10/27/2012 3:43PM

Breeders' Cup: Decision on Dullahan's race no clearer after main-track work

Barbara D. Livingston
Dullahan, with exercise rider Tammy Fox up, works five furlongs on the main track in 1:00.12 on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – With 48 hours until the deadline as to whether to enter Dullahan in the Breeders’ Cup Turf or the Classic next Saturday, trainer Dale Romans was no closer to a decision Saturday morning at Santa Anita after watching Dullahan work on the main track.

Not even the tempting bribe of a freshly baked cookie could pry the information. Told he could have one for a good quote, Romans responded, “Dullahan’s running in the Classic!”

He quickly added, “You said good quote. Does it have to be the truth?”

Truth be told, Romans doesn’t know what to do. Nor does his partner, Tammy Fox, who worked Dullahan on the Santa Anita turf last Saturday and was aboard for a five-furlong work Saturday that Daily Racing Form clocked in 1:00.12.

“He worked very well over the dirt,” Romans said. “Tammy said he went just as well on the dirt as he did on the turf.

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“She wasn’t a lot of help,” Romans said, smiling. “She said, ‘If you want to run him on the dirt, he’ll handle it.’ Usually she’s a little more opinionated than that.”

Romans said he will leave the decision to Jerry Crawford, who heads the Donegal Racing partnership that owns Dullahan.

The decision is a difficult one, because neither race appears ideal. The distance of the Classic, 1 1/4 miles, is perfect, being as Dullahan won at that distance in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. But that race, as with his other two wins, came on Polytrack. Dullahan is winless in six dirt races, though he was third in the Kentucky Derby, also at 1 1/4 miles.

Dullahan is winless in four grass races, but has finished in the money three times. However, the distance of the Turf, 1 1/2 miles, is a huge question mark, since Dullahan never has raced that far.

Final entries for all 15 Breeders’ Cup races are due Monday morning, after which post positions will be drawn. That is when the decision must be made regarding Dullahan. He cannot enter both races, then have a decision made later in the week.

“I’m happy with him,” Romans said. “It’s just a difficult decision.”

Asked if a prominent defection from either race might have an impact, Romans said, “It’s more about the surface.”

Dullahan was one of four Romans runners to work Saturday and was one of more than two dozen Breeders’ Cup horses who turned in their final works at Santa Anita. After a fairly quiet Friday, it was frenetic after each renovation break Saturday morning, and that pace figured to continue Sunday, too.

Earlier in the morning, Romans sent out Shackleford for a five-furlong drill that Daily Racing Form timed in 1:00.07. As with Dullahan, he went by himself, with Fox aboard.

“Shackleford worked as good as he could,” Romans said. “He’s my one I think should win.”

[BREEDERS' CUP WORKOUTS: Full DRF coverage, Mike Welsch video reports]

Romans also worked Little Mike (1:01.76) and Moonwalk (1:01.29) five furlongs on turf. Each went solo. Little Mike is pre-entered in the Mile on turf and the Turf. Moonwalk is in the Juvenile Fillies Turf as is Sustained, who Romans said was to work Sunday or Monday.

Romans’s sixth BC runner, Juvenile Turf entrant Summit County, was scheduled to fly to California on Sunday from Churchill Downs.

Among the marquee names to work here Saturday was the unbeaten Executiveprivilege, expected to be one of the top choices in the Juvenile Fillies on Friday. She worked six furlongs in 1:14.48.

Love and Pride, who won the Zenyatta Stakes one month ago in her West Coast debut, was left out here by trainer Todd Pletcher and has continued to shine. She worked an easy half-mile in 48.69 seconds in preparation for the star-studded Ladies’ Classic on Friday.

Across town at Betfair Hollywood Park, another half-dozen BC runners worked, including trainer Mike Mitchell’s pair of Camp Victory (five furlongs, 1:00.20) for the Turf Sprint and Obviously (six furlongs, 1:12.60) for the Mile on turf.

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch