Trainer Dale Romans holds a strong hand for the second half of the 2017 racing season with a trio of talented sophomores aiming for the summer’s high profile 3-year-old races.
The only one of the three on the Triple Crown trail was “TDN Rising Star” J Boys Echo (Mineshaft), who finished 15th in the GI Kentucky Derby May 6 and ninth in the GI Belmont S. June 10.
“He was completely eliminated from the Derby at the start and I don’t think he liked the track at Belmont,” Romans said. “He’ll come back in the late summer and could run in the [GI] Haskell [Invitational S. July 30] and hopefully make it to the [Aug. 26 GI] Travers S.”
Fellow “TDN Rising Star” Watch Me Whip (Smart Strike) was an impressive first out winner at Keeneland Apr. 14, but could do no better than eighth next out in Pimlico’s Sir Barton S. May 20. That dark bay is entered in a Churchill Downs optional claimer Sunday.
“He had a lot of little issues as a 2-year-old and that’s why we could never get there early enough,” commented Romans, who joked about sending Watch Me Whip to the Haskell after his debut win. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up running in some of the better races this summer and end up in some big races this fall.”
Opening his account with a victory at Ellis Park last September, Singing Bullet (Hard Spun) failed to fire when asked to route in both the GI Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity and Street Sense S. last fall. The bay made his belated 2017 bow Friday in a 6 1/2-furlong test at Churchill, going gate-to-wire for a three-length success.
“This horse ran a monster race Friday,” Romans remarked. “He had a bit of a setback after he broke his maiden last year but the way he came back I’d like to point him to the [Aug. 26 GI] H. Allen Jerkens Memorial [S.] (formerly known as the King’s Bishop) at Saratoga.”