10/16/2010 2:20PM

First Dude tunes up for Breeders' Cup Classic

Barbara D. Livingston
First Dude, shown exercising in June, had a good five-furlong breeze Saturday at Churchill Downs in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic.

A little less than three weeks from the first of two days of Breeders’ Cup racing at Churchill Downs, the Churchill backstretch has come alive with potential Breeders’ Cup starters working toward their respective races.

Foremost among the Breeders’ Cup hopefuls working Saturday morning at Churchill was First Dude, the runner-up in the Pennsylvania Derby in his last start Sept. 25, who breezed five furlongs in 1:00.20 in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“He did it good, really good,” said trainer Dale Romans. “He was full of energy and within himself.”

The work, which came without company shortly after the morning renovation break, was the second fastest of 40 breezes at the five-furlong distance Saturday morning at Churchill.

Romans added that the Breeders’ Cup status of stablemate Paddy O’Prado remains undecided. His owner, Jerry Crawford of Donegal Racing, is weighing whether to start the colt in the Breeders’ Cup Turf or the Nov. 28 Japan Cup.

“I told Jerry I’d like to know by the end of the week,” Romans said.

One of the most dominant turf runners in America, Paddy O’Prado is targeted for a breeze next Saturday, two days before pre-entries need to be made on Monday, Oct. 25.

Also working after the renovation break Saturday morning was Tell a Kelly, one of the leading candidates for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile fillies, who breezed a half-mile in 48.60 seconds.

With Calvin Borel up, she went in splits of 12.40 seconds, 24.00, and 36.20, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols. He timed her galloping out five furlongs in 1:02.60.

Tell a Kelly, a daughter of Tapit trained by John Sadler, won the Grade 1 Darley Debutante this summer at Del Mar this summer before running second to Rigoletta in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf on Oct. 3 during the Oak Tree at Hollywood Park meeting.

After training previously over synthetic tracks on the West Coast, Saturday’s work marked her first published breeze over a dirt track. Her time was .80 of a second off the fastest half-mile breeze of the morning, a 48-second drill recorded by My Jen, winner of the Grade  2 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont, who is being pointed toward the Filly and Mare Turf Sprint.

◗ Blame, the winner of the Grade 1 Stephen Foster and Whitney handicaps this summer who is prepping for the Classic, was scheduled to have his first breeze since finishing second in the Oct. 2 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Sunday at Keeneland.