I’ll Have Another (rail) and Dullahan (outside) at the finish line in Kentucky Derby 138
Newsreels are whirling with the latest campaign buzz - the 2012 Presidential campaigns are running at a fever pitch and the highly anticipated debates are a political showdown just around the corner. However, an even hotter campaign is firing up the horse racing nation. The recent running of the much acclaimed Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) has sparked a fiery debate that will last beyond the Presidential election in November.
Within moments of the dramatic finish of the 2012 Pacific Classic, winning owner Jerry Crawford declared Dullahan the best 3-year-old male. Instantly, social media sites lit up, electrified with opinions as strong as any you’d hear debating "Romney versus Obama". But, instead, they were debating "Dullahan versus I’ll Have Another"!
A couple of months still remain this racing year, giving everyone an opportunity to voice their opinion on this matter. Why don’t we listen to what I’ll Have Another and Dullahan have to say on this subject?
Who deserves the 2012 Eclipse Award honored title of champion 3-year-old male?
BUNNY: I’ll Have Another won the coin toss to speak first.
I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: My 2012 career consists of four starts, all of which were wins in graded stakes company. I competed twice on my home turf of Santa Anita Park on the West Coast, and twice on the East Coast tracks, Churchill Downs and Pimlico Race Course. Additionally, I rank first on the earnings list for 2012 with over $2.6 million in winnings.
DULLAHAN: I have already raced six times this year, winning two starts, placing on one occasion, and showing in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Accumulating $1,310,000 in purse money, I rank second on the 2012 earnings list.
I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: My first victory came in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2), in which I was the decisive victor by 2 ¾ lengths. I proved myself to be a force on the Triple Crown trail next time out when I prevailed by a nose over Creative Cause in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) while the eventual Haskell Invitational Stakes (GI) winner, Paynter, finished fourth.
DULLAHAN: I began my 3-year-old campaign on the turf in Gulfstream Park’s Palm Beach Stakes (G3). In this event, I was the runner-up behind the favored Graham Motion starter, Howe Great. I overcame a slow pace with fractions of :23.87 for the opening quarter-mile, and :47.52 for the half to finish a meager one length behind the winner.
One month following the Palm Beach, I shipped to Keeneland for the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) held on a speed-favoring Polytrack surface. I came wide into the stretch to blow by the Gotham Stakes (G3)-winning Hansen, eventually enlarging my lead to 1 ¼ lengths at the wire.
I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: Misfortune dealt me the 19th gate in the Kentucky Derby (G1). I persevered and offered a top-quality performance that rewarded me with a 1 ½-length victory over Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Bodemeister, you, and the eventual Belmont Stakes (G1) victor, Union Rags. I completed the 1 ¼-mile classic in a quick time of 2:01.83 on a fast track.
DULLAHAN: My Blue Grass Stakes effort established me as a leading contender for the Kentucky Derby, a race in which I produced an astounding third-place performance. In the Derby, I traveled in tight quarters during the early stages, and was brought three paths wide around the second turn. Running along the outside for the majority of the race, I was even forced seven paths from the rail coming out of the final turn. Despite this disastrous trip, I closed enough ground on you to finish a gaining third, defeated by a close 1 ¾ lengths.
I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: Carrying the hopes of becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, two weeks later I took the winner’s splendors of the Preakness Stakes (G1). I prevailed by a neck over Bodemeister, who separated himself 8 ¾ lengths ahead of the third-placed Creative Cause. A race, which I might point out, that you skipped.
DULLAHAN: After a seventh in the Belmont Stakes, and a fifth in the Haskell Invitational Stakes, I earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 111 when I won the Pacific Classic against some of the country’s top older male horses at their home-base on the West Coast. I showed my heels to the likes of Game On Dude, Richard’s Kid, and Rail Trip with a winning margin of a half-length despite having to travel five paths wide entering the stretch. In doing so, I broke Del Mar’s 1 ¼-mile track record established by last year’s winner, Acclamation.
BUNNY: Closing arguments?
I'll Have Another and Mario Gutierrez win the Santa Anita Derby
I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: My body of work speaks for itself: I was undefeated this year while you have only two wins to your credit. I won three Grade 1s – two of which were classic events – while the other was a Grade 2 contest. Half of my 2012 campaign came at my home base on the West Coast, while the other two came at different tracks on the East Coast. On top of ranking first on the 2012 earnings list with earnings approximately double of what you have accumulated, I defeated you fair and square in the Kentucky Derby.
Kent Desormeaux aboard Dullahan
DULLAHAN: First of all, let’s be clear that the award is for the 3-year-old male with the best body of work over the entire year. You never started beyond the month of May. However, I continue to fight the fight and battle the top horses, even outside my division. While you are off in Japan enjoying your retirement, I’m preparing for this November’s Breeders’ Cup to start in either the Turf or the Classic. I have had success on every type of track. You name it – dirt, turf, and synthetic. All your 2012 starts came on conventional dirt against 3-year-olds, while I defeated the top older male, Game On Dude, when I cruised by him to take the Pacific Classic on his home turf. Keep in mind he’s the favorite to take the biggest prize – Horse of the Year!
BUNNY: Many thanks to I’ll Have Another and Dullahan for a tremendous year of racing!