Paddy O'Prado made up nearly 10 lengths in the last three furlongs to capture the $200,000 Dixie S. (G2) over the Pimlico turf course on May 21. Paddy O'Prado is owned by Donegal Racing. (Watch Race)
The Dixie was the first start of the year for the 4-year-old son of El Prado (IRE), who was fifth last year's Breeders Cup Classic (G1). He had laid up and trained over the winter at WinStar Farm prior to returning to Dale Roman's barn in March.
Romans has had his share of success training for WinStar with stakes horses such as Solemn Promise, Extended Family, and Sharp Humor.
In the Dixie, jockey Kent Desormeaux had Paddy O'Prado near the back of the seven horse Dixie field while Baryshnikov held the lead through leisurely fractions of 24.76 seconds for the quarter, 49.07 for the half-mile, and 1:14.21 for six furlongs on the “good” turf course. Making his move at the quarter pole, Desormeaux went five wide around the final turn to roll down the lane and reel in the pacesetter inside the final furlong. The official margin was three lengths as “Paddy” pulled away late to stop the timer in 1:53.56 for the 1 1/8 miles.
“He had to reach up and find his class from the three-sixteenths to eighth pole,” Desormeaux said. “Once he gutted that out and got near [Baryshnikov] I found him to be a lot more of a racehorse to get by him.”
Said Romans: “It was a big race first time back. I was a little concerned, but when he made his move around the turn I knew he was good enough to keep it up.”
Paddy O'Prado sold to Donegal, led by Jerry Crawford, at the 2008 Keeneland September Sale for $105,000. The gray/roan, bred in Kentucky by Winchell Thoroughbreds, has earned the bulk of his $1,721,297 on the turf. He broke his maiden on the grass in the Grade 3 Palm Beach S., then ran second in the Blue Grass (G1) to set up his third place finish in the 2010 Kentucky Derby (G1).
After running sixth in the Preakness (G1), Paddy O’Prado returned to the grass and reeled off victories in the Colonial Turf Cup (G2), Virginia Derby (G2) and the Secretariat (G1) before running second in the Turf Classic Invitational (G1) at Belmont Park in his first test against older horses. His record now stands at 5-3-3 from 14 starts.