News From Terre Haute, Indiana

From the Press Box

May 2, 2012

FROM THE PRESS BOX: TH’s Murans back in the Derby … this time with favorite

TERRE HAUTE — When Terre Haute native Paul Murans experienced his first Triple Crown horse racing run as part-owner of Mucho Macho Man in 2011, the experience was — to borrow a phrase from one-time Marquette coach Al McGuire — seashells and balloons.

Mucho Macho Man finished third in the Kentucky Derby last year, sixth in the Preakness Stakes and seventh in the Belmont Stakes.

Since then, the colt — which was thought to be stillborn and which was nearly put down shortly after birth — has become a dominant 4-year-old horse, winning each of the three races he’s entered. Mucho Macho Man is a 2-to-1 favorite to win Friday’s Grade II Alysheba Stakes, which is part of the Kentucky Oaks festivities at Churchill Downs.

As you might recall, Murans — who played basketball at Terre Haute North and Missouri State — went from thoroughbred aficionado to owner in the sport in short order. The Indianapolis-based financial advisor was part of Big Brown’s entourage when Big Brown won the 2008 Kentucky Derby and was so caught up in the excitement he decided to invest in the sport himself. Three years later, he watched as part-owner as Mucho Macho Man participated in the biggest horse race in the world.

If Mucho Macho Man was the only thing that ever happened to Murans in the thoroughbred racing game, he could have walked away happy. But what Murans couldn’t have known is that his run of good fortune in the horse racing world was just beginning.

Murans will be back again under the twin spires for Saturday’s Run For The Roses. This time, Murans is part-owner of Dullahan, a chestnut colt that is a half-brother of 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.

While Mucho Macho Man had a moderate chance to win the Kentucky Derby a year ago at 12-to-1, Dullahan is a horse of a different color. The explosive finisher enters the Kentucky Derby as the co-favorite, fresh off a victory in the April 14 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland Park in Lexington, Ky.

Did I say victory? I meant a record victory in the 88-year-old Derby prep race. Dullahan won by 11⁄4 lengths with a time of 1 minute, 47.94 seconds, a 1-1⁄8 mile record on Keeneland’s Polytrack.

At press time, Dullahan is the co-favorite at 9-to-2 on the morning line odds along with Bodemeister. Dullahan has won two races in his eight-race career and both were Grade I stakes — the most prestigious races in the thoroughbred world. Dullahan has finished in the money in six of his eight races and has never finished worse than second at 1 1-1⁄8 miles, the longest distance he has run, and the distance which most closely approximates the 1-1⁄4 mile distance in the Kentucky Derby.

It’s a whirlwind for Murans, who is still coming off the excitement of Mucho Macho Man’s 2011 run. The ebullient Murans is excited as ever to be a part of the Derby festivities again, but with expectation come the nerves too.

“It’s definitely more anxiety because I think we can win this thing,” said Murans via a telephone interview on Tuesday. “Last year it was all new and we enjoyed the ride. This year, I’m confident that we’ve got a shot.”

Murans is co-owner of the horse and is one of the partners in the Donegal Racing consortium that owns Dullahan. Donegal Racing saw potential in Dullahan, who is the half-brother of 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, but Murans was so caught up in Mucho Macho Man’s 2011 success that Dullahan’s rise to Derby contention wasn’t in his initial sights.

“We knew early that [Dullahan] had talent, but after we did the whole thing with Mucho Macho Man and the Triple Crown, we were on that rollercoaster ride. All of the sudden, from the backburner, comes Dullahan,” Murans said.

Dullahan signaled his intent to contend as he broke his maiden in the Breeders’ Cup Futurity race at Keeneland on Oct. 8, 2011, winning the 2-year-old Grade I race by 3⁄4 of a length.

Dullahan finished out of the money at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, but was second in the Palm Beach Stakes on March 11. Dullahan entered the Blue Grass Stakes as an underdog to 2-year-old Horse of the Year Hansen, a prohibitive 6-to-5 favorite.

Dullahan started poorly in the Blue Grass and was in 10th when the field made the turn off the backstretch with three furlongs left. Hansen seemed indefatigable on the rail with a 10-length lead. Dullahan has still well back in the pack when the field made the turn on to the frontstretch.

Then, like a spaceship going into hyperdrive, Dullahan hit the turbo button and rocketed through the field. Using the middle of the track, he began his run in the turn, and picked off three horses by the time he got to the frontstretch. With a wide-open trip up the middle, Dullahan picked off four more horses and was in third for the final furlong.

Hansen still had a 10-length lead at that point, but Dullahan possessed a gear no other horse had that day. Dullahan’s stretch run was awe-inspiring as Hansen was caught with a half-furlong to go and Dullahan had the rest of the field easily covered by 11⁄4 lengths at the wire.

In his mind’s eye, Murans sees the 1-1⁄4 mile run required to win the Kentucky Derby and then envisions the finishing kick Dullahan had to win the shorter Blue Grass Stakes. It’s a mouth-watering prospect. “He has everything in his pedigree to be a Derby-winning horse. He’s probably the fastest horse in the stretch run in the Derby and he’s peaking at the right time,” Murans said.

Another bonus for Murans is the jockey. Three-time Kentucky Derby winner Kent Desormeaux is the irons on Dullahan. It was at Desormeaux’s invitation, via a mutual friend, that Murans was at the 2008 Kentucky Derby at all. It was there that Desmormeaux rode Big Brown to victory, which served as the inspiration for Murans to invest in the sport to begin with.

“You talk about going full circle. I dreamed about running the Kentucky Derby with Desmormeaux. It has to be fate,” Murans said.

The Derby post draw is today and Murans is hoping for any post spot between the No. 5 and No. 15 slots. With the much-larger-than-usual 20-horse field, the trip out of the gate and down the frontstretch is always vital, no matter how strong the horse is.

In a year where Hautean Steve Weatherford won a Super Bowl championship with the New York Giants, perhaps Murans can spare a rose for Terre Haute … as one of its native son’s tries to achieve immortality once more.

If Dullahan survives the opening maelstrom and is positioned to make a stretch run, Murans loves his chances to do just that.

“If he gets a clear run coming home, I have no doubt he’ll be a Kentucky Derby champion,” Murans said.

Todd Golden is sports editor of the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at (812) 231-4272 or todd.golden@tribstar.com. Follow Golden on Twitter @TribStarTodd.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
From the Press Box
  • SPT 101406 WALTMAN PRACTIC.jpg TODD GOLDEN: Waltman's integrity helped him rise to the top

    When I began to think about former Indiana State coach Royce Waltman — and I’ve thought about him a lot in recent months as the ravages of a stroke and cancer robbed us of his presence — I thought to myself “what can I print?”
    Waltman was many things. Blunt, plain-spoken, unfiltered? All of the above and more. Every Indiana State fan saw Waltman in action … and I had a front row seat for three years right next to him on press row.

    April 8, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • SPT 040514 COACH HANNAHS.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Missouri Valley is tough — ISU making it tougher

    For those who measure the quality of a conference by their place in the Ratings Percentage Index, it was a tough year for the Missouri Valley Conference and its marquee sport: men’s basketball.
    The MVC was 11th in conference RPI and took all manner of criticism when Wichita State ran the MVC table for a perfect 18-0 season. The fingers that pointed at the league for fielding a weak challenge to the Shockers’ dominance were many.

    April 5, 2014 2 Photos

  • TODD GOLDEN: ISU's no-excuses approach for real

    If you were to ask me what the drawback of covering Indiana State baseball is? I’d be hard-pressed to name very much.

    March 29, 2014

  • SPT 030914 ODUM BAKER.jpg Todd Golden: Sycamores ran with the best

    It’s hard to run with Secretariat. Secretariat, for the uninitiated, won horse racing’s Triple Crown in 1973 and famously stormed to victory in the Belmont Stakes by an unfathomable 31 lengths. Secretariat is widely considered to be the greatest thoroughbred of all time, and his Belmont performance is one of sports’ all-time greatest moments. In Missouri Valley Conference terms, Wichita State is Secretariat.

    March 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT 030814 ODUM GRAB.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Odum rises to WSU challenge

    When you’re getting ready to play the No. 2 team in the country — the undefeated No. 2 team in the country and the best Missouri Valley Conference team in a generation — the unwritten rule says you’re not supposed to rile them. That you’re not supposed to poke the hornet’s nest.

    March 9, 2014 2 Photos 2 Stories

  • MBBMock_packagephoto.jpg From The Press Box: The nuts and bolts of compiling a Mock Selection for the NCAA Tournament

    Before March Madness comes the March mystery of the run-up to Selection Sunday.

    February 17, 2014 3 Photos 1 Link

  • SPT 020514 ISU FANS STAND.jpg From the Press Box: Loss couldn’t ruin great day for ISU, Terre Haute

    When I write, and when I can, I like to give myself a bit of time to soak in what I’m going to write about. After Indiana State’s 65-58 loss to No. 4 Wichita State on Wednesday, I went home, had a bite to eat and pondered what I thought the night was all about.
    I knew ISU’s disappointment cut deep. Really deep. A cruel reality of sports is that losses linger on in the memory with greater resonance than wins often do. Given the shots that rattled out, fell short and missed the mark in the final five minutes, this is a defeat that will, sadly, dog the Sycamores tonight, tomorrow and 20 years from now.

    February 6, 2014 2 Photos

  • FROM THE PRESS BOX: Little to lose, a lot to gain for Indiana State

    It’s hard not to get excited about today’s Missouri Valley Conference summit meeting between co-leaders Indiana State and Wichita State. Who wouldn’t be?

    January 17, 2014

  • From the Press Box: I’ve seen the enemy … and it’s the double bonus

    I’ve seen the enemy.
    I’ve seen it turn the game of basketball from one of exciting flow into a nonstop parade of tedium. I’ve seen it morph hundreds of what would-be thrilling, last-minute, end-to-end conclusions into foul shooting exhibitions that suck the life out of a gym or arena near you.
    It’s the double bonus. It’s a scourge, one that is often overlooked when ideas on how to make the game more entertaining or to speed the game up are put forth.

    January 3, 2014

  • tsgolden From The Press Box: If ISU figures out defense, look out

    The Great Alaska Shootout is not going to provide the Great RPI Bump that Indiana State’s participation in last year’s Diamond Head Classic provided.

    December 1, 2013 1 Photo

  • From the Press Box: Damage is done for ISU football

    As a parent and a professional, there’s a bit of advice I’ve tried to pass along that I’ve found to be true.
    No matter what you happen to be doing — whether it be job performance or just your own personal behavior — you can do the right thing for a period of time, even the vast majority of the time, but all it takes is one slip and the goodwill you’ve built up can be gone in one fell swoop.
     

    November 24, 2013

  • TODD GOLDEN: Munn, Odum want to make paper accomplishment a real one

    When it comes to Missouri Valley Conference Media Day, it has historically been a kick in the gut for Indiana State's basketball teams.
    But not this year. For the first time since formal MVC preseason polls began in the mid-1980s, the Sycamores rule the MVC roost.

    October 31, 2013

  • tsgolden TODD GOLDEN: Colts fans paid Manning ultimate tribute

    Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis was many things — the return of a beloved prodigal son, a battle of Colts’ No. 1-draft-pick quarterbacks and last, but not least, the visit from one of the AFC’s last reminaing undefeated teams — but most of all, it could have been a battle for the Colts’ fans soul.

    October 21, 2013 1 Photo

  • From The Press Box: ISU in top 2 of top-heavy MVC

    Change doesn’t often come to Missouri Valley Conference basketball. Until this season, it had endured with the same 10 members since the mid-1990s. But the reality of conference realignment finally hit the MVC where it lived last spring as Creighton departed for the new Big East Conference. The MVC responded by adding Loyola University.

    October 13, 2013

  • USDvISfb-84468.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Sycamores shocked by 1-5 start to season

    It was a play that not only symbolized Indiana State’s 17-14 loss at South Dakota on Saturday, but perhaps the Sycamores’ entire season.
    Down three with 6:39 left in the fourth quarter, ISU faced third-and-9 from its own 39. ISU ran Shakir Bell to the left and the senior standout had daylight.

    October 12, 2013 1 Photo

  • SPT 091513 GRIMES PICK.jpg From The Press Box: An avoidable loss

    It couldn’t last forever.

    September 15, 2013 3 Photos

  • From The Press Box: Colts dodge bullets ... it's what they do

    Just a few minutes into the second quarter, it seemed Colts fans could kick back and enjoy a Sunday on Easy Street.

    September 9, 2013

  • SPT 090713 SANFORD HAZELL.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Indiana State proves plenty in 20-14 loss at Purdue

    No moral victories?
    Bull. Its always been bull and it will always be bull. The Sycamores proved again that moral victories are very real, and can be very rewarding.
    All they needed to do to prove it was to look at the stunned faces of the Purdue faithful at Ross-Ade Stadium in the Sycamores’ near-miss 20-14 loss to Purdue.

    September 8, 2013 4 Photos

  • From the Press Box: Stipends? No. Off-field income? Oh yeah, bring it on

    The war flags have been raised. The trumpets have sounded.
    With the Johnny Manziel autograph hullabaloo and the ongoing Ed O’Bannon suit against the NCAA for using his likeness as background, many have rallied to the battle standard of stipends as a means of compensating NCAA athletes who are allegedly being exploited for income by their universities.
    This rally cry has a particular resonance among those in my profession, many of whom dislike the current system, and who detest the NCAA with a virulent passion.

    August 15, 2013

  • TODD GOLDEN: Golf ... the beast within?

    Like many sports fans, my interest in professional golf is confined to the four major tournaments. Many prefer the Masters, some like the back-to-roots British Open, but I’ve always liked the U.S. Open the best.

    June 16, 2013

  • McNichols and Swift 1.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Close, but no cigar, theme for ISU sports in 2012-13

    When I covered my first event of Indiana State’s 2012-13 season — ISU’s opening football game at Indiana — I was the first one in the press box at IU’s Memorial Stadium. I’m never the first one in the press box.
    Maybe the prospect of ISU’s season had me so pumped that I decided to get it started close to three hours early? (Or more truthfully, maybe I was over-vigilent about predicted traffic horrors on the Indiana 46 bypass that never came to pass.)

    June 9, 2013 4 Photos

  • TODD GOLDEN: Don't give up on ISU baseball just yet

    If you had to pick one word that would describe the 2013 Indiana State baseball season, it would have to be frustration.

    May 16, 2013

  • FROM THE PRESSBOX: Content McKenna has enjoyed seeing ISU's progress

    It all happened so fast in June 2010.
    One minute, Kevin McKenna was head coach of the Indiana State men’s basketball program. Then — poof! — he was gone.
    McKenna resigned from his head coaching position at ISU on June 13, 2010 to take an assistant coach position on Dana Altman’s then-burgeoning University of Oregon staff.

    March 31, 2013

  • MVC can't wait on Crieghton to move forward

    Will they go or not? That’s been the question that the Missouri Valley Conference and Creighton have been faced with since rumors of the Bluejays’ potential exit went public in December.

    March 15, 2013

  • SPT 020613 ISU 3 JUBI.jpg FROM THE PRESSBOX: Can Sycamores reverse fortunes heading into MVC Tournament?

    Mastery of a basketball season comes in many forms. Mostly, it comes in forms that involve avoidance of turnovers, anemic scoring and poor defense.
    The mechanics of X-and-O success in basketball are obvious, but what’s often overlooked in building a successful campaign is managing the rhythm of the season, which is the hardest thing of all.

    March 6, 2013 1 Photo

  • FROM THE PRESS BOX: Accountability isn't Lansing's alone in ISU's recent struggles

    Taking ownership has always been one of Indiana State men’s basketball coach Greg Lansing’s strengths.
    When ISU has lost games in his three seasons at the helm that it was expected to win, Lansing has always been willing to fall on the sword and take blame for it.

    February 17, 2013

  • tsgolden TODD GOLDEN: Indiana State has far more occasions to rise to

    Rejoice, Indiana State basketball fans. The Sycamores’ 68-55 victory at No. 15 Wichita State on Tuesday is worthy of celebration.

    January 31, 2013 1 Photo

  • SPT012613 ISUMBBmhurin1.jpg TODD GOLDEN: Big plays in last 10 minutes story of the season for Indiana State

    You’d think I’d have learned by now.
    It’s 20 games into Indiana State’s men’s basketball season and I still expect the Sycamores’ offense operate like a well-oiled machine from the opening tip.

    January 27, 2013 4 Photos

  • Sycamores blossom on Hawaii trip

    Quick quiz … what’s the state flower of Hawaii?
    Don’t worry. I can’t just rattle state flowers off the top of my head. I had to look it up too, even though I’ve seen them all over the place in Honolulu.
    I didn’t even know that Indiana’s state flower is the peony, which replaced the apparently unloved zinnia in the 1950s.
    Hawaii’s flower, and they’re ubiquitous in Waikiki tourist shops and in actual flora on Oahu, is the yellow hibiscus.
    The yellow hibiscus is big, bold and bright. I’ve never seen one blossom, but I imagine it has to be a beautiful sight.
    What I have seen blossom — and it’s the only reason flowers would be brought up in my column — is the Indiana State basketball team at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

    December 25, 2012

  • TODD GOLDEN: ISU needs to have its realignment head on a swivel

    Have you ever driven past a cow pasture during a severe thunderstorm? If it’s really bad, the cows will congregate in a herd to protect themselves from the tumult.

    December 17, 2012

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Human Antidepressants Making Shrimp Too Calm Swiss Unveil New Solar Plane for Global Flight Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions NASA Releases Images of "graceful" Solar Flare Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War"
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity