.80.