This is a continuing series examining the profile of each contender for this year's Kentucky Derby. Links to all the previews in the series can be found in the left sidebar under Kentucky Derby 136: Contender Profiles.
Sire: Afleet Alex
Dam: Classy Mirage (Storm Bird)
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Terry Thompson (?)
Thompson rode Dublin in two races at Oaklawn with Corey Nakatani taking the mount in the other race. I'm not sure a final decision has been made regarding the rider but I'm guessing Thompson. If anybody has any info on that, please put it in the comments. Th anks!
Career Record: 8-2-1-2
Graded Earnings: $373,208 (#13)
Running style: Mid-pack / Closer
This colt has run his races in all sorts of positions on the track and I don't know if that's due to him being extremely versatile, or whether it's due to the fact that Dublin seems to be always getting into trouble at various positions on the track. Once thing is clear, however, Dublin is not a speed horse and should be perfectly content to settle in off the pace in the early going, which should be a big advantage in this year's Derby.
How he got to the Derby: You certainly can't find fault in the quality to Dublin's competition over the last year. After breaking his maiden at Saratoga last summer, Dublin won the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes in a field that included Aikenite and Backtalk. He followed up that win with a couple of dull races in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont (5th) and the Grade 3 Iroqouis Stakes at Churchill (7th).
Dublin began his three year old campaign in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes where he finished a solid 2nd behind front running Conveyance. He finished off his preparation for the Derby with 3rd place finishes in both the Grade 2 Rebel (Lookin At Lucky, Noble's Promise) and Grade 1 Arkansas Derby (Line of David, Super Saver).
He hasn't done a lot of winning lately, but Dublin has faced many of the best three year olds colts in the land and performed well each time.
What has to happen for him to win: I wrote about this a little while ago, Dublin is starting to feel like a money burner given his inability to get it done in the later stages of the race. That makes him a little bit of a scary proposition at the windows (if you want to play him on top)
If Dublin is to win the Kentucky Derby he needs to run to the potential that made him a $525,000 purchase at the Keeneland September sale in 2008. When you look at his past performances you'd swear this colt is about ready to break out with a huge race. But instead, he keeps plodding along with "good, but not great" efforts time after time.
Break well, settle in, and show everybody your best effort - if Dublin does that, he'll give himself a chance.
I had Dublin at 20/1 on my line earlier in the week but I've been suckered into dropping his odds down to 15/1. I say "suckered" because every time I look at this colt's running lines, his pedigree, and his ability to sit in a variety of positions off the pace, I start to think that he's got a big chance. Then I remember that I thought he'd win pretty much every race he ran in Arkansas and none of that happened.
Dublin's pedigree is a little reversed as his stamina is on the top in the form of Afleet Alex (who could run all day long), and his speed is more prevalent on the bottom half. Given how this horse has run his races in his career, I'd say he's much more like his sire than his dam. I don't know that he's as good as Alex was at this point in his career (he's clearly not) but watching the way he runs his races doesn't scream "sprinter" to me. He looks like a horse that can get some distance.
Here's something else to think about with Dublin: he's an April foal. The only other April or later foals in the Derby? Lookin At Lucky (May), Noble's Promise (April), Stately Victor (May), Awesome Act (April). I don't know if that means anything for the Derby, but it's an interesting fact.
Key race: Grade 3 Southwest Stakes (2nd)
I chose the Southwest as Dublin's key race due to the quick early pace, the early trouble he had leaving the gate, and the amount of ground he had to make up in the stretch. I thought he was the best horse in this race and was disappointed that he didn't parlay that into better things in his last two starts.
Dublin's pace and positioning in this race should be similar to what Dublin will face in the Derby. He'll likely be well back of a group of horses that should set fast early fractions (maybe not as fast as the Southwest, but still fast), and when he makes his move, Dublin is going to have to pass a large amount of horses to reach the front. If he's able to do that cleanly, he could have a shot. This race indicates he can make a big more from off a quick pace, an important asset to have in the Kentucky Derby.