Dullahan drills on dirt, but Classic decision awaits

Dullahan worked five furlongs on Santa Anita's conventional dirt track Saturday morning under Tammy Fox in 1:00, after which trainer Dale Romans said a decision on whether the Grade 1 Pacific Classic winner would run in the $5 million Breeders' Cu

Dullahan worked five furlongs on Santa Anita's conventional dirt track Saturday morning under Tammy Fox in 1:00, after which trainer Dale Romans said a decision on whether the Grade 1 Pacific Classic winner would run in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic or the $3 million Turf at Santa Anita next Saturday would likely not be rendered before Monday's deadline.

"I thought he went really good," Romans said shortly after the 9 a.m. (PDT) drill. "I haven't talked to her (Fox) yet, but he went fast and he looked good doing it."

Dullahan is pre-entered for the Classic at 1 1/4 miles on dirt and the Turf at 1 1/2 miles.

"We'll talk to her and Jerry (Crawford, owner, who races as Donegal Racing). It'll be Jerry's decision. We'll have a meeting with her and see what she says. There's no rush, but by entry time on Monday, we'll have it settled by then.

"If was up to me, I'd run him in the Classic, but we'll discuss it."

Dullahan's three career wins have all come on synthetic surfaces. The three-year-old son of Even the Score is winless in four turf starts and winless in six races on traditional dirt.

Asked his thoughts about that, Romans was resigned to his fate.

"Well," he said, "they wouldn't change this to Poly for me, so there's nothing I can do about it. We'll see what happens."

Tying Dullahan's time was Shackleford, second in last year's Dirt Mile, who also went five furlongs in 1:00 with Fox up. The 2011 Preakness winner is preparing for another go in the Dirt Mile.

Also for Romans, multiple Grade 1 hero Little Mike (Turf or Mile) worked five furlongs on Santa Anita's firm turf course in 1:01 4/5, while Moonwalk (Juvenile Fillies Turf) went the same distance in 1:01 3/5.

Later Saturday morning, Romans and his crew welcomed a crowd of approximately 80 horse lovers to Santa Anita's Barn 76. The meet-and-greet was publicized via Facebook and Twitter.

Shackleford, Little Mike and Dullahan were presented to the enthusiastic gathering, most of whom were armed with cameras.

"This is all thanks to Laura Hermanson," the self-effacing Romans said. "She handles our social media and she said we've been getting all kinds of requests to meet 'Shack,' and so I decided today would be the best day to try and accommodate as many people as possible."

Along with a large gathering of fans, HRTV was on hand to document the "Meet and Greet," as Romans first addressed questions regarding how his horses trained earlier and then brought each horse out individually to pose for pictures.

Before Romans brought out his first horse, Little Mike, one of the attendees told Romans, "Somebody (in media) said that Shackleford worked too fast and that he might be over the top."

To which Romans quipped, "Tell him to get a trainer's license. He trains fast and he runs fast."

Next out was Pacific Classic winner Dullahan.

"This is the only horse in the history of racing who has three wins and all three have been in Grade 1 races," Romans noted.

The morning's main event came when Romans paged Shackleford.

When the four-year-old son of Forestry emerged from his shedrow, there was no doubt that he is the Romans' stable star. The striking chestnut posed calmly with his ears pricked and turned his head from time to time to take in the shutter-clicking throng.

"Shackleford, he knows he's the king," Romans said. "He's an absolutely special horse. When he won the Preakness, they always have a big party at the barn afterwards and there must've been a thousand people come by to pet him."

After approximately five minutes, Romans asked if anyone had a mint. Several people said they did, and at that point, Romans allowed about 25 people, mainly small children, to come forward and have their picture taken with the barn's leading man.

"I always thought he was a super cool horse and we wanted to give him a good name," said co-owner and breeder Mike Lauffer, who had been on-hand earlier for Shackleford's final Breeders' Cup breeze.

"We visit North Carolina a lot and the Shackleford Banks are part of the barrier islands off the coast. They are populated by wild horses that are believed to be descendents of a Spanish shipwreck in the 1700s."

In other Breeders' Cup news:

Among Breeders' Cup candidates scheduled to work at Santa Anita Sunday are Classic favorite Game On Dude and Turf Sprint contender California Flag, winner of that event in 2009.

The Breeders' Cup hopefuls Pool Play, Spring in the Air, Spring Venture, Dynamic Sky and Delegation breezed at Churchill Downs for trainer Mark Casse on Friday, and assistant trainer Norman Casse reported everyone was in good order Saturday morning. The horses are scheduled to fly to California on Sunday afternoon.

Fans will be treated to a comprehensive free Breeders' Cup Handicapping Seminar following the races at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Sirona's, which overlooks Santa Anita's Paddock Gardens area.

HRTV's Joanne Jones and Daily Racing Form's Mike Watchmaker will be joined by legendary public handicapper Prof. Gordon Jones. Watchmaker will attempt to "keep up with the Joneses" as the triumvirate analyzes, handicaps, and "x-rays" the two-day Breeders' Cup World Championships in depth.

Regular cocktail and beverage service will be available to those attending the free DRF/HRTV Seminar, which will also be broadcast live on DRF.com and HRTV.com.

Team Zenyatta has announced that racegoers staying for the second annual Breeders' Cup Zenyatta After-Party Celebration next Friday, will be treated to racing celebrity appearances, special live entertainment and the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind items during a live auction honoring Zenyatta. The After-Party Celebration will be at Santa Anita's FrontRunner Restaurant from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. following the day's races and will be emceed by Frank Mirahmadi.

The official Breeders' Cup event is a popular one, and this year will offer appearances by Zenyatta's trainer, John Shirreffs, racing manager and voice of the Zenyatta Diary, Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs, and her regular rider, Mike Smith.

Additionally, a cavalcade of past and present jockeys will attend the After-Party on behalf of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF), including John Velazquez, Ramon Dominguez, Joe Talamo and Javier Castellano, as well as Hall of Fame great Laffit Pincay Jr.

In addition to the PDJF, the After-Party Celebration also will benefit CANTER as well as other equine, children, and racing-related charities.

Fans also will be treated to live entertainment by Liza G. and her "Zenyatta" song and the raffle of a special artist proof of the "Zenyatta, Horse of our Lifetime" bronze by Nina Kaiser, sculptor of the life-sized Zenyatta statue recently unveiled at Santa Anita.

A silent auction with Zenyatta memorabilia and artwork will take place throughout the evening and a live auction will feature premium items including a canvas from acclaimed equine artist Jaime Corum featuring Zenyatta entitled "Breeders' Cup Gold," an original halter from Zenyatta's foal, and a trip to see Zenyatta at Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Kentucky.

Amenities include a California buffet, a cash bar featuring Z-cocktails, and race replays from Friday's Breeders' Cup program. Tickets are $50 for admission only, or $95 for admission and the buffet. A limited number of tickets are available for sale on http://www.zenyatta.com.

As an added benefit for "The Queen's" most loyal fans, reserved seating for the Breeders' Cup races in the specially designated Zenyatta Section is also available for $150 on Friday and $250 on Saturday. See Zenyatta's website for sales and details.

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