The 2011 Virginia Derby winner Donegal Racing’s Paddy O’Prado put an exclamation mark on his 2011 debut with an impressive come-from-behind victory in the $200,000 Jägermeister Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) at Pimlico Race Course.

With Kent Desormeaux riding for trainer Dale Romans, 3-5 choice Paddy O’Prado, last early in the seven-horse field of three-year-olds and up, circled foes on the far turn and pulled away to an 1 1/2-length score in the 1 1/8-mile turf test. Baryshnikov, who set a moderate pace throughout under some pressure, finished a game second by two lengths, while Bim Bam rallied for third.

 “I wasn’t comfortable until they hit the wire,” Romans said. “He’s amazing. It makes no difference — Grade 1 race on Poly, the Classic on dirt, multiple-stakes wins on turf — he’s just a phenomenal horse. This is the start of a great year, I hope. The turf condition did concern me a bit. We just wanted him to run his race, relax early and follow Kent’s commands and that’s what he did.”

Bred in Kentucky by Winchell Thoroughbreds, Paddy O’Prado, by El Prado out of the Prized mare Fun House, now has five wins, two seconds, and two thirds in nine starts on the grass. He prepped for the Dixie with two works on the turf at Churchill Downs, where the Romans stable is based.

A year ago, Paddy O’Prado made his Pimlico debut in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). He finished sixth, and Romans then moved him back to the grass. Overall, the gray/roan colt is 5-3-3 in 14 starts with earnings  of $1,721,297.

Padddy O’Prado suffered a foot bruise in the race.  The severity of the injury is not yet known.

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