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First Dude Ready for Haskell

Donald R. Dizney’s First Dude has hit the board in seven of his eight lifetime starts. And with his second-place finish in the Preakness and close third in the Belmont Stakes, the homebred son of Stephen Got Even may have been the most consistent participant in this year’s Triple Crown series.

First Dude kicked off his career last fall with a runner-up performance in a seven-furlong sprint over Keeneland’s synthetic surface. His next start was his two-turn debut, where the Dale Romans-trained colt ran a solid second behind Fly Down. That rival captured this year’s Grade 2 Dwyer and finished a neck in front of First Dude in the Belmont.

In First Dude’s stakes debut, he finished a troubled fifth in the Florida Derby (G1) behind fellow IZOD Haskell participant Ice Box. He then finished third in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) before running in the final two legs of the Triple Crown.

The IZOD Haskell will be First Dude’s first race since his gutsy third-place finish in the Belmont Stakes.

“He was doing great before the Belmont and he’s doing just as well heading into this race,” Romans said.

In both the Preakness and the Belmont, First Dude, who stands an impressive 17 hands, did his running on the pace. However, Romans says his colt has proven to have a very adaptable running style.

“He’s always been able to rate if he’s had to,” the trainer said. “We just thought in the Triple Crown races that he would do better on the lead.”

Romans says he’s looking forward to the IZOD Haskell, a race expected to attract Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, Derby runner-up Ice Box, and Preakness champion Lookin at Lucky.

“We’ll be running against the best 3-year-olds in the country in this race,” Romans said. “But to be the best, you have to beat the best.”

The conditioner added that First Dude will likely ship to Monmouth Park a few days in advance of the race.

“We’re going to talk about it and finalize those plans today, but right now I’m thinking Wednesday,” Romans said.



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