Pin It

Donegal Racing Back in Kentucky Derby Spotlight

dullahan

Jerry Crawford of Donegal Racing knows what it’s like on the Kentucky Derby stage.

Crawford’s Donegal Racing will be represented in Saturday’s Derby with Dullahan, a half-brother to Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. The partnership group finished third with Paddy O’Prado in the 2010 Kentucky Derby.

“We didn’t know what to expect with Paddy,” Crawford told Churchill Downs Communications this week. “We have a higher level of confidence and expectation with this horse. He’s more tactical and doesn’t have to be from out of the clouds, though I expect he’ll be in the back in the field, but not 20th, but in the back half early on.”

Dullahan, like Paddy O’Prado, is trained by Dale Romans and will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux.

“The great thing about having a Hall of Fame rider and three-time Derby winner like Kent on your team is that I don’t have to worry about that. I have tremendous confidence in him once the race starts.”

As for Dullahan, winner of Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes (G1) in his last start, Crawford is confident heading into the biggest race of the colt’s young career.

“He’s perfect,” Crawford said. “I couldn’t be any happier. I love how he’s peaking for the race and I love the pace set-up.

“And the rumor is not true that we paid for Trinniberg’s entrance fee,” he said jokingly of the likely pacesetter in the Derby.

Dullahan has 20 partners in his Donegal ownership syndicate, many of the same that invested in Paddy O’Prado. Crawford said more than half of the ownership group is from Iowa, where he is based. On the Donegal Racing website, the Donegal philosophy is spelled out for potential investors:  “We work to identify and buy horses that can run a classic distance and make it to the Kentucky Derby. Period.”

–Churchill Downs Communications contributed to this report.

Jerry Crawford of Donegal Racing with Dullahan following the Blue Grass Stakes/Keeneland photo

Fan Poll: Who will win the 2012 Kentucky Derby?