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Disappointing Travers Day for Dale Romans

31 January 2009: Trainer Dale Romans at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida.

Off a day of high expectations that turned into disappointments, trainer Dale Romans was back at work Sunday morning, putting in entries for later race days.


For Romans’ star 3-year-old Shackleford, there was little to do other than get him ready to head back to Kentucky following an eighth-place finish in the Grade 1, $1 million Travers.


Sent off as the third choice, at just under 4-1, in the field of 10, the Preakness winner raced outside winner Stay Thirsty and Ruler On Ice into the backstretch, made the lead through a half-mile in 47.63 seconds and six furlongs in 1:11.91 but had no punch turning for home.


“He came out good; we’ll just go home and regroup,” said Romans, who will remain in Saratoga through the rest of the race meet. “We don’t have an explanation for it. He wasn’t quite on the bit. He’s still on track for the Breeders’ Cup.”


Compounding Romans’ woes was the poor performance of his ace sprinter Sassy Image, strong favorite to win the Grade 1 Ballerina for fillies and mares at seven furlongs.


Looking for her third Grade 1 win of the year, Sassy Image hopped awkwardly from the gate at the start, lagged behind the field and bore out badly on the turn. She finished more than 26 lengths behind winner Hilda’s Passion.


Afterward, Romans discovered Sassy Image had torn a quarter on her left front.


“That’s why she was getting out like she did,” he said. “She might have done it while she was coming out of the gate. She jumped pretty good.”


Romans put a picture of the hoof on the Romans Racing Stable Facebook page.



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