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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hull stays perfect in Derby Trial

The Derby Trial may yet again live up to its recent reputation as a springboard to the Preakness, because Hull, who remained unbeaten with a stylish victory Saturday afternoon, could very well head to the second leg of the Triple Crown on May 16, trainer Dale Romans said after the race.

"I think it's possible," said Romans, who said he would confer with co-owners Bill Heiligbrodt and Barry Irwin. "I think he's as good as anything out there. He could be very special."

Hull ($8.80), a colt by Holy Bull, was making his stakes debut after defeating maidens at Fair Grounds and allowance runners at Turfway Park, both times by daylight margins, in sprints earlier this year. Despite the jump in class, he romped again, prevailing by four lengths over second-place Kensei. Checklist battled on bravely to be third, another 1 3/4 lengths behind Kensei. Hull, ridden by Miguel Mena, completed the odd distance of 7 1/2 furlongs on the fast main track in 1:30.21.

Hull, breaking from post 7 in the eight-horse field, sat a close third on the outside while Checklist and Silver City set swift fractions of 21.78 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 44.29 for a half-mile. After creeping forward to challenge for the lead, Hull kicked clear at the top of the stretch and was never threatened.

"He sat off the pace, and when he asked him to run, he really exploded," Romans said.

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