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Dale Romans grew up on the Churchill Downs backstretch learning his trade from longtime trainer and father Jerry Romans. The Louisville, Ky native just missed winning the 2010 Kentucky Derby when Paddy O’ Prado finished a game third. Dullahan was a fast closing third in Kentucky Derby 138 and would follow that up with a win in the G-1 Pacific Classic. In 2011 he won his first Classic race when Shackleford captured The Preakness Stakes. He saddled Court Vision to an upset win in the Breeders Cup Turf Mile in 2011 and captured the Breeders Futurity with Dullahan. 2012 was a banner year for the Romans stable with wins by Shackleford in the G-1 Met Mile and G-1 Clark Handicap and Little Mike's gallant victories in the G-1 Woodford Reserve, Arlington Million and Breeders' Cup Turf. His other top runners include O'Prado Again, Sassy Image, First Dude, Kitten’s Joy, Tapitsfly, and Roses in May.
Donegal Racing is a partnership that was formed in 2008 and is managed by Jerry Crawford who has been involved in horse ownership for over 30 years. The name refers to the Irish county of origin of the Donegal family and the racing silks as well as the names of the partnership horses reflect the Irish heritage. The group campaigned Paddy O’Prado who finished third in the 2010 Kentucky Derby. Along with Dullahan, Donegal Racing was represented by G-2 winner O’Prado Again in 2011.
Cleburne is nicely bred, with a pedigree sporting several ties to the Kentucky Derby.
He is by Dixie Union, a notable juvenile of 1999 who captured the Norfolk, Best Pal and Hollywood Juvenile Championship. Although he missed the Triple Crown races at three, Dixie Union went on to land the Haskell Invitational and Malibu later in the 2000 season.
A representative of the all-conquering sire line of Northern Dancer, the 1964 Kentucky Derby hero, Dixie Union has sired notable runners in the past two editions of the Run for the Roses. His son Union Rags, seventh in the 2012 Derby, came back to win the Belmont, and Overanalyze won the 2013 Arkansas Derby before finishing 11th at Churchill Downs.
Dixie Union was emerging as a terrific young sire when he sadly died in July 2010. Cleburne, conceived in his very last season at stud, could add to his legacy.
Cleburne is the first foal produced by Joyful, a three-time winner who equaled a course record for 1 1/16 miles on the Laurel Park turf.
Joyful is a daughter of the highly-successful Distorted Humor, the sire of 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness-winning champion Funny Cide. Other notables by Distorted Humor include Drosselmeyer, victor of the 2010 Belmont and 2011 Breeders' Cup Classic, and 2005 Travers star Flower Alley (himself the sire of 2012 Derby and Preakness champ I'll Have Another).
Joyful is a half-sister to Fifty Stars, the winner of the 2001 Louisiana Derby who wound up ninth in that year's Kentucky Derby.
Cleburne comes from the family of the top-class turf performer Reine Mathilde, winner of a pair of Group 2 races in France as well as the 1984 E.P. Taylor at Woodbine. Cleburne's great-granddam (third dam), Gay Matelda, captured such major races as the 1968 Alabama, and his fourth dam, Hasty Matelda, took the 1963 Matron.
Cleburne is inbred to the aforementioned Northern Dancer, Mr. Prospector and 1977 Triple Crown legend Seattle Slew.
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