Derby contender rehabbed at GoldMark
By Fred Hiers Staff writer
Published: Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 5:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 8:36 p.m.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — GoldMark Farm in Ocala has had plenty of bright spots with Kentucky Derby-winning horses. The farm had connections to Thunder Gulch, which won the Derby in 1995, Grindstone (1996) and Charismatic (1999).
Then there was Back Talk, among the 20 horses in the 2010 Derby.
GoldMark manager Todd Quast hopes for a return to success Saturday with Dullahan.
The horse was shipped to his farm after his fourth-place showing in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race. In that race, Dullahan had lost to Hansen, Union Rags and Creative Cause — all three of which are running with him in the 138th Kentucky Derby.
“He was one of the star pupils. He did everything right,” Quast said of Dullahan’s time recuperating at GoldMark.
Quast said he only gave Dullahan light workouts. The horse was put in a barn and stall that allowed him to watch the other horses come and go to the track.
“And he loved it. He loved being somewhat involved. He really enjoyed seeing the other horses,” Quast said.
Over the next month or so Dullahan put on weight, relaxed and got ready for his next race in March, the Palm Beach Stakes in Florida, where he finished second. A month later, he won the Blue Grass Stakes in Kentucky, a prep race for the Derby.
The horse’s owners give a lot of credit to Quast, saying the farm manager made a “huge” difference and did a “beautiful job” turning the colt around.
Critics say Dullahan’s wins came on grass and synthetic surfaces. Churchill Downs is dirt. But Quast said Dullhahan is a better horse than he was and the surface won’t make any difference.
Dullahan also is trainer Dale Romans’ latest shot at his first Derby win. Two years ago, Romans’ horse Paddy O’Prado finished third. Romans oversees the same barn at Churchill Downs where his father, the late Jerry Romans, once trained his own horses. His father never was lucky enough to win the Run for the Roses.
Standing by his barn Thursday, Romans described his horse as a Ferrari with the ability to speed up and slow at will, a talent that has come in handy in a crowded 20-horse Derby field.
“I think this one will be a little more emotional,” Romans said of trying to win his first Derby. “That’s all I ever think about anymore.”
Jockey Kent Desormeaux was onboard Dullahan in the Breeders’ Cup race, as well as The Palm Beach and Blue Grass.
“After the Blue Grass he stamped himself as a contender,” Desormeaux said Thursday, watching Dullahan walk to the track to exercise. “My biggest strategy is to get him to his cruising speed so I don’t have to stop and start him.
“I’d just like him to get a good start Saturday,” Desormeaux said, “and show what he can do.”
[button color=”silver” link=”http://www.ocala.com/article/20120503/articles/120509893″ window=”yes”]Article Source[/button]