BALTIMORE, 05-21-11 – Despite a slow pace, Donegal Racing’s Paddy O’Prado rallied from last to win the historic $200,000 Jägermeister Dixie Stakes (G2) at Pimlico Race Course.
The gray colt by El Prado dropped back at the start of the 110th running of the Dixie on a “good” turf but accelerated around the far turn under Kent Desormeaux. Once set down for the drive, Paddy O’Prado quickly collared frontrunner Baryshnikov and won going away by 1 ½ lengths. Paddy O’Prado, who paid $3.20, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:53.56. Bim Bam closed for third, two lengths behind the runner-up.
Dale Romans trains Paddy O’Prado, who finished sixth in the 2010 Preakness and fifth in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Kentucky-bred colt won three stakes on the turf last year, including the Secretariat (GI) at Arlington Park.
Dixie Stakes Quotes
Dale Romans (winning trainer, Paddy O’Prado) – “I wasn’t comfortable until they hit the wire. He’s amazing. It makes no difference – Grade 1 race on Poly, the Classic on dirt, multiple-stakes wins on turf – he’s just a phenomenal horse. This is the start of a great year, I hope. The turf condition did concern me a bit. We just wanted him to run his race, relax early and follow Kent’s commands and that’s what he did.”
Kent Desormeaux (winning, jockey, Paddy O’Prado) – “He started to reach up and find his class from the 3/16ths-pole to the 1/8-pole. Once he gutted that out and got near the horse in front, I found him to be a lot more of a racehorse. He got me home from there. He had to have put on 250 pounds and grown a hand in both directions. He’s gotten to be a big boy.”
Michael Maker (trainer, Baryshnikov, 2nd) – “He ran super. He gave it all he got. He was just second best today.”
Julien Leparoux (jockey, Baryshnikov, 2nd) – “We tried to take it wire to wire. He got an easy lead. He ran his race. We just got beat the better horse.”
Laura Moquett (assistant trainer, Bim Bam, 3rd) – “This has been a great experience. He tried really hard today and had some major difficulties. He got shut off at the top of the stretch and he still got up for third.”
Garrett Gomez (jockey, Bim Bam, 3rd) – “He wasn’t handling the ground at all and ended up getting third because he was that good. I got into a good spot early, but then we bobbled and ended up going backwards. He still came back to run a great race. He was fighting the ground more than the other horses. His race was a lot better than it looked.”