04/09/2012 2:57PM

Keeneland notes: Dullahan has barn's confidence

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Tom Keyser
Dullahan had a best-of-the-day five-furlong workout on Sunday over the Polytrack.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Compared to Paddy O’Prado, Dullahan already has quite a head start on the Triple Crown trail. While Paddy O’Prado was a late-blooming type who needed to get into the Kentucky Derby through the back door two years ago, Dullahan already has sufficient graded earnings to make the Derby field after winning the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity last fall at Keeneland.

Now the same connections – Donegal Racing and trainer Dale Romans – are hoping Dullahan can make the same kind of impression that Paddy O’Prado did in finishing second in the Blue Grass Stakes and third in the Derby in 2010. Romans shipped Dullahan from his Churchill Downs base to Keeneland on Sunday morning for a final prerace work, which the chestnut colt accomplished by going a bullet five furlongs in 57.40 seconds over Polytrack.

“He came out of it great,” Romans said Monday morning. “He’s in great shape. Even though the work was fast, it was done the right way. We’re going in with some confidence because we know how well he ran over the Poly last fall.”

Dullahan, with Kent Desormeaux to ride again, is one of as many as 14 3-year-olds expected for the Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass, for which entries will be drawn Wednesday morning at the annual breakfast draw. A notable new prospect surfaced Monday morning for the 1 1/8-mile race when trainer Gennadi Dorochenko informed Keeneland officials he intends to run back Hero of Order, the 109-1 winner of the Louisiana Derby, off 12 days’ rest.

Hansen, the 2-year-old champion of 2011 and a three-length winner of the March 3 Gotham Stakes, will be the Blue Grass favorite.

Ward barn a hot one

Wesley Ward was the only trainer to win more than one race during the two-day opening weekend of the 15-day spring meet, sending out three winners and two runners-up from his five starters. Ward also was hot at Woodbine at the same time, winning five races in three days there (Friday-Sunday).

Ward has starters in three races here the next two days, including New Believer – a remarkable 6 for 6 lifetime at Keeneland – in the third race Wednesday, and a pair of 2-year-olds in a maiden race Thursday.

On the flip side, Julien Leparoux had a rough first two days, winning with just 1 of 12 mounts, including a handful of favorites. Leparoux has won or tied for six of the last 12 riding titles here.

Kobiskie in the mix

His statistics say 0 for 0, but that’s for Keeneland. Back on his home Maryland circuit, however, trainer Dane Kobiskie has been sensational, going 34-for-81 as leading trainer at the recently ended Laurel Park meet.

Kobiskie, a 32-year-old former Marine, has entered All About Her in the second race Wednesday and has two more entries for Thursday. He actually got his start as an apprentice rider on the Kentucky circuit, riding for several months at Churchill and Ellis Park in 2005.

Daddy Nose Best breezes

At Churchill, Daddy Nose Best had his first workout since he captured the March 25 Sunland Derby, breezing five furlongs Monday morning in 1:02.40 over a fast track.

“I loved how he went,” said trainer Steve Asmussen. “He went over the racetrack really well and he’s in great physical shape.”

◗ David Schneck of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association reports that about 1,800 students registered for the College Day scholarship raffle on Friday, opening day. Eight of the 10 winners of the $1,000 scholarships were local, while the other two were won by students at Oregon State University and Wake Forest. The KTA sponsors the raffles with the host tracks.

◗ Late nominations for the May 4 Kentucky Oaks and May 5 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic are due Wednesday, along with nominations to 10 other Derby-week stakes at Churchill.