What he’s doing is harder than the Triple Crown.
What he’s doing is harder than Elin Nordegren in divorce court.
What’s he’s doing is harder than a day in the sweat box with a rubber suit and the company of Rush Limbaugh.
He’s Paddy O’Prado and he’s one win away from winning the Grand Slam of Grass.
This is hitting a single off the Rays, a double off the Cardinals, a triple off the Red Sox, and a home run against the Yankees. This is seven Tour de France’s in a row ... only more impressive.
Grass is king across the pond. The biggest races are all grass, lawn, as alive as you and I, not dead like silty earth. There’s a reason why Saratoga and Belmont’s turf courses are named for people, right? Mellon and Widener. What’s the dirt called? That’s right. Dirt.
(Unless, of course, we’re talking about Joe Dirt, the character played to perfection by David Spade in the 2001 movie “Joe Dirt”.)
Here’s how sad this story is. In Mike Curry’s report in the Thoroughbred Times it is first mentioned that Paddy O’Prado was the third-place finisher in the 2010 Kentucky Derby. It is not until the penultimate graf he mentions the El Prado colt’s Colonial Turf Cup and Virginia Derby victories.
Want to know what’s even sadder? The Grand Slam of Grass is on hiatus and along with it the $5 million bonus for sweeping the three aforementioned races along with the Breeders’ Cup Turf run at 12 furlongs.
“It's disappointing," said trainer Dale Romans after the Virginia Derby. “It'd be nice to have two legs of it down, but that's the economics of today's racing.”
In 2004 Romans trained Kitten’s Joy, a colt who went on to win the Va Derby and Secretariat. He finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
"I thought I'd never see a horse as good as Kitten's Joy," Romans told Daily Racing Form. "I'm starting to think this one might be."
Why the Slam was put on hiatus baffles me. No horse has hit it so what’s the problem? It’s not like New York Lottery has been giving out free winning tickets. We’re not giving college kids smoking pot a bottomless tray of boneless chicken wings ... not that I would know what that is like.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux, whose personal life has been in shambles of late, had the mount for the Secretariat and was noticeably high (poor choice of words???) on the horse.
"When we turned for home, the guys in front of me just cut for the wire," Desormeaux told the Form. "He was just faster than them."
Now there is enough time to finish a semester at college between now and the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs so anything can happen. Where he’ll race is anyone’s best guess but he’ll likely take a shot at older horses before he meets up against the big boys in the BC. Gio Ponti’s reign could be heading to a close. If he has a lost a step Paddy O’Prado is right there on his heels.
So who else is Paddy O’Prado gaining on? If Lookin’ At Lucky thinks he’s got Champion Three Year Old locked up with a win in the Preakness and Haskell he’d better think again. Super Saver will need to win the Travers decisively and not get embarrassed against either Rachel Alexandra or Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (Dear Readers: This is not your cue to talk about Rachel Alexandra and/or Zenyatta a potential match up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic).
In honor of Paddy O’Prado, let’s have an Irish Car Bomb: drop a split-jigger of Jamesons and Bailey’s Irish Cream into a pint of Guinness and slam it down.
Not that I would know what that is like either.
Brendan O’Meara blogs about horse racing here at HRI and at The Carryover. He also blogs about narrative nonfiction and his book project “Six Weeks in Saratoga” and "The Last Championship" at The Blog Itself. His Web site is http://www.brendanomeara.com.