Romans: Dullahan Likes Churchill Downs Dirt

Romans: Dullahan Likes Churchill Downs Dirt
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) winner Dullahan should have no problem racing on dirt in the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), trainer Dale Romans said April 17.

The 3-year-old Even The Score   colt has raced on dirt three times with third-place his best finish. He is a two-time grade I winner on the Keeneland Polytrack.

“He trains on dirt everyday at Churchill Downs,” Romans said during the NTRA Communications media teleconference. “He seems to love the track. I don’t see that as being a problem.”

Dullahan, owned by Jerry Crawford’s Donegal Racing, raced six times at 2 and began his 3-year-old campaign with a nice second-place finish behind Howe Great in the March 11 Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park. The Blue Grass was his second start of the year.

Romans said Dullahan has the tools needed to win the Kentucky Derby.

“He can go from zero to 60 like a Ferrari,” the trainer said. “It takes that to win the Kentucky Derby—you need acceleration to get out of trouble. I wouldn’t trade places with anyone right now. He’s a prototype for a Derby horse; he jumps through every single hoop.”

Howe Great, one of Dullahan’s victims in the Blue Grass, is being pointed to the American Turf Stakes (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs May 4, Team Valor International president Barry Irwin said. Team Valor, however, will have Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III) winner Went The Day Well in the Kentucky Derby.

Irwin was questioned about a recent lackluster workout by Went The Day Well, a Proud Citizen   colt purchased privately last fall. He said that’s not unusual for Went The Day Well—and the stable’s other top 3-year-olds.

“He’s a lousy work horse,” Irwin said. “He doesn’t care in the morning, but he brings his game in the afternoon.”

Went The Day Well has won on dirt, and Irwin again said he believes the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Derby will suit the colt. Team Valor won last year’s Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom  , who also had won the Spiral.

“I think he’s a step or two ahead of (where Animal Kingdom was at this time last year),” Irwin said.

Meanwhile, Irwin said he hopes Animal Kingdom, who was injured earlier this year, returns to the races in September or October. Irwin said he has turned down stallion offers for the 4-year-old horse, who missed this year’s planned start in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I).

“I think there’s too much racing left in this horse,” Irwin said, noting the 2013 World Cup is on the radar screen.

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