Trainer Patrick “Paddy” Gallagher is known as one of the most likable on the Southern California circuit thanks to his easy demeanor, quick wit and wicked Irish sense of humor bordering on the inappropriate. He’s also known as one of the better trainers in the Golden State despite the fact that, so far in his career, he’s only conditioned one Kentucky Derby (GI) runner, Domestic Dispute, who finished 10th in 2003.
Gallager was initially a jockey in his native Ireland, but after winning just a single race, moved to the United States to pursue a training career, where he assisted legends like John Sullivan and Bill Shoemaker and worked with notable equine athletes such as The Bart, Forzando, Yashgan, Vernon Castle, Fire The Groom and Diazo.
After helping to manage Shoemaker’s shedrow following the former rider’s 1991 automobile accident that left him a quadriplegic until 1997, Gallagher went on his own and, since then, has saddled nearly 4,400 starters for 553 victories and more than $30 million in earnings. Some of his more notable runners include Grade I winner Magical Fantasy and multiple Grade II winners Flamboyant, Dice Flavor, Valbenny and Tucked Away.
This year, the affable Irishman will tighten the girth on maiden Trojan Nation, who will be the 10th runner looking for a first career victory in Run for the Roses. Though three maidens have won the Kentucky Derby in 141 previous runnings, none have done so since Brokers Tip in 1933. Nationalore was the most recent, finishing 10th in 1998.
Well-bred Trojan Nation, a son of Street Cry and the 1996 champion juvenile filly Storm Song (Summer Squall) earned his chance to make the Kentucky Derby starting gate by virtue of the 40 points he earned from his fast-closing second to Outwork in the Wood Memorial (GI). While the colt has his work cut out for him, he certainly has a pedigree ability to help make up for what he lacks in experience.