June 20, 2010

Oh Paddy O’!

I have news for you folks, the colt who came within a whisker of finishing second in the Kentucky Derby is not a dirt horse. That same horse, who finished second in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes is also not a synthetic horse. His name is Paddy O’Prado and he is a grass horse, and oh baby, what a grass horse he may be.

After the Blue Grass, Kentucky Derby, and a 6th place finish in the Preakness in his last three starts, trainer Dale Romans had his star back on his preferred surface and it resulted in an explosive performance. Showing a turn of foot reserved for superstars of our sport, Paddy O’Prado stalked the moderate pace set by Two Notch Road and quickened to join the leading pack in what seemed like a matter of strides. From there, the American colt, with the Irish name, easily loped away from his competition to an authoritative score in yesterday‘s Colonial Turf Cup. Coasting home under rider Kent Desormeaux, he finished clear by three lengths stopping the timer in a strong 1:54.20 for 1 3/16 miles as the 3-to-2 choice. The win was Paddy’s second straight visually impressive score on the lawn as he also decimated the field in the Palm Beach Stakes in March. In that victory, he became a graded stakes winner despite entering as a maiden.

While the win in the Colonial Turf Cup was only his second win in nine starts, it is clear that Paddy O’Prado has developed into a real talent. A talent that becomes magnified on the lawn for the great looking gray colt. The son of El Prado, out of the Prized mare, Fun House, will now be pointed for the Virginia Derby and then the Secretariat Stakes in August. So turf will now be the focus for Paddy, and an ultimate destination of the Breeders’ Cup Turf in November is in the cards. American three year-olds do not have a great history in the Breeders’ Cup, but this may be a colt up to the task.

It is a rare three-year-old turf horse that looks like he will be able to compete with his older contemporaries at this point in the season, but Paddy O’Prado gives me every indication that he is becoming that type of horse. Obviously, he has a long way to go to be considered as the top turf horse in the nation of any age, but his performances on grass recently rank up there with great turf horses like Mac Diarmida, Manila and Kitten’s Joy at the same time in their career. Those three were all horses who I admired early in their turf careers who were good enough to go on and become champion turf horses at the young age of three.

Can Paddy O’Prado follow in their footsteps? I’ll be watching.

4 comments:

darlene said...

I hope he has found his calling He is a good horse and will be watching too

Amateurcapper said...

Brian,

Perhaps PADDY is just one of those throw back colts...dances lots of dances and can run on anything on a given day.

PADDY reminds me a lot of EXCELLER, not in looks but in skill. The way he dispensed of that field yesterday, not that it was a great bunch, but with surprising energy coming off a grueling Triple Crown season without a break...that brought some serious chills awakening memories of great horses of decades past.

I often recall my younger racing experiences and EXCELLER stood out as a stout turfer. He won multiple, important G.1's on grass in the U.S. and France. He was also classy enough to defeat G.1 dirt horses multiple times and has the distinction of being the only horse ever to beat two Triple Crown winners ('SLEW and AFFIRMED) in the 1978 Jockey Club Gold Cup when it was 1 1/2 miles.

I thought after the Derby 3rd placing he'd be an excellent prospect to run in important turf races around the world. He's already shown the ability to go 1 1/4 miles How glorious would it be to have a top U.S. horse travel abroad and win a G.1 race? The Euros and Japanese are doing it, why can't we?

Brian Zipse said...

I saw Exceller run on the grass and on the dirt Rob...he was a marvelous horse.

Paddy O' reminds me of General Quarters, another gray who I think is best on turf despite being of quality on any surface. General Quarters does not have the explosiveness of Paddy though.

Noble's Promise recently tried...I would love to see an American win something big overseas.

LDP said...

It was extremely impressive, a fantastic turn of foot. I agree he is one interesting horse on the rise when it comes to turf racing.