Shipped to Southern California by trainer Dale Romans after a pair of lackluster efforts on the East Coast, Dullahan collared Game On Dude in deep stretch to take the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic in track record time at Del Mar Aug. 26.
With Joel Rosario aboard, Dullahan defeated Game on Dude by three-quarters of a length while clocked in 1:59.54 for the 1 1/4-mile distance on Polytrack. That eclipsed the track mark of 2:00.61 established in the Pacific Classic last year by champion Acclamation, who did not participate in this year's race because of a minor injury.
Dullahan, third-place finisher in this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, becomes the fourth 3-year-old to win the Pacific Classic in the 22-year history of the race, and the first since Came Home in 2002. He is now 3-for-3 on Polytrack in his career, all in grade I events, including earlier wins in the Breeders' Futurity as a 2-year-old and the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes in April, both at Keeneland.
Owned by Donegal Racing, Dullahan is a son of Even the Score out of the Smart Strike mare Mining My Own. Bred in Kentucky by Phil and Judy Needham and Bena Halecky, the chestnut colt was a $250,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase in 2010.
The wins locks up a place in the starting gate in the Breeders' Cup Classic for Dullahan as part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge series.
Dullahan was racing in fifth on the far turn and closing while about four paths wide after 6-5 favorite Game On Dude had taken charge over Suggestive Boy. Game On Dude still led at the sixteenth pole by about a length but could not contain Dullahan, who challenged under strong right-handed urging from Rosario to get up in the final strides.
Richard's Kid, who encountered traffic issues on the final turn, got through along the inside and finished well to be third in the field of 10.