REMSEN STAKES. | PURSE: $200,000 | GRADE 2 | 2-YEAR-OLDS | 1 1/8 MILES
OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- Trainer Dale Romans finished third in the 2010 Kentucky Derby with Paddy O'Prado and fourth in this year's Run for the Roses with Shackleford. Romans may have found his Derby hopeful for 2012 in O'Prado Again, who rallied to a three-quarter-length win in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct.
Souper Speedy, who set the pace while hounded by Our Entourage, held second by a head over El Padrino, the 5-2 favorite. It was another head back to Done Talking in fourth.
O'Prado Again was making his first start on a dry dirt surface after racing once in the slop, twice on turf, and having won a maiden over Keeneland's Polytrack in his most recent start.
That win came at 1 1/8 miles, which is one reason why Romans elected to send O'Prado Again from Kentucky to New York for the Remsen as opposed to leaving him in Kentucky for the Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. The purse of the Remsen also was $50,000 more.
"More the distance than anything," Romans said by phone from Kentucky. "He won at a mile and an eighth, and the further he goes, the better he'll be."
Under Kent Desormeaux, O'Prado Again raced in seventh position early on as Souper Speedy set a pedestrian pace of 24.38 seconds. O'Prado Again, racing four wide, dragged Desormeaux into third position after a half-mile in 49.97.
O'Prado Again was content to sit in third while Souper Speedy and Our Entourage jostled on the lead around the turn and into the stretch. O'Prado Again went on the attack in the stretch, took over inside the eighth pole, and drew clear for the win.
O'Prado Again, a son of El Prado owned Jerry Crawford's Donegal Racing, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.07 and returned $16.80 to win.
"I enjoy the way he can move to position and cruise again," Desormeaux said. "He'll sprint me into a spot and then turn off and cruise along. It's so effortless you don't know if you have horse, that's how luxurious the stride is – it's silky smooth. I don't feel his feet hit the ground. The last horse that moved like that was FuPeg."
Desormeaux was referring to Fusaichi Pegasus, the horse he rode to victory in the 2000 Kentucky Derby.
Romans said O'Prado Again would likely ship to south Florida from New York and participate in Gulfstream Park's series of 3-year-old races leading up to the Derby. He left open the slight possibility of running O'Prado Again back in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park on Dec. 17.