10/03/2012 2:59PM

Breeders' Cup Classic: Dullahan among those with multiple options

Benoit & Associates
Dullahan battles with Game On Dude in the Pacific Classic.

The versatility of Dullahan has afforded his connections the opportunity to run him on dirt, turf, and Polytrack, yet, as far as the Breeders’ Cup goes, there is nothing that is truly perfect for him. The Mile on turf might be too short, the 1 1/2 miles of the Turf might be too far, and though 1 1/4 miles is certainly right up his alley, as proven by his victory in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar, Dullahan never has rolled a strike on dirt.

Still, the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 3, at 1 1/4 miles on dirt, remains the preference for Dullahan, according to his trainer, Dale Romans. But Dullahan will prep for the Breeders’ Cup this weekend in a 1 1/8-mile grass race, the Grade 1, $400,000 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park, after which he will be sent to California, where his Breeders’ Cup status will be determined.

The Jamaica’s distance “gives us the opportunity to back up to a mile, we can still stretch him out to the mile and a half, or go back to the mile and a quarter on dirt,” Romans said.

That makes Dullahan one of several potential Classic runners still sitting astride the fence. Jockey Club Gold Cup runner-up Stay Thirsty could run in the Classic or the Dirt Mile, or bypass both and await the Cigar Mile, trainer Todd Pletcher said. Nonios is under consideration for the Classic following his second-place finish to Game On Dude in the Awesome Again last Saturday, but trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said he is considering the Dirt Mile, too.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: DRF top 10 lists, video replays, latest news]

To Honor and Serve is likely to run in the Classic, but the Dirt Mile is a back-up plan. And though Fed Biz is more likely for the Dirt Mile than the Classic – if he competes in a Breeders’ Cup race at all – more will be known after he runs in the Grade 2, $500,000 Indiana Derby on Saturday at Hoosier.

The other race with Classic implications on Saturday is the Grade 2, $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup, in which Alternation drew post 1 in a field of seven.

The Breeders’ Cup is now four weeks away, but Romans said he intends to send Dullahan out to California as soon as he can “to train over the racetrack a little bit.” He said he would rely heavily on his partner, exercise rider Tammy Fox, to determine how Dullahan is handling the Santa Anita dirt.

“If she tells me he just bounces over it like he does the synthetic, it’s a little tighter, a little firmer like he likes it, then we’d have to think very seriously about the Classic,” Romans said on a national teleconference.

Romans said there’s no telling if Dullahan has reached his peak.

If Dullahan goes to the Classic, that could present a tough call for jockey Joel Rosario, who has been riding Dullahan, and was aboard Flat Out for his Jockey Club Gold Cup victory. The possibility of having to make a rider switch for the Classic would not sway Romans to instead go in a grass race, he said.

“It’ll just be surface – if he goes out there and works like he belongs on that surface,” Romans said. That, more than anything, “will be the deciding factor.”


Infinity More than 1 year ago
Doing this colt WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Richard More than 1 year ago
I think the best thing to do with Dullahan is to wait for next year and get a good rest. He missed his chances for any of the good races that were left on polytrack, which is what he is good at. As far as the Dubai World Classic, I would let it go. Correct me if I am wrong, but the last American horse I remember winning the Dubai World Classic was Silver Charm when he was a 4 year old, and that was on dirt. Dullahan is one of this year’s best crop of 3 year olds that came out in good shape and has a future. Shacleford was the best of the 3 year olds last year in my opinion! This says a lot in favor of Dale Romans who it seems does not burn out his horses like some other trainers! Dullahan is still a young horse with the best ahead of him, now that they now what surface he prefers. Don’t make a fool of him, because I do not think he is going to fit in any spot at this year’s Breeders Cup.
Richard More than 1 year ago
I have to correct myself but reading about Frankel I noticed that Curlin won the Dubai World Cup Classic in 2008, but I am almost positive that the Dubai track in 2008 was dirt. I remember The 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Hollywood Park on polytrack and Curlin came in fourth. His trainer Steve Amussen had complained that it was a turf race. The foreign dirt horses did well at that 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Five More than 1 year ago
You read it here first. Pick your poison, Dullahan will not hit the board, no matter which BC race they pick, and regardless of the track condition, souped or non-souped. He will be beaten by 2 factors, dirt/turf, and better class horses.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
You are not the first to put a knock on this Colt and that has not stopped him from earnings of $1,700,000 and change so he's found boards to hit somehow. Go Doolly!
Robin Dawson More than 1 year ago
I agree. Dullahan has been the best of a bad lot and both he and Game on Dude, as was shown up in the Dubai World Cup, are two very average horses who have profited from strange surfaces, lack competition and good ol' American medication. That they are being championed as the US's best hopes for this year's Breeders' Cup just goes to show how bad things are, because they ain't gonna get nuthin'.
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
I agree 110%. Over 1/2 his career earnings were in two poly races.
Dawood K More than 1 year ago
N O N I O S Look out for the steal of his life in the classic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the only way nonios could win is if it was a three horse race and two of the gates didnt open
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Hey anonayou. Why don't you sign your 'work.'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i told u already chadrick............im doung undercover work for the drf ok? so back off before i sig joy on you.
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
another with zero chance. A middling horse in a bad 3yo bunch
PeterG More than 1 year ago
How similar is the Santa Anita dirt to the Churchill dirt because Churchill is where Dullahan ran his best dirt race, the Kentucky Derby, which he lost by only 1.5 lengths at the 10 furlong distance of the Classic. Answer that question and you might find yourself a nice priced winner. And I believe he was working well on the Belmont surface before the Belmont Stakes so workouts can be deceiving as everybody knows. I remember some comments after the Belmont that the harder faster dirt surface at Santa Anita would be a lot better for him. Belmont was "cuppy" on Belmont Stakes day. Dullahan is 0 for 3 on turf by the way.
PeterG More than 1 year ago
And we all know Dullahan lost to 2 drugged up horses in the Derby right? (Bodemeister and I'll Have Another) ha ha
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
IHA was definately drugged,Bode,maybe.
Coniah Boda More than 1 year ago
I hope he's has good on turf as he is on synthetic. Sadly, turf horses don't get enough attention from the media and the average horse racing fan. Dullahan got some exposure to the public because of the Derby and it would be awesome to get more TURF horse racing fans.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
That's quite a little chess match being played by a lot of trainers about a lot of good horses running in the Breeders' Cup races. - LOL. Watching the wheels turn has been fascinating. The trainers plotting their master strategies for these races has certainly been plenty entertaining. - LOL.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOL.............blah blah about some chess move with trainers involved LOL..........AND THEN THEY PLOT on entertaining us-LOL!!!
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Why won't you sign in?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
im doing under cover work for the drf to get a few giggles!!! u know lighten things up a bit so we dont die from bordom from joys comments!!
Perl More than 1 year ago
He should probably not run in the Breeder's Cup. Focus on running in the big Keeneland stakes where he'll be practically unbeatable on the plastic. 12 furlongs is too far. His half brother Mine That Bird couldn't get 12f and I doubt he can either. His best shot to win is the BC Turf Mile. But if I owned this horse I'd be all about getting him ready for the $10m Dubai World Cup on the Plastiturf in March.
Ryan Carey More than 1 year ago
Perl, what are you talking about. Mine That BIrd won the Kentucky derby and ran a decent race in the Belmont? Dullahan is going to the CLASSIC.
Keith Strouhal More than 1 year ago
yes , Mine That Bird would have won the Belmont easy if Calvin hadn't moved to early on him.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Mine that bird didn't even hold on for second on the Belmont. He wouldnt have beaten summer bird that day under any circumstances. The breeding says 12f is too far for these horses. Big difference between 10 and 12f and. It also seems fairly conclusive that dullahan doesn't want dirt.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Bet early and bet often.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
I'd hate to find myself in a card game against Romans and I'd really hate it if 'Nita watched him train Doolly out there n then hop the surface...
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
The surface will be fast on BC Classic day. No matter how Dullahan handles it. Every track is unusually fast for hyped races. Except Philly. That was laughable for Cotillion.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
About Philly, the rail had been dead for quite a time as a friend up there told me about a week before their big day... I want to underscore the hope that Romans and his horse(s) don't get ascrewin from the 'Nita. If they jack the track I hope he scratches.