Saratoga Could Be Next Stop for Promising 3YO Donegal Forever

June 18, 2023

Donegal Forever impresses in his long-awaited debut (NYRA/Coglianese)

NYRA Press Office

ELMONT, N.Y.— Donegal Racing owner and founder Jerry Crawford had to wait longer than he had hoped to see promising sophomore Donegal Forever display his capabilities, but the sophomore son of Pioneerof the Nile made it well worth the wait with an impressive debut score in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight Saturday at Belmont Park.

Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, Donegal Forever stumbled at the start causing jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. to lose his left iron, but quickly found his stride when making a wide move in upper stretch en route to an easy 4 1/4-length victory. The victory earned an 89 Beyer Speed Figure.

“He had some adversity to overcome from the time we started with him,” Crawford said. “It seemed like it was one thing after another with him, but finally he got it together and we got him up to Saratoga to train and everything was good from there. This was the horse we thought was going to be our Kentucky Derby horse and he didn’t get his first start until today. So, now we just have to see if we can put him in a position to run and win some big races.”

Crawford is hopeful that Donegal Forever can give the Donegal Racing syndicate partners a couple of “Spa days” over the summer.

“Assuming he comes out of this race sound, maybe the first part of Saratoga and depending on how that goes, maybe there will be time for two races at Saratoga,” Crawford said.

Crawford expressed confidence in Donegal Forever’s potential two-turn capabilities.

“He absolutely is [a potential router] and you saw it today,” said Crawford. “He waited, waited, waited and once Irad said, ‘Go,’ he went. There were some good horses in the race, this was a strong maiden race.”

Donegal Forever is out of the graded stakes-placed Flatter mare Flatter Up, whose dam Tenacious Tina is a half-sister to Grade 1-winning millionaire turf miler Midnight Storm. He was bought for $170,000 at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

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