08/27/2012 3:33PM

Del Mar: Pacific Classic stars headed in different directions

Shigeki Kikkawa
Dullahan and Game On Dude finish one-two in the Pacific Classic.

DEL MAR, Calif. – The top finishers in the Pacific Classic on Sunday at Del Mar all came out of the race in good order, their connections said Monday morning, but the paths each will take in coming months could not be more different.

Dullahan, who won in his first start against older rivals, is returning to Churchill Downs, where he is based with trainer Dale Romans. He won a fees-paid berth to the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita through the “Win and You’re In” program, but he is not certain to run in that race, being as he is winless on dirt. He has won all three of his starts on synthetic surfaces, specifically Polytrack, all in Grade 1 races.

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Romans, who is at Saratoga for the summer, on Monday morning said he’d probably “look for something on the grass” for Dullahan’s next start. He left the Mile, Turf, and Classic open as possibilities for the Breeders’ Cup.

Jerry Crawford, who heads the Donegal Racing partnership that owns Dullahan, said the long-range goal for Dullahan would be the Dubai World Cup next March. That race is run on the synthetic surface Tapeta.

Crawford, who works in politics in Iowa, started campaigning for Dullahan for an Eclipse Award.

“Coming out here and beating Game On Dude and Richard’s Kid stamps him as the 3-year-old horse of the year,” Crawford said, saying Dullahan has as many Grade 1 wins as I’ll Have Another, who won three Grade 1 races this year before his retirement in June. Dullahan has two this year, and one last year.

Game On Dude was second and Richard’s Kid third in the Pacific Classic. Both will make their next starts at the autumn meeting at Santa Anita, and both are being pointed to the BC Classic.

“It was a good day, other than getting beat,” said Game On Dude’s trainer, Bob Baffert, who won three races on Sunday, including with Capital Account in the Pat O’Brien Stakes for sprinters. “Dullahan’s a good horse. I thought Dude was home free. He ran a great race, a winning race. He didn’t get beat by a bad horse.

“We’ll get up to Santa Anita and decide whether to run him fresh in the Breeders’ Cup,” Baffert said.

If Game On Dude has a prep, it would be in the Grade 1, $250,000 Awesome Again Stakes, formerly the Goodwood, on Sept. 29 at Santa Anita.

Chantal Sutherland, who rode Game On Dude, dropped her left rein nearing the sixteenth pole, but neither she nor Baffert said it impacted the order of finish.

“When I went for my left-handed stick, my rein went with it,” Sutherland said. “It was a little sloppy to lose my left line. My right line was still tight.”

Richard’s Kid, who finished a troubled third while bidding to become the first three-time winner of the Pacific Classic, “looks really, really good,” Dennis O’Neill, the brother of trainer Doug O’Neill, said Monday morning. Doug O’Neill currently is on suspension, and his horses are being overseen by assistant Leandro Mora.

“We’re probably going to sit on him until the Breeders’ Cup,” Dennis O’Neill said.

The Classic?

“Absolutely,” he responded.

Richard’s Kid was even with Dullahan nearing the far turn, but Dullahan went wide under Joel Rosario and was in the clear, while Richard’s Kid went inside under Victor Espinoza and had to wait when the tiring Riveting Reason backed up into his path.

Rail Trip, who finished fourth, already earned a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile through his victory last month in the San Diego Handicap.

Suggestive Boy, who finished fifth in his first star t on anything other than turf, “came back good,” according to Dan Landers, the assistant to trainer Ron McAnally.

Landers said he was not sure whether Suggestive Boy would return to turf for his next start, or try dirt at Santa Anita.

“We’ve got quite a few options,” he said.

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch

JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Dude likes being piloted by Chantal, he responds well to her. He responds by running extremely well for her, they have excellent rapport. BB knows that. He's not going to mess with that and take her off of the ride on Dude. Besides, BB tends to be a fair-minded person. When he does take a jockey off a horse, it's usually because the jock made a game-changing mistake, and losing the rein on Dude was not game changing in this race. Dude's dislike of polytrack, more than anything else, plus the fact that Dullahan is a beast on any poly surface, were the game-changers and the difference in the Pacific Classic. No one was going to beat Dullahan yesterday on that surface. Yesterday was just Dullahan's type of surface and Dullahan's day.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I meant Sunday was Dullahan's day.
Jerome Moynihan More than 1 year ago
well said. and I agree that BB will stay with Sutherland. Dullahan was the best horse in the Classic. End of story.
Geir Stabell More than 1 year ago
What was Dullahan's best performance prior to the Pacific Classic? In the Kentucky Derby of course. This horse stays and stays, and must go for the BC Classic. Dubai World Cup also makes sense but it's a long way off. Geir Stabell / www.globeform.com
Perl More than 1 year ago
His best performance prior to the classic was in the Blue Grass, IMO. He's not a dirt horse and will be an easy bet-against in the Classic. The evidence thus far is fairly compelling.
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
Paynter has a" very high fever'. alarming . being treated by Dr. Cheney at a clinic near del mar. very sad. hoping for the best.
Boom Dizzle More than 1 year ago
All of Bob Bafferts front runners been getting run down in the creme de la creme G1s..none of them sustain their speed unless its running in a local G1..if its a national G1 with shippers from all over country and even outside the country they never make it
jg777 More than 1 year ago
You, sir are an idiot. He has shipped to win the Arkansas Derby, Acorn, Haskell, and Test (all G1's) in 2012. That is more G1's than most trainers will win in a life time, and those are just his 2012 shippers. Get your head out of your you know what.
JDS0810 More than 1 year ago
Really? How about Contested in the G1 Test at Saratoga just this past Sat? He shipped her and won condescendingly. That was just one example and of recency.
Boom Dizzle More than 1 year ago
Contested came from off the pace JD
Sean Perry More than 1 year ago
Look here...the 3 year old of the year is IHA, hands down! Nobody else did what he did and look who he beat in 3 straight Grade 1's, 2 of which were triple crown wins! Enough said.
Clinton Blake More than 1 year ago
In this case you're correct the IHA is the 3yo of the year especially considering head to head. However, let's say Dullahan for example won the JCGC and then came back and won the Classic y shouldn't he be considered the 3yo champ? As significant as the triple crown races are, they're largely contested with an unknown and unproven entities. And I think it should be considered a factor that IHA did make a start after May. The scenario I provided makes it a legitimate discussion.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Maybe we should wait until the end of the year before deciding divisional honors?
Saw Mill Worker More than 1 year ago
Losers " always " have a reason for losing. But a few don't they just admit they were beat by a better horse on that day. Hence: Losers will always be losers in one way or another by not admitting they were beat by a better horse on that day.
Terry Culver More than 1 year ago
It's the 3yo of the year, not the 3yo of the year who performed best ONLY on dirt. Remember that!
Tom Smith More than 1 year ago
dullahan 3yo of the year what a joke
Coniah Boda More than 1 year ago
Seriously man. He's a really good horse, but c'mon now. Comparing what he's done to what I'll Have Another did is just one of the most foolish things ever.
jack barnz More than 1 year ago
What a horrible ride on Richard's Kid, horrible! Should have been a lot closer.
John More than 1 year ago
Im not a Chantal fan, just think she doesnt manuever well, in and out of spots, but she fits this horse. They both are Baffert go to riders, Id tend to think Bob would have to do some explaining to Natalie if he dumped Chantal !NO NOOKIE TONIGHT BOBBY !
Standiforx More than 1 year ago
Given the maturity of that post, I bet you have plenty of first-hand experience on not gettting any.