Trainer Dale Romans expressed disappointment following Dullahan’s seventh-place finish in
Saturday’s Belmont Stakes but said he is eagerly anticipating next
year’s Triple Crown series.
“I can’t wait until next year,” said Romans.
“Hopefully, we’ll have another one. Emotionally, the highs, the
lows, the battles, but I want to do it every year.”
Romans admitted he wrongfully expected Dullahan, who went off as the
5-2 favorite, to run a huge race in the Belmont.
“I’m usually not that wrong with them,” said Romans.
“I’m wrong about a lot of things, but usually with the horses
I’m not. You can know your horse is doing good, but there are so many
other factors that play into a race, and if the other horses are doing well
Dullahan, a two-time Grade 1 winner on Keeneland’s Polytrack, is
winless in five starts on dirt but was a fast-closing third in the Kentucky
Derby and fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Churchill Downs’
conventional main track. Romans remains adamant that the Donegal Racing
color-bearer is capable of winning big races on dirt.
“I don’t think he was handling the track [in the Belmont
Stakes]; it was deep and cuppy,” said Romans. “I haven’t
given up on him being a dirt horse. I think he needs it a little
Romans suggested that Dullahan might have performed better if the Belmont main track was
like it had been when the colt breezed four furlongs in 45.97 six days before
“[The track] was little tighter on Sunday,” said Romans.
“We had that rain. I was hoping we’d get a little water on it
yesterday. It would have helped us.”
With Dullahan being a dual Grade 1 winner on Polytrack, a stakes winner
on turf, and Classic-placed on dirt, Romans and Donegal have many options to
choose from going forward.
“I have no idea [what his next start might be],” said
Romans. “We’ll sit down and talk the next few days. We’ll
figure it out.”
By any other standard, Romans had an excellent Saturday as he landed
two stakes: Belmont’s Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Just a Game with Tapitsfly, who shot to the early lead and
turned back Winter Memories to prevail in stakes-record time, and Churchill
Downs’ Opening Verse with Guys Reward.
“Nobody was going to catch [Tapitsfly] the way she ran
yesterday,” said Romans. “She came home in 22 and change. You gotta
run awful fast to make up ground into that. This is a good mare, and
she’s getting better all the time. She loves to race and loves to run; it
makes her better. She’s one of those where the more you do the more she
Although Romans said one mile is probably Tapitsfly’s optimum
distance, he said the 5-year-old will be pointed for the Grade 1, $600,000
Diana at 1 1/8 miles on July 28 at Saratoga Race Course.
“[The Diana is] something we’ll think about,” said
Romans. “I think she can stretch, but I do think a mile is the best
distance for her. It depends on who is going to be there, but we’ll point
in that direction.”