Updated on 04/17/2012 2:21PM

Blue Grass: Dullahan uses powerful late kick to reel in Hansen; Kentucky Derby is next

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Dullahan, with Kent Desormeaux riding, goes past the favored Hansen to win the Blue Grass.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Dullahan stamped himself as one of the favorites for the 138th Kentucky Derby and put himself in the record books by rolling past favored Hansen to win the 88th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes on a warm Saturday afternoon at Keeneland.

With Kent Desormeaux aboard for the Donegal Racing partnership and trainer Dale Romans, Dullahan prevailed by 1 1/4 lengths over front-running Hansen, returning $8.40 as the second choice in a field of 13 3-year-olds. The chestnut colt became the first horse to win the Breeders' Futurity at 2 and the Blue Grass at 3 since the great Round Table did it in 1956-57.

"I'm absolutely thrilled," said Romans, a Louisville native and resident who, like most trainers, has made winning the Derby his Number 1 goal. "We're going home with a major threat to win the Kentucky Derby."

Hansen, the 6-5 choice, finished 2 1/2 lengths before third-place Gung Ho, a 31-1 shot, with Holy Candy (11-1) another length back in fourth.

Dullahan and Hansen already were assured spots in the field for the May 5 Derby because of their prior earnings, so the race brought no major shakeups in the pecking order in that regard.

In front of a record-breaking crowd of 40,617, Hansen broke swiftly under Ramon Dominguez to make a solo lead into the first turn and did not take any pressure going in fractions of 23.10 seconds, 46.64, and 1:11.32 while Dullahan bided his time in 10th. On the far turn, Desormeaux began passing horses along the rail, then swung his mount out for the drive without incurring any traffic trouble. Down the stretch, Dullahan came flying down the middle of the Polytrack surface, going past Hansen with surprising ease for his second victory from eight career starts, finishing the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:47.94. His triumph in the Breeders' Futurity here last fall came as a maiden and makes him a rarity in that his first two career wins both came in Grade 1 events.

"Right at the quarter pole he switched leads, and as soon as he straightened up, there was a big hole that he ran right through," said Desormeaux, the Hall of Fame jockey who already has won the Derby three times. He was very strong all the way to the wire."

Regarding how his horse rated kindly through the early stages, Desormeaux added, "I didn't care where he was, as long as he was floating. He was in the bridle and floating -- which was too good to be true. That horse was trained to the minute. Do it again Dale -- one more time."

Dullahan is by Even the Score out of the mare Mining My Own, which makes him a half-brother to 2009 Derby winner Mine That Bird. He was a $250,000 purchase at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sales. The colt was coming off a second-place finish in the Palm Beach Stakes on the Gulfstream Park turf in his only prior start this year.

Donegal, Romans, and Desormeaux teamed two years ago with Paddy O'Prado, third in the Derby.

After the top four, the order was Howe Great, Prospective, Heavy Breathing, Midnight Crooner, Scatman, Ever So Lucky, Russian Greek, Politicallycorrect, and Hero of Order. All carried 123 pounds.

The day's attendance easily broke the previous mark of 33,821, set on Lexington Stakes Day in April 2007.

Great fanfare was part of the prerace story for the Blue Grass when Hansen, the 2-year-old champion of 2011, was supposed to show up in the paddock with his tail dyed blue. The stewards said several hours before the race that they would permit the spectacle to happen, but when the nearly white colt walked in the saddling area, the color had been washed out of the tail.

Meanwhile, Dr. Kendall Hansen, who named the star colt for himself, surrounded himself all day with a bevy of young ladies, including a trio dressed in flashy white dresses with fake blue horse tails and the word "Hansen" lettered across their backs.

Hansen's loss marks the 10th straight year that the favorite has been defeated in the Blue Grass. It also means the last juvenile champion to win the Blue Grass was Rockhill Native in 1980.

The $2 exacta (6-4) paid $23.60, the $1 trifecta (6-4-2) returned $164.50, and the dime superfecta (6-4-2-9) was worth $148.92.


silver_charm More than 1 year ago
10 days left to the Kentucky Derby & it blows me away to see which horses gets talked up, which played down. The smart horseplayers are the ones setting aside hype & their emotions, 7 just play like they would any tough race.
JW More than 1 year ago
The official chart reads as "DULLAHAN unprepared at the start" . . does anybody agree with this assertion?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Blue Grass race just goes to show everyone how fast this race actually was , and other than Dullahan / Hansen - that was it . Both Colts put in a very game performance in diffrent styles . The more important situation is : they both came back sound and ate / drank well Sunday - Monday morning . That is good news to hear . Hope to hear that about all the Derby contenders . Cant Wait ( May 5th ) Such an Awesome Bunch of Colts . And for a handfull , HAVE YET TO DIS-PLAY 100% OF THEIR TRUE FOUNDATION
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The article didn't say anything about Dullahan's awkward gallop-out. Anybody hear anything about that?
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Stunts like Hansen's owner pulled should be disallowed, especially at Keeneland. Just ask Hansen's Trainer...
Slew32A More than 1 year ago
What stunt did he pull?( just asking, I'm really not sure) I know he stabbed NYRA in the back. They spent alot of money advertising the Wood featuring Hansen that went to waste.
tom More than 1 year ago
Horse Racing is dying and we need somebody to pull in the younger crowd. If my trainer had a problem with me dying my horses tail blue, I would find a new trainer. It wouldn't be too hard, they are a dime a dozen.
Steve Lashomb More than 1 year ago
You have Alpha who checked and came again at the end but couldn't get by a very game Gemologist. Then Hansen and Dullahan. Yeah, Dullahan set the track record but the only way he gets that record is with a hot pace set by Hansen, and he had the perfect trip with Desormeaux finding room on the rail. Union Rags was troubled in his last race, and I think he fires better in Kentucky. Creative Cause is full of heart, and watch out for Mark Valeski BABY...this pony will be 35:1 and has a heart as big as my wallet will be after the 20 ponies cross the line...WHO AM I BETTING?? No clue yet. HA
Steve Lashomb More than 1 year ago
Listening to some of you guys is gut wrenching!! THis is going to be one of the best Kentucky derbys of all time!!
Bruce Baudoux More than 1 year ago
Great race by the winner, no doubt. Can't see him repeating that result in the Derby but best of luck to the connections involved. I believe this edition of the Derby to be a wide open affair at this point in time with several legitimate chances at the top prize. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Dullahan pulled it off, afterall he is a half to that world beater Mine That Bird who showed us all that a mile and a quarter is well within their pedigree. I am not calling for Dullahan to win the race but he is from a decent enough family. Being a huge hockey fan I am naturally drawn to Howe Great as my selection. Poly to dirt, Graham Motion, a grandson of that great Hail To Reason stallion Sunday Silence and a mare from a family of stayers, why not? Good luck to all the first Saturday in May!
Glenn Canady More than 1 year ago
Creative Runs second and Indy runs 3rd
Bruce Baudoux More than 1 year ago
Can you give us the fourth place finisher so we can collect on the Superfecta?
Glenn Canady More than 1 year ago
Union Rags wins the Derby..
Bruce Baudoux More than 1 year ago
Good luck with that prediction Glenn, it seems the other three year olds have caught up to Union Rags now. As imposing as he looks, he tends to hang a little which is a big concern at Louisville with that long stretch. The two that beat him in the Florida Derby are definitely not special colts which raises another red flag with me. All the best to Mike and his crew at Churchill, he knows how to get the job done. So does that sneaky quiet Graham Motion, beware!
Olivia More than 1 year ago
Hang a bit? What races have you been watching? Better watch race replays!
Douglas More than 1 year ago
Bruce , I sure hope your Top Two Colts In your Exacta are amoung those Colts that came out of the KEY RACE ( Breeders Cup Juvenile ) ! Or at least try it on a ticket or two . I am not one bit concerned about Gemologist or Bodemeister rounding out into the Exacta , reguardless of their work-outs at Churchill Downs . Call me foolish or a fool , I will get alot of that in the coming weeks , im sure . The KENTUCKY DERBY seems to be the race that I have created the most Luck in thru-out any other Derby races money wise . Not trying to sound like Mr Know It All ................. that is not me at all ! People that have known me for years know that my judgement of throw outs have been very helpfull in recent years of the KENTUCKY DERBY . The likes of Kenny Mayne , Mike Watchmaker , Brad Free , Byron King .................... we all share opinions time to time . And this year looks more possitive about throw-out because of Top Quality Colts that are Truly conditioned for the task of this pounding Derby .
Rodney Dangerfield More than 1 year ago
I also still think we haven't seen Union Rags best race yet. I also saw something I liked last night from watching the Charles Town races. I saw Julian be very aggressive on Flashy Dresser, and I think Julian will ride a much better race in the Kentucky Derby, than what we saw in the Florida Derby.