Howe Great captured Sunday’s Palm Beach Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park, spoiling the return of Dullahan, who was making his seasonal debut in the turf fixture for trainer Dale Romans.
“He hasn’t done too much wrong in his life,” winning rider John Velazquez said of Howe Great, a Team Valor homebred trained by H. Graham Motion. “He’s a very classy, straightforward horse. The more he races, the more relaxed he has become. He’s been in front in some of his races, but as you saw today he’s very tractable and relaxed, and doesn’t need the lead. We talked about it before the race and decided the logical spot for him if he did well today would be to go to the Blue Grass (Keeneland on April 14) and see where we go from there.”
Romans, trainer of Dullahan, was pleased with his charge’s first race of the year and is looking forward to his next start in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.
“I’m very pleased,” Romans said. “I thought that was a perfect race for him in his comeback. He finished good; we just wanted to see him finish good at the end. The one horse (Howe Great) is a quality race horse. This sets us up good, so we’ll go from here to the Blue Grass.”
Jockey Kent Desormeaux, who piloted the runner-up, agreed with Romans.
“I think the race was perfect for him. He’s so good, he’s getting ready in a stakes. We loomed large around the far turn but the winner possessed another gear. I’ll possess that gear next time,” he said.