Donegal Racing’s Paddy O'Prado earned his first grade I win in the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes, taking over in upper stretch and bounding home to victory as the 1-2 favorite Aug. 21 at Arlington Park (VIDEO).
It was the third consecutive graded win and fourth overall for the 3-year-old colt who is alone at the top of his division. Kent Desormeaux guided the son of El Prado, who covered 1 1/4 miles on the good turf in 2:04.71 for trainer Dale Romans.
Paddy O’Prado banked $240,000 for the score and upped his career earnings to $1,351,297. The gray/roan colt, owned by the Donegal partnership led by Jerry Crawford, was a $105,000 Keeneland September 2008 yearling purchase.
Desormeaux gave Paddy O’Prado an ideal trip, racing in third position for most of the way while longshot Cherokee Lord led the way and Workin for Hops pressed the pace. Cherokee Lord, with Julio Felix aboard, took the field of six around in easy splits of :25.80, :51.78, 1:16.94, and 1:41.12.
Cherokee Lord continued his narrow advantage when they reached the eighth-pole, but Paddy O’Prado began to inch closer from his three-wide path and roared by the two pacesetters approaching the sixteenth-pole. His only threat in deep stretch was European invader Wigmore Hall, but he could not catch the winner, who hit the wire 1 1/4 lengths in front.
Wigmore Hall, under Jamie Spencer, finished three parts of a length in front of Workin for Hops. Cherokee Lord was fourth.
Paddy O’Prado has been sensational since returning to turf after a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and sixth-place effort in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). He tallied a pair of impressive wins at Colonial Downs—the June 19 Colonial Turf Cup and July 17 Virginia Derby (both gr. IIT) to solidify his position as the top sophomore turf horse. His victory in the Secretariat confirmed that status.
“I think he’s by far the best 3-year-old and I don’t just mean on turf,” said Desormeaux, who scored his second straight victory in the Secretariat after winning last year’s renewal aboard Take the Points. “I think I should have won the Kentucky Derby but I got shut off at the quarter pole."
Bred in Kentucky by Winchell Thoroughbreds, Paddy O’Prado is out of the Prized mare Fun House. Romans said his charge’s next goal will be the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (gr. IT) Oct. 2 at Belmont Park, a race that should set him up for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) Nov.6 at Churchill Downs.
Paddy O’Prado, who became the shortest-priced winner in the history of the race, paid $3, $2.20, and $2.10. The exacta (1-4) returned $9.80.
Dean's Kitten was fifth, followed by Mister Mardi Gras.