Romans as Confident as Ever in Dennis’ Moment

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Dennis’ Moment | Coady

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It’s been nearly four months since Dennis’ Moment (Tiznow) was last seen finishing last in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the result of a bad stumble at the start. That’s not the way anyone wants to go into their 3-year-old season, but nothing that he has seen from Dennis’ Moment has lessened the enthusiasm trainer Dale Romans has for his horse.

“At this stage going into the Derby, I think he’s probably the best prospect I’ve ever had,” Romans said. “I’ve had a lot of good ones and I’ve had a few great ones. Kitten’s Joy (El Prado {Ire}) was the gold standard of the best horses I have trained. Shackleford (Forestry) was a fine horse, and there have been a bunch of others. Not This Time (Giant’s Causeway), I thought he was the best 2-year-old I’d ever trained and he got hurt in the Breeders’ Cup in California. But this is probably the best horse I’ve had as a 3-year-old. I would say by far.”

Like everyone else, Romans is throwing out the Breeders’ Cup, but that doesn’t lessen the sting from what happened that day at Santa Anita.

“The Breeders’ Cup was the worst day that I’ve had in racing in, I don’t know, maybe ever,” he said. “I figured there was no way any of these horses can beat him. I thought everything was setting up right. He was training the best, I thought, of everybody out there. It might sound arrogant, but I just thought he was. Then to see him lose all chance at the gate. He stumbled so hard he went to his knees and was literally running on his knees. The still shots show it all. It’s amazing that he even got up and kept running. That was a long walk back to the barn, and it’s been a long period from then until now.”

The wait is finally over and Romans will start to find out if his assessment of Dennis’ Moment is correct when his colt makes his 3-year-old debut in Saturday’s GII Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. at Gulfstream. With Dennis’ Moment heading a field also expected to include Structor (Palace Malice), Chance It (Currency Swap) and Shotski (Blame), the race will be the strongest prep for the GI Kentucky Derby run so far this year.

“We gave him 38 days off and it was just to let him rest,” Romans said. “It was hard not to stick to the original plan. My gut wanted me to wheel him back and show everybody how good he is, to show he should be the champion. But I didn’t think that was the best thing for a 3-year-old year, so we stuck to our plan. We brought him down here and he’s done super. Every day he’s gotten a little bit better, a little bit stronger and seems like he’s getting ready for a peak performance next weekend.”

The Breeders’ Cup wasn’t the only time everything went wrong for Dennis’ Moment. In his first career start he threw jockey Robby Albarado.

“It was some scary moment, standing there watching him run with the reins dangling, knowing he could put his leg through them,” Romans said. “Knowing he’s probably one of the best horses I ever had and that he could step on his reins and go flipping head over heels. But he made it out of it.”

Unscathed, he came back to break his maiden at Ellis Park by 19 1/4 lengths. Romans then sent him to the GIII Iroquois S. at Churchill and the result was an impressive win.

“I thought he ran a beautiful race in the Iroquois,” Romans said. “He just took the lead, he looked up at the big board, he saw where he was, and then he started gearing him down.”

Off those two performances, Dennis’ Moment was made the 9-10 favorite in the Juvenile. It was not meant to be, but that race will be long forgotten if he wins the Kentucky Derby.

“I want him to come out [in the Fountain of Youth] and show that he’s as good as I think he is,” Romans said. “I think it’s going to be a good day for him. I’m very confident in him. I think he’s a superstar.”

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