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2010 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Paddy O'Prado

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 27:  Kentucky Derby entrant Paddy O'Prado, trained by Dale Romans, during morning exercise at Churchill Downs on April 27, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 27: Kentucky Derby entrant Paddy O'Prado, trained by Dale Romans, during morning exercise at Churchill Downs on April 27, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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Paddy O'Prado

Sire: El Prado (IRE)
Dam: Fun House (Prized)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux

Career Record: 6-1-2-2
Graded Earnings: $250,950

Running style: Presser / Mid-pack

Another turf/synthetic horse that is tough to get a read on in terms of his running style.  Earlier in his career he was as stone cold closer, lagging eight or nine lengths off the leaders early on and making a big run in the stretch.  In his last two races, however, Paddy has been much closer to the lead and has actually pressed the front-runners quite hard. 

Based on his last two efforts I'd expect this colt to be closer to the lead, but he'd probably run just as well if he were to take up in the middle of the pack.  His early placement will probably depend a lot on his draw.

How he got to the Derby: Paddy O'Prado finished third to Interactif and Jung Man Scott in the Grade 3 With Anticipation as a maiden during his juvenile campaign.  He then began his three year old season by losing a Maiden Special Weight race at Gulfstream only to return and win the Grade 3 Palm Beach by two lengths over Dean's Kitten on the lawn.  He finished second in the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland, and earned enough in graded money to make it into the Derby field.

What has to happen for him to win: First and foremost, Paddy O'Prado needs to take to the Churchill Downs dirt track in his first non-grass/synthetic race since last July.  If he does that, it's not crazy to think this colt could put in a good run.  However, if the track comes up sloppy or muddy on Saturday (and that's starting to look like a strong possibility), I don't think that would be to his benefit as his only try on an off-track was the maiden race last July where he lost by 11 ½ lengths.

Even though I think it's going to be a tough task for Paddy to win the Derby, it'd be nice to see the local guy, trainer Dale Romans, come up big in this race.

Odds: 50/1

I don't know that there is any way to view this horse other than as a long shot to win.  His best efforts have been over grass and synthetic tracks and that hasn't been a path to success in previous editions of the Kentucky Derby. Like every horse in the field, there's the possibility that he could run a huge race on Saturday, but assigning odds deals with probabilities, not possibilities.

Key race: Grade 3 Palm Beach (1st)

This is clearly the best race this horse has run in his short career, and it was a maiden breaking effort at that.  Paddy broke well, battled the pacesetter through strong fractions (46.4 and 1:10), made a big move on the turn, and won easily at the wire. Fellow Derby contender, Dean's Kitten, puts in a nice run to finish second but he never threatened Paddy O'Prado in the lane.