The 3-year-old son of Even the Score used his strong closing kick under Joel Rosario to run down Game on Dude in deep stretch to win by a half-length. He covered the 1 ¼ miles in 1:59.54, eclipsing Acclamation’s previous record of 2:00.61 set last year. Winner of the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) earlier this year and the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) as a juvenile, Dullahan is conditioned by Dale Romans.
“They didn’t give me any special instructions,” said Rosario. “Just said the obvious: he’s a closer, save ground if you can, then make a late run. It worked out perfectly. He’s a one-paced horse. He just goes and goes. When we went for home and I saw (Game On Dude) in front of me, I knew I had a big chance. My horse was coming and coming. He doesn’t stop. He’s a nice horse; a very nice horse.”
With the win, Dullahan also became the fourth horse to qualify for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). He joins Ron the Greek, Game on Dude and Fort Larned as horses who have earned a berth in this year’s Classic.
“We had a little over 60 people here, which for us is a very small group. But some of us have never found our way out here from Iowa before,” said Jerry Crawford of Donegal.
“ People are going to insist that this is a synthetic horse because he has won three Grade 1s on synthetic. But there’s no one else in the country that has won three Grade 1s on any surface and placed in graded stakes on the turf and finished third in the Kentucky Derby. I would respectfully submit that the question with Dullahan is not what surface can he run on, but what surface can’t he run on?”
“But I knew Joel had a tremendous amount of horse, just from the action of the horse when they turned for home. I thought he would get there, and boy did he.”