July 16, 2010

How Far Can Paddy Go?

Quick … what do Kitten’s Joy, Sunshine Forever, Manila, Mac Diarmida, Johnny D., Secretariat, and Run the Gantlet have in common? While I give you a few seconds to mull that over, please read on about the horse I believe most likely to be remembered as a superstar from the foal crop of 2007.

In the $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup last month, Paddy O'Prado who had finished 3rd in the Kentucky Derby and 6th in the Preakness in his previous two outings, went wide coming out of the turn, before making an electrifying move under regular rider Kent Desormeaux to take over from Two Notch Road. From there, he accelerated down the Colonial Downs stretch to win by three lengths over Arlington Classic winner Workin for Hops. To say it was an impressive score would not do it justice. The win in the Turf Cup was only the second career victory for the El Prado colt owned by Jerry Crawford and trained by Dale Romans, a figure that should be on the rise soon.

It was an impressive win to be sure, but how can I predict such lofty heights for a horse with only two victories in nine starts? Easy. Paddy O’Prado is the best turf horse in the nation.

No, not the best three-year-old turf horse, but the best horse running on American grass period. Hyperbole? I don’t think so. The Turf Cup was the best performance by any grass horse this year, and the observant race goer could see it coming. Good performances in the Blue Grass and Kentucky Derby underlined how good this attractive gray colt was getting. He drew raves from those who saw him train up to the Derby. One thing to remember with those performances though, is that they were not on his surface. Paddy O’Prado is a turf horse. Remember his maiden breaking run back in March? Paddy pointed at things to come as he easily dispatched a solid stakes field in the Palm Beach Stakes. That day he blistered the teletimer in 1:45.40 for the nine furlongs over Gulfstream Park’s turf course.

With trainer Romans making the wise decision to skip the Belmont Stakes and focus on grass racing, the sky is now the limit. I see the Colonial Turf Cup as the first of many turf stakes for the future turf champ, continuing tomorrow. Look for Paddy O’Prado to handle a strong field in the Virginia Derby that includes Interactif, Stately Victor, and Krypton. From there it should be on to Chicago for Arlington Million Day as he marches towards the Breeders’ Cup. A march that I see culminating with an Eclipse Award as America’s best turf horse.

Will Paddy O’Prado keep it rolling in the Virginia Derby? Will Dale Romans be so impressed with another win that he enters Paddy O’Prado in the Arlington Million next? Will I be right, and he will become only the eighth American three-year-old to be named turf champion in my lifetime? Stay tuned…

Oh, I almost forgot, the answer to my opening question is: they are the only American three-year-olds to be named turf champion in the past 40 years. But you already had figured that out, now didn’t you?


Chad said...

Good stuff as always Zipster, while we do not share the same opinion on Paddy, he is a very nice horse my only doubts are of him getting 1 1/2 miles. But when someone has a strong feeling about a horse you cannot argue with their passion, just how I have felt about Majesticperfection since he broke his maiden. I hope they both get to the Cup and prove our theories correct.

Brian Zipse said...

Thanks Chad. I see Paddy's breeding (by El Prado out of a Prized mare)as a good indication that the stretch out will be A-OK for the talented youngster ... we shall see. As far as Majesticperfection, you could be right on. The Iowa Sprint was huge.

LDP said...

I think he is by far and away the best 3yr old turfer, but the Arlington Million should provide him with a huge test should he and Gio Ponti meet there. Male turf horse could very well be near decided in that race.

railrunner said...

Great post as always. I love Paddy O'Prado as well but I think Gio Ponti is still the best turf horse in the nation. It would be great to see them meet up in the Million if Paddy wins today, which seems pretty likely.

Brian Zipse said...

Dale Romans is saying the Secretariat is next, not the Million. I need to change his mind!