Romans Maps Out A Plan For Coming Weeks
It was less than a month ago that Dale Romans received the Eclipse Award as champion trainer of 2012 during ceremonies at Gulfstream Park for his work with stable stars such as Little Mike, Shackleford, Dullahan and Silver Max to name a few.
Now Romans is gearing up his stable to make national headlines once again in 2013.
The Louisville, Ky. native has a number of promising 3-year-olds once again in his barn led by a couple of 3-year-olds owned and bred by Sienna Farm LLC - the colt Dewey Square and the filly Private Ensign. Both are nearing starts in graded stakes races at Gulfstream with the goal being a trip to Churchill Downs the first weekend in May for a start in the Kentucky Derby (G1) for Dewey Square and the Kentucky Oaks (G1) for Private Ensign.
Private Ensign is scheduled to start in the $250,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) Saturday, Feb. 23 while Dewey Square is expected to run in the $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes (G3) Saturday, March 3.
Romans admits Private Ensign “takes a big step up to run in the stakes," a race in which the likely favorite will be Dreaming of Julia, a top 2-year-old filly developed last year by trainer Todd Pletcher.
Dewey Square came to South Florida this winter with a big reputation after winning his first two starts in Kentucky before a strong third-place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill on Nov. 24 after a big stretch rally in the 1 1/16 miles test.
But the son of Bernardini finished a distant seventh in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) here on Jan. 26 behind Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby in his 3-year-old debut. Romans and jockey Corey Lanerie attributed the dull try to not handling kickback. While Romans has not wavered in his faith in Dewey Square’s ability, he has altered plans on a schedule to get him to the Derby.
“He worked on the turf here (1:01 4/5 on Feb. 10),” said Romans. “It looked like he handled it just fine. He’s still on the Derby trail, this race and then the Blue Grass.” The $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (G1) will be run at Keeneland on Saturday, April 13.
While Romans prepares his 3-year-olds for their next start, he has nearly completed the serious training for older stars Little Mike and Dullahan for their long trip to Dubai to prepare for the March 30 Dubai World Cup.
“The plane leaves from Miami on Feb. 27," Romans said. "They’ll run in different races on March. 9.” Both races will be run on the synthetic Tapeta surface at Meydan.
Priscilla Vaccarezza’s 6-year-old gelding Little Mike and Donegal Racing’s 4-year-old Dullahan, who between them won five Grade 1 stakes last year, have posted a steady series of works over the Gulfstream track in recent weeks ahead of their trip.
While Dullahan will definitely go in the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1), a decision on Little Mike’s choice of races on World Cup Day will depend on how he handles a synthetic surface for the first time on March 9. Also to be run on World Cup Day are the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) at 1 ½ miles on turf and $5 million Dubai Duty Free (G1) at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Romans won the 2005 renewal of the Dubai World Cup with Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Roses in May after finishing second in the Donn Handicap (G1) behind Saint Liam, the latter going on to be voted Horse of the Year that season.
Another older star back for another season in the Romans barn will be Mark Bacon and Dana Wells’ 4-year-old Silver Max, who posted his first workout of the year here on Feb. 9 (half-mile in 50 3/5).
The son of Silver Badge won six straight races on turf last year, beginning with an allowance race early in the season at Gulfstream before five straight stakes races, including the American Turf (G2) at Churchill, Arlington Classic and rich Virginia Derby (G2) at Colonial Downs in July.