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
“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.