06/18/2010 12:00AM

Paddy O'Prado back on turf

Tom Keyser
Paddy O'Prado, third in this year's Kentucky Derby, will be favored in Saturday's Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup.

Paddy O'Prado, the third-place finisher in this year's Kentucky Derby, has the resume to deserve favoritism in the Grade 2, $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup on Saturday at Colonial Downs in Virginia. But a handful of other up-and-coming 3-year-olds in the 1 3/16-mile turf race could pose problems for him as he returns to turf following a disappointing run in the Preakness Stakes.

Trainer Dale Romans has put two turf works into Paddy O'Prado at Churchill Downs since his sixth-place finish in the Preakness, including one bullet at five furlongs June 8. Though his last three starts have been on dirt or an artificial surface, Paddy O'Prado has plenty of experience on the turf, with a record of one win from five starts on the grass, including his maiden score in the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 6.

The Turf Cup is the 10th race on Colonial's Saturday card, with a scheduled post time of 5:19 p.m. Eastern.

Doubles Partner, trained by Todd Pletcher, is the obvious second choice in the field of seven and will perhaps vie for favoritism with Paddy O'Prado. A son of Rock Hard Ten, Doubles Partner is undefeated in three starts on the turf, including his most recent race, the Grade 2 American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs on April 30. In that race, he used a powerful mid-race move to overwhelm his eight rivals and ran the last five-sixteenths of the 1 1/8-mile race in a flat 30 seconds while never seriously threatened.

The Turf Cup's most experienced runner is Dean's Kitten, who hasn't raced since finishing 14th in the sloppy Kentucky Derby. Before that, Dean's Kitten had run on the turf eight times, with two victories, and had finished second in the Palm Beach Stakes, which Paddy O'Prado won. Trainer Michael Maker has put two bullet works in Dean's Kitten, a son of Kitten's Joy, in the last two weeks at Churchill Downs.

The consistent Workin For Hops will start from post 2 for trainer Michael Stidham. In his last four starts, all on turf, the colt has three wins, including a score in the $100,000 Arlington Classic on May 22, but Doubles Partner soundly beat him in the American Turf Stakes, and he'll need to improve several lengths off that effort to contend.

Filling out the field are Kindergarden Kid, the longshot Vamos a Ver, and Two Notch Road, who brings a two-race win streak into the Turf Cup, with both wins on the grass at Monmouth.