Although the 1 1/8-mile Jamaica Stakes on the grass at Belmont Park does not seem like your typical prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic, it could actually produce two horses -- Dullahan and Cogito -- who go on to the $5 million race Nov. 3.
Dale Romans, trainer of Dullahan, said he will leave the door open as to which race to point to until he gets to California and sees how Dullahan trains.
The 3-year-old son of Even the Score showed he loves the mile and a quarter when he upset heavy favorite Game On Dude in the Pacific Classic Aug. 26. Although he has never won on dirt, he did finish a fast-closing third in the Kentucky Derby.
"It's kind of complicated right now," Romans said on a national teleconference. "We'll see how he likes the [dirt] track out there. I'll ask Tammy [Fox, Romans' partner, assistant, and exercise rider] how he handles it. If he bounces over it and shows he likes the surface, we'll think seriously about the Classic. Tammy has been a great help in making these decisions and what she says will be the deciding factor.
"Hopefully he'll continue to improve. We feel he's a better horse now than he was for the Derby. He's the first colt I've ever had to win three grade I stakes (Pacific Classic, Toyota Blue Grass, and Breeders' Futurity). After the Jamaica, we can either shorten him up for the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), stretch him out to a mile and a half in the Turf (gr. I), or run him at a mile and a quarter on the dirt. I'd like to get out there as early as possible, and I'll see if we have enough horses to charter a plane, rather than go by Tex Sutton's schedule."
In the Pacific Classic, Dullahan was ridden by Joel Rosario, who was aboard Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Flat Out last Saturday. But Romans has no worries about a riding conflict.
"If he shows he belongs on that [dirt] surface, the jockey would be the least of my concerns," Romans said.
Kent Desormeaux rode Dullahan in the Kentucky Derby, Blue Grass, and Breeders' Futurity.
Reddam Racing's Cogito, who originally was scheduled to make his U.S. debut in the Travers Stakes, but came down a fever before shipping from Europe, is another who has designs on the Classic. The son of Giant's Causeway is coming off a second-place finish in the 1 1/4-mile Prix Eugene Adam de Maisons-Laffitte.