Race of the Week 2017
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From Coast to Coast

Dullahan for Champion 3-YO?

As I sit here typing this, I can say for certain that Dullahan and the rest of the Pacific Classic contenders have not yet made it back to their respective barns. The excitement emanating from the social media world is nearly tangible; everyone that is a fan of horse racing is talking about the 3-YO that shipped West and beat a field full of excellent older males. Personally I am so excited that it is all I can do to sit still in my chair and not whoop and holler. I have been a fan of Dullahan since I met him at Gulfstream over the winter, and I have backed him in every race despite knowing that dirt is not his favorite surface. Today, he got back to his favorite surface, and boy did he shine! 
Being the 3-YO in a field of older males is tough. Being the out-of-town shipper is tough. But none of that bothered him in the least. For those that said this year’s field was weak, I have to beg to differ. This year’s field consisted of seven Grade 1 winners: Amani, Richard’s Kid, Rail Trip, Jaycito, Dullahan, Suggestive Boy, and Game On Dude. Whoever won this race was going to have to run a big one and would be a deserving winner. Well, Dullahan ran a huge race in record time, and he is a deserving winner.  
Dullahan’s Pacific Classic victory is his second Grade 1 win for the year, which puts him in the elite group of multiple Grade 1 winners in 2012. His win today also gives him that coveted score against his elders, something that adds a little extra “oomph” to his 2012 record. I have said all year that it would take something special for any 3-YO to top I’ll Have Another’s stellar performance at the beginning of the year, and I think that this could be it. Granted, Dullahan is still one Grade 1 win shy of Cookie’s mark and has a few races that will cause naysayers to question his credentials, but it’s only the end of August, and there are still plenty of marquee races to be run. Now, I’m not saying that Dullahan deserves to be named Champion 3-YO off of this race alone, but I am saying that he is worthy of consideration. He has Grade 1 wins; he has a victory against his elders; and, with any luck, he can pad his resume between now and year’s end.  
What he doesn’t have, though, is a win on dirt, which detractors have pointed to already. Dirt is the premier surface in America, but it isn’t the only surface. Most champions are dirt runners, but they don’t have to be. With all of the major 3-YO dirt runners retired, I argue that this would be the year, if any, to buck the trend and make a non-dirt specialist champion. Now is the time, and with the proper credentials, I vote Dullahan for Champion 3-Year Old.


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Older Comments about Dullahan for Champion 3-YO?...

Thanks, Floridaf, It feels good to get a compliment on this site :) I don't get many. I'll actually be rooting for Dullahan to win the honors, I would like to see something different.
Well put, rafirox, and I agree with you completely.
RTG and Stay Thirsty would be awfully tough to beat. I don't mean I want Alpha to win HOY, I'm just saying if he earns the appropriate wins, he would be a consideration. I don't think anyone can match IHA. He won three grade ones, a grade two, was undefeated, won two triple crown races which gets a lot of HOY points, and he beat a fabulous horse in Bodemeister TWICE! That's all I'm saying, I would love to see Dullahan win the award, but the standards to win HOY are set high by IHA. The question is can Dullahan past the standards IHA has set. That would probably mean winning the classic. I don't think he should enter the classic he should enter the BC Turf. I'm completely in for Dullahan winning, but it's not likely.
I agree, rafirox. I don't think Alpha can win the Classic, but I'm doubting his ability to win the JCGC, too. He will be facing older rivals then. Granted, he'll get a weight break for his age, but he'll likely have to contend with Ron the Greek, who I personally hold in high esteem. Another New York monster, Stay Thirsty, is also likely to run in the JCGC. As nice a win as Alpha just had, I'm still not a believer.
I'm with you Floridaf, I would love to see a turf or synthetic horse win, but I don't think that will happen. And the only reason I think Alpha has a SLIGHT chance is because he's already won the Dandy and Travers. IF he can win the Gold Cup than BCC, I would totally consider him, but I'm not sure he can win outside NY. The Classic gets the big points for HOY, but I don't think he can win the classic. And I'm not meaning to take anything away from his fabulous win.
As good as Alpha's Travers win was, rafirox, I don't think that's going to help him win top honors for the division. He hasn't won a race outside of New York, and most people want a champion that can win anywhere. Additionally, just because the American tradition is dirt doesn't mean we can't mix it up sometimes. I would love to see a turf or synthetic horse take home a divisional award that is not specified turf. However, I do agree that Dullahan still needs to do more in order to de-throne I'll Have Another; yesterday was a good start, though.
I think you're craycray
I don't think he can for two reasons: 1. He won't win the classic (if entered) and he is obviuosly a turf or synthetic horse. In america it is generally a dirt horse. Reason #2: IHA's performance and resume can't be matched by Dullahan unless he wins the Classic and another good race before it, whatever that race may be. So, no he can't win Champion 3 year old. The only one with a slight chance is Alpha.
The year isnt over, but I have Ill have another, bodemeister, and then paynter and dully 3/4... After the derby i loaded up on ill have another... in my opinoin one of the most underrated horses of last generation... tactial speed for days and close of some previous good ones like animal kingdom, ron the greek, etc
So much speculation and raised eyebrows over the whole IHA debacle makes HOY award still up for grabs. We'll see.
Great win for Dullahan, but the only way he can win a championship is to win the BC Classic and maybe not even then.
Continued good training and a sensitive ownership helps to make Dullahan shine. He hates the dirt in his face..Too bad he can't develop a more front running style to help his chances on dirt.
You're not the only one to feel that way, Amy, but unfortunately the Eclipse voters don't always look at it like that. My favorite example to cite is last year's 3-YO honors going to Animal Kingdom over the more-deserving (in my opinion) Caleb's Posse. However, given what IHA accomplished before he was retired, I am perfectly fine with him taking home the honors (as was not the case with AK) if no other 3-YO colt manages to top what he accomplished in half a year.
Dullahan is definatly in contention, and praying he stays well, he has quite a good shot. I, personally, feel awarding him Champ 3-YO, would be merited. Too many 3 yr olds can't stay injury-free (granted due to poor training, imho), so why not award it to a healthy horse?? Perhaps this would encourage trainers to be more careful? I mean, I was so upset when Hensen (a big love of mine) was run too far, when he was much the best at shorter distances. This push, this ego driven desire, only produced injury. I knew it was coming, and I am not a rocket scientist. Many other trainers fall into that camp too. Let's award a healthy horse!
That would be great! He did a perfect job in the Pacific millions! Just wish he could run on dirt but hey, on synthetics or turf no one can beat him! God, He is beautiful! What a sight for sore eyes. Thank God, Dullahan, you made my day!! even my year!
IHA's record will be tough to beat, but at this point, Dullahan is the one with the best shot of stealing Champion 3-YO from IHA.
Dullahan is an enigma. His race at Keenland was nothing short of spectacular, Hansen didn't lose he was beaten while runninng a very good race himself. This horse leaves much to be desired on dirt and I don't think anyone knows why. To over take IHA for 3yo HOTY is almost impossible as I see it. An older horse might close out the season good enough to garner HOTY but even that is going to take at least two major win one of them being the classic to beat out IHA.
As good as he was yesterday, I cannot see him overtaking what I'll Have Another has done this year: 4 of 4 - Robert Lewis, Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby, Preakness.

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.


Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.


An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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