hope to donate to disabled jockeys
has emerged as favorite
GOSHEN, Ky. (May 2012) Never before has the garland
of roses seemed so attainable for Goshen-based horse trainer Dale Romans.
Owner of the Old Van Berg Place off Liberty Lane, Romans
says he feels confident in his thoroughbreds ability.
Let me put it to you this way, he said. I wouldnt
trade places with anybody.
Nor would the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, the charity designated
as recipient of 5 percent of any Kentucky Derby winnings Dullahan may
earn on May 5. A public statement was released April 25 making the pledge
The news came as a surprise to the executive director of the Permanently
Disabled Jockeys Fund, Nancy LaSala. It was self-initiated on
their end. We did not already have an established relationship with
Dullahans connections. Because our program is so low-funded and
industry support is scattered, we are incredibly grateful.
courtesy of Kacy Toler
surpasses favorite Hansen in the
Toyota Bluegrass Stakes on
April 14 in Lexington.
The unification of a horses connections for a charitable
donation is rare in horse racing.
Owners will sometimes offer donations out of their own cut of
the purse, but to have all three parties agree to do it is a special
case. They are setting a true example here, showing how the owner, the
trainer and the jockey can all come together for a good cause,
Trained by Romans, Dullahan is owned by Donegal Racing, a 24-person
syndicate headed by Jerry Crawford, and will be ridden in the Kentucky
Derby by jockey Kent Desormeaux.
The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund disburses money to jockeys who
have suffered catastrophic injuries on the race track. LaSala said the
PDJF disburses $61,000 a month toward the treatment of injured jockeys
In another twist, Prairie Meadows Racetrack in Iowa has agreed to match
the potential donation.
The total purse for the 138th Kentucky Derby Presented by YUM! Brands
is $2,180,000. If Dullahans connections receive the 62 percent
reserved for the first place horse and Prairie Meadows Racetrack
matches it the best-case scenario is that the PDJF will
receive a check for $120,000.
Romans thinks it is highly likely that LaSala will be headed to the
bank. This will be my fourth starter in the Kentucky Derby and
its my best shot to win it, said Romans.
Such a declaration of faith is unusual for the quiet trainer, known
for his humble nature and mild manner. But after his horses recent
performance in one of the most notable Kentucky Derby prep races in
the country, confidence is soaring.
A $750,000 race, the Grade 1 Toyota Bluegrass Stakes was held in April
at Keeneland Race Track in Lexington. Because the Kentucky Derby Presented
by YUM! Brands only permits the top 20 graded-stakes money earners to
compete, the significant purse of the Bluegrass Stakes attracts some
of the stiffest competition from across the country.
On April 14, a field of 13 colts sprung out of the gate at Keeneland
with hopes of obtaining enough earnings to start in the Kentucky Derby
three weeks later. The heavy favorite on the card that day was the nearly-white
Hansen, a $1 million earner and winner of the G1 Breeders Cup
Juvenile Stakes as a 2-year-old.
But Dullahan surprised many Hansen fans when he swept past the gray
colt in the final yards of the homestretch and won.
A half brother to 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, the colt
certainly has the bloodlines to compete with the best of them. But as
a 2-year-old, with many pairs of eyes watching his every move, Dullahan
didnt seem too impressive on a dirt surface. That is, not in comparison
to his brother.
After five starts, Dullahan broke his maiden on a synthetic surface,
polytrack. His only remarkable performance before that was on turf.
As is all too often the case in horse racing, race fans watched the
chestnut colt with a cool curiosity, waiting to see if he would measure
up to his brother. After his performance in Lexington, Dullahan has
now emerged as a likely favorite.
People are always trying to knock a horse for not running well
on one surface or another. But I never thought he didnt run well
on the dirt. He just didnt blow anybody away. Sometimes it takes
time, said Romans.
With earnings now of $872,091, Dullahan has earned his ticket to the
Kentucky Derby. It will be his first time on the dirt in six months.
If Dullahan wins, his dam, Mining My Own, will be the first ever broodmare
to produce two Kentucky Derby winners.
So much is on the line if Dullahan wins, LaSala said. I
guess we just have to wait and see.
While the Old Van Berg Place in Goshen serves as Romans
year-round back-up training center, he stables most of his horses in
top condition on-location at Churchill Downs during the spring and fall
meets. Familiar with the surface now for nearly two months, Romans said
Dullahan is training well over the dirt.
He moves over it beautifully and theres no reason to think
he cant win on it, Romans said.
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