The recent Grade 2 Virginia Derby winner Paddy O’Prado is making a name for himself as a stallion prospect with each graded stakes win on turf—and there are three such races now. Oxymoronic? Yes. Ordinarily, US graded turf stakes wins wouldn’t make a commercial stallion prospect, but a precedent with close ties to Paddy exists in the form of 2004 champion 3-year-old turf male Kitten’s Joy, who was a revelation last year when his first crop of 2-year-olds included a bunch of stakes winners. Kitten’s Joy, like Paddy O’Prado, is a son of the deceased Sadler’s Wells stallion El Prado, whose son Medaglia d’Oro sired Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in his first crop and is now one of the leading young sires in the country.
Paddy still has much to do to equal what Kitten’s Joy did as a 3-year-old in 2004, when he won six of eight starts, including the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational over 12 furlongs; the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes over 10 furlongs; the Grade 3 Virginia Derby over 10 furlongs; the Grade 3 American Turf Stakes over 1 1/16 miles; the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes over 9 furlongs; and the Grade 3 Tropical Park Derby over 9 furlongs. The same season Kitten’s Joy also was second in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf to the older Better Talk Now.
Paddy so far isn’t a Grade 1 stakes winner, but he’s on the same path as Kitten’s Joy: he’s also won the Virginia Derby (now Grade 2) and the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes, plus he has the Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup Stakes on his resume, too. He is expected to contest the Grade 1 Secretariat and then if all goes according to plan he’ll take in a fall Grade 1 event and then the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
So far, though, he has accomplished something that Kitten’s Joy didn’t: a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, on dirt. And Paddy also was second in the Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes over an artificial surface. This will add to the horse’s appeal as a stallion prospect.
Paddy O’Prado has been trained and campaigned with a plan by trainer Dale Romans and Jerry Crawford, the managing partner of Donegal Racing, a racing partnership that owns the colt. (Mr. Crawford is a retained client of WTC Inc., of which I am president. Before I assumed the position upon the death of WTC founder Jack Werk in February, Jack and the WTC staff had recommended Paddy as a sales yearling. Click here to read.)
A $105,000 yearling, Paddy O’Prado has to date earned $1,111,297 with a record of three wins, two seconds, and three thirds from 10 starts. He’s obviously a progressive colt who acted on dirt in a classic but is so much more at home on turf, which has been the preferred surface for the Sadler’s Wells line.
His sire, El Prado, to date has 73 black type winners to his credit and is a success story in his own right, starting cheap and climbing the ladder to the top with the support of Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs, where he stood. Click here to read about what Jack Werk said about him last September as his sons started to make names for themselves.
Paddy O’Prado was bred by Verne Winchell’s Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC. Mr. Winchell’s stock is known for its hardiness, and Paddy’s Winchell family contains the names of some very tough, sound, and accomplished racehorses, names such as Olympio ($1.4 million, Grade 1 winner), Pyro ($1.6 million, Grade 1 winner), Bien Nicole ($1 million, Grade 2 winner), Wild Wonder ($639,000, Grade 2 winner), etc. Also in the family is the 2-year-old Grade 1 winner Cuvee.
(Blogger Glenn Craven covered the Virginia Derby in the company of the Donegal Racing group. Click here to read his entertaining account.)