Dublin Leaves No Doubt in Hopeful Triumph
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas earned his sixth victory in the $300,000 Three Chimneys Hopeful (gr. I) (VIDEO) when favored Dublin posted a two-length win on closing day of the 2009 Saratoga Race Course meet Sept. 7.
A $525,000 September Keeneland yearling buy in 2008, Dublin is owned by Robert C. Baker and William L. Mack. The long-striding chestnut colt is out of Classy Mirage, by Storm Bird. Lukas believed from the start that the enormous youngster was worth the investment when he recommended him to Baker and Mack.
“This was my No. 1 pick in the sales,” the 74-year-old Lukas said. “I still haven’t lost my eye in that (department).”
Dublin’s sire, Afleet Alex, won the Hopeful in 2004.
“He has a long, rangy stride,” Lukas said of Dublin. “He’s got a lot of balance to him. He’s pretty gifted. I like to play in the main arena — these 2-year olds, when they turn 3, that’s the name of the game. Bill Mack and Bob Baker are the reason this horse is here.”
One Note Samba, with Flatter Than Me on his outside, battled on the front end through swift early fractions of :22.10 and :44.97, but both came under extreme fire from Westover Wildcat leaving the quarter pole. Dublin, who stumbled at the start, was rated mid-pack on the outside by Theriot. He ranged up quickly four wide and engaged the leaders, eventually wresting control from Westover Wildcat approaching mid-stretch. Dublin, drifting out under left-handed urging, raced a bit erratically through the lane but won as much the best.
“He stumbled badly at the break, but he recovered very quickly,” Theriot said. “He was a little green coming down the lane. If I hit him right-handed, he’d duck left a little; if I hit him left-handed, he’d duck right. But he’ll grow out of that. I think (more) distance won’t be a problem for him. We will see a different horse when he goes two turns. My idea was to come to Saratoga and find myself a (Kentucky) Derby horse. We think he’s a good one.”
With the victory, Dublin joins Deposit Ticket (1990), Salt Lake (1991), Hennessy (1995), High Yield (1999) and Yonaguska (2000) as Hopeful winners trained by Lukas.
The trainer said he would like to stretch out Dublin around two turns in his next start but would entertain a possible start in the $400,000 Champagne (gr. I), a one-turn mile on Oct. 10 at Belmont Park. He plans to send Dublin back to his base at Churchill Downs and plot his course.
“The first thing we’re going to do is pack him in Styrofoam, and I’ll put my layaway down next to him,” Lukas joked.
The winner earned $180,000 for the victory and paid $8.20, $5.80, and $3.80. Gary and Mary West's homebred Aspire, from the Eddie Kenneally barn, returned $8.40 and $8.20 and completed a $91 exacta. Aikenite, trained by Todd Pletcher for Dogwood Stable, was $10.40 to show.
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