On the morning after Dullahan ran down
Game On Dude to win Del Mar’s Grade 1 Pacific Classic by a half-length
on Sunday, trainer Dale Romans discussed the numerous options he has
with the 3-year-old Donegal Racing color-bearer.
All of Dullahan’s three career wins have
come in Grade 1 races contested over Polytrack: the 2011 Breeders’
Futurity for 2-year-olds, the 2012 Blue Grass for 3-year-olds at
Keeneland and the Pacific Classic over older horses. Dullahan has
placed in a pair of graded stakes in two starts on the turf and is
0-0-2 in five starts on the dirt, including a third in the Grade 1
With that in mind, Romans said he and
Donegal President Jerry Crawford have no specific plans for Dullahan’s
next start, with much depending on what Breeders’ Cup race they select
as a long-term target. Romans mentioned Belmont Park’s Grade 1,
$600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational for 3-year-olds and up at
1 ½ miles on September 29 and the Grade 1, $400,000 Jamaica for
3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on October 6 as options.
“I don’t know if we’ll run in the
[Breeders’ Cup] Classic,” said Romans. “If it’s [my decision], I’ll try
him on turf next, and decide if he wants to go a mile and a half.
Either the Joe Hirsch or the Jamaica would be good, but if we want to
get the mile and a half, the Joe Hirsch would be the one. There’s [the
Presque Isle Mile on synthetic on September 7], but it’s only a mile.”
Romans also floated out long-range
possibilities such as the Group 1, $10 million Dubai World Cup next
March or giving Dullahan another chance to pick up a Grade 1 on the
“I’m not going to give up on the dirt;
I’ve got to get him a big win on the dirt somewhere,” said Romans.
“Maybe at Churchill because he likes that track.
“I know how to get [to Dubai]. I know how
to win that one,” added Romans, who took the 2005 Dubai World Cup with
Roses in May. “That’s a long ways off, but it will be here before you
know it. If everything went perfectly, you’d run one time, then
Breeders’ Cup, a little break, one time, and then over there [in
Before he stresses too much over plotting
a course for Dullahan, Romans said he wants to fully enjoy how
Dullahan joined Best Pal (1991), General Challenge (1999), and Came Home
(2002) as the only 3-year-olds to win the Pacific Classic in the
race’s 22-year history.
“I thought he was going to get a piece of
it, but I didn’t know if he could run down [Game On Dude],” said
Romans. “Anytime a plan comes together, it’s good. We do a lot of
things that don’t work out, so you’ve got to relish the ones that do.
That was a little risky, going against older horses, but he does love
synthetic. If you’re going to go out there, you might as well go for a
big pot and a place where you can run on synthetic.”
With the Pacific Classic win, Romans has
captured six Grade 1 stakes in 2012 at five different tracks in four
different states. He’ll attempt to land his first Grade 1 at Saratoga in
2012 in the Forego with Shackleford, who breezed four furlongs on the main track in 50.97 seconds on Monday.
Shackleford, winner of the Grade 1
Metropolitan Handicap in May, is looking to make amends after finishing
eighth in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap in the mud on
“He just went really easy, just to let
him stretch his legs a little bit,” said Romans of Shackleford, who is
owned by Michael Lauffer, W.D. Cubbedge, and Phillips Racing
Partnership. “He went good, came back good, and looked happy. It’s hard
to get him to go that slow. You have to trick him [to make him think]
he’s galloping. You just ease him into it, let him get a little closer
all the time, and let him think he’s galloping. He’s done enough. It’s
not a matter of fitness. Just keep him sharp. As long he comes back
good tomorrow [we’ll run in the Forego]. He walked good this morning
after the work. If everything goes well tomorrow, we’ll be in the
entries [for the Forego].”
Romans also confirmed Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame winner Quick Wit for Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Saranac for 3-year-olds on the turf.