LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Dale Romans has never run a horse in the Preakness. But since he is having Paddy O'Prado sent to Baltimore later this week for the second jewel of the Triple Crown at Pimlico, Romans figured he might as well double his chances and send First Dude, too.
Paddy O'Prado made a terrific showing when he ran third in the May 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, giving closest chase in deep stretch to the victorious Super Saver before being passed in the final jumps to lose second money to Ice Box.
All in all, Romans was thrilled with the effort by Paddy O'Prado, and considering the colts finished just a length apart as the respective two-three finishers behind Stately Victor in the April 10 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, Romans feels justified in sending Paddy O'Prado and First Dude to Maryland.
"I'd actually wanted to run First Dude in the Derby because he was doing so well after the Blue Grass, and I thought he could've been an impact player," said Romans. "But obviously he couldn't get in because of earnings. Maybe the extra time will help him. He sure worked good this morning."
First Dude, owned by Don Dizney, had his final prerace tune-up Saturday at Churchill, breezing five furlongs in 1:00.60, fastest of 13 at the distance. Ramon Dominguez has the Preakness mount.
Paddy O'Prado, owned by a partnership managed by Iowa attorney Jerry Crawford, "came out of the race in such good shape, we can't find a reason not to go to the Preakness," said Romans. "I know it's back quick, but the horse is telling us he's ready to go again."
The Romans pair will be on the Wednesday charter flight that will transport a sizable Kentucky shipment to Baltimore. The flight is scheduled to depart Louisville shortly after noon Eastern.
Preakness entries will be drawn Wednesday at 5 p.m. Eastern at Pimlico.
Lookin At Lucky still on fence
Bob Baffert still has not committed Lookin At Lucky, sixth as the Derby favorite, to the Preakness, and he told Pimlico officials Saturday that until he does, there is no need to announce a decision on whether he is replacing Garrett Gomez aboard the colt.
If Lookin At Lucky does run, Martin Garcia is expected to ride him. Gomez then would ride Dublin for D. Wayne Lukas, who in turn would move Terry Thompson onto his other Preakness starter, Northern Giant.
With Baffert watching, Lookin At Lucky galloped Saturday at Churchill for a third straight morning.