Trainer Dale Romans expressed disappointment following Dullahan's seventh-place finish in Saturday's Belmont Stakes but said he is eagerly anticipating next year's Triple Crown series.
"I can't wait until next year," Romans said. "Hopefully, we'll have another one. Emotionally, the highs, the lows, the battles, but I want to do it every year."
Romans admitted he wrongfully expected Dullahan, who went off as the 5-2 favorite, to run a huge race in the Belmont.
"I'm usually not that wrong with them," the horseman admitted. "I'm wrong about a lot of things, but usually with the horses I'm not. You can know your horse is doing good, but there are so many other factors that play into a race, and if the other horses are doing well it's tough."
Dullahan, a two-time Grade 1 winner on Keeneland's synthetic Polytrack, is winless in five starts on dirt but was a fast-closing third in the Kentucky Derby and fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Churchill Downs' conventional main track. Romans remains adamant that the Donegal Racing colorbearer is capable of winning big races on dirt.
"I don't think he was handling the track [in the Belmont Stakes]; it was deep and cuppy," Romans declared. "I haven't given up on him being a dirt horse. I think he needs it a little tighter."
Romans suggested that Dullahan might have performed better if the Belmont main track was like it had been when the colt breezed four furlongs in :45 4/5 six days before the race.
"(The track)] was little tighter (last) Sunday," Romans explained. "We had that rain. I was hoping we'd get a little water on it yesterday. It would have helped us."
With Dullahan being a dual Grade 1 winner on Polytrack, Grade 2-placed on turf and classic-placed on dirt, Romans and Donegal have many options to choose from going forward with their Even the Score colt.
"I have no idea [what his next start might be]," Romans said. "We'll sit down and talk the next few days. We'll figure it out."
By any other standard, Romans had an excellent Saturday as he landed two stakes: Belmont's Grade 1 Just a Game with Tapitsfly, who shot to the early lead and turned back Winter Memories to prevail in stakes-record time, and Churchill Downs' Opening Verse with Guys Reward.
"Nobody was going to catch [Tapitsfly] the way she ran yesterday," Romans contended. "She came home in 22 and change. You gotta run awful fast to make up ground into that. This is a good mare, and she's getting better all the time. She loves to race and loves to run; it makes her better. She's one of those where the more you do the more she likes it."
Although Romans said one mile is probably Tapitsfly's optimum distance, he said the five-year-old daughter of Tapit will be pointed for the Grade 1, $600,000 Diana going 1 1/8 miles on July 28 at Saratoga.
"[The Diana is] something we'll think about," the trainer said. "I think she can stretch, but I do think a mile is the best distance for her. It depends on who is going to be there, but we'll point in that direction."