Multiple graded stakes winner Successful Dan, the older half-brother to two-time defending Horse of the Year Wise Dan, has been retired because of ligament problems in his left front, trainer Charlie LoPresti said Friday.
Owned and bred by Morton Fink and out of 2012 Broodmare of the Year Lisa Danielle, Successful Dan flashed brilliance throughout the years, but his career was constantly interrupted by his ailments. The 8-year-old Successful Appeal gelding won eight of 15 starts and became the first graded stakes winner trained by LoPresti when he captured the 2009 Grade III Northern Dancer Stakes at Churchill Downs.
The bay gelding went on to win four graded stakes but had not raced since running third in the Grade I Woodward Stakes at Saratoga last August.
"We retired him, he's turned out on our farm," LoPresti said. "He's sound, he was galloping every day but we scanned that XYZ ligament again and he had some more inflammation and we were going to have to back up on him again. We talked about it and he is 8 and with his injury, you can't play around with something like that. But we want to find another life for him, maybe a hunter/jumper, something like that.
"We did not want to destroy that ligament, so I know we did the right thing by him."
Successful Dan's sesamoidal ligament strain first surfaced after his victory in the Northern Dancer Stakes, initially sidelining him until August 2010. He appeared to have a top-level victory in his grasp when he crossed the wire in front in the 2010 Grade I Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs only to be disqualified to third for interference in the stretch.
Though Wise Dan emerged to become the six-time Eclipse Award winner he is, Successful Dan returned to set a track record for 11⁄16 miles at Churchill Downs in winning the Grade II Alysheba Stakes in 2012, defeating that year's eventual Breeders' Cup Classic winner Fort Larned.
After running fourth in the Grade I Stephen Foster in 2013, Successful Dan went on to run second, beaten by just three-quarters of a length by Cross Traffic, in last year's Grade I Whitney Stakes despite falling coming onto the track.
"He doesn't owe us anything. And, I tell you, I'll breathe a sigh of relief now because every time we ran him and every time we breezed him I always worried about him and his issues," LoPresti said. "Gosh darn, it's just a shame we didn't win that Whitney. He would be have been a Breeders' Cup Classic winner had these things not plagued him."
Successful Dan retires with $998,154 in earnings.