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Dullahan sizzles ahead of Blue Grass
If his Easter Sunday work at Keeneland is any indication, Dullahan is firing on all cylinders ahead of Saturday's Grade 1 Blue Grass. The Dale Romans trainee blasted five furlongs in a bullet :57 2/5, easily the fastest of 33 moves at the distance on the Polytrack.
The second-best clocking of :58 4/5 was turned in by sprint specialist Comedero, a Grade 3 hero with a total of 10 stakes wins to his credit.
With Tammy Fox in the saddle, Dullahan posted fractions of :11 4/5, :22 4/5, :34 2/5 and :45 2/5, and galloped out six furlongs in 1:10 2/5.
"It was a good work; he worked fast," Romans said.
Dullahan is returning to the scene of his only career victory, but it was a significant one -- the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity last October. On Saturday, he will attempt to join Hall of Famer Round Table (1956-57) as the only horse to win both the Breeders' Futurity and Blue Grass.
The half-brother to 2009 Kentucky Derby shocker Mine That Bird has run well in his other stakes attempts. Third in the Grade 2 With Anticipation on the turf at Saratoga, Dullahan was a rallying fourth after a troubled start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Despite a cough that interrupted his training earlier this winter, Dullahan returned to action with a strong second in the Grade 3 Palm Beach over the Gulfstream Park turf. The chestnut colt then developed a splint injury, but Romans has since said that he is back in good order.
"He popped a splint, he missed some training, but he's doing fine now," Romans told Daily Racing Form on March 28.
In his first work back since the March 12 Palm Beach, Dullahan toured five furlongs on Gulfstream's fast main track in 1:02 on April 1.
Immediately after Sunday's work, Dullahan returned to Churchill Downs, where he will train until shipping back to Keeneland on Blue Grass Day. Romans followed a similar path for the Breeders' Futurity, when Dullahan had a five-eighths work in :58 here before doing his final preparations at Churchill and vanning here the day of the race.
Dullahan's principal rivals in the Blue Grass are likely to be champion Hansen, Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby winner Prospective, Grade 2-placed Ever So Lucky and Palm Beach winner Howe Great.
Also working for the Blue Grass at Keeneland on Sunday was Raconteur, who exits a victory in the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel. The Todd Pletcher pupil breezed his five-eighths in 1:01 2/5.
With exercise rider Melvin Hernandez up and working in company with a three-year-old maiden, Doctor Chit, Raconteur posted fractions of :13, :24 3/5, :36 2/5 and :48. Raconteur raced on the inside of Doctor Chit, who moved ahead in the final yards to complete his move in 1:01 under Matthew Straight.
"He sometimes gets intimidated on the inside," assistant trainer Whit Beckman said. "It looks like he got a little tired, but I'm not too concerned about it."
Raconteur had his first Polytrack work for the Pletcher barn last Sunday with a half-mile in :50.