Dennis' Moment poised to surpass Not This Time's legacy

September 17, 2019 10:15am
The Albaugh Family Stable and its trainer, Dale Romans, have been in this position before: on top of the Kentucky Derby leaderboard following an impressive win in the Iroquois Stakes. 

Dennis' Moment's victory Saturday, the comparisons to their 2016 winner, Not This Time, are simply unavoidable. Both horses started their careers at Churchill Downs before breaking their maidens second out at Ellis Park. From there, they both went back to Churchill Downs and won stakes debuts in the Iroquois.

To further draw the comparison between the two juveniles, consider this from the individual who knows them best. Romans said in advance of Dennis' Moment's Iroquois, “I can only think of one other horse that I’ve trained that has shown this much potential as a 2-year-old, and that’s Not This Time."

As for the next step, the comparisons can continue. Dennis' Moment will train up to his next start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, just as Not This Time did back in 2016.

"I'm a creature of habit," Romans quipped after the Iroquois.

To top it off, the championships are returning to Santa Anita Park, where Not This Time finished second to Classic Empire in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

But that is where connections should hope the career paths diverge, as first, they'll be seeking a finishing spot one better. Also, they'll be looking for a longer stay on the Kentucky Derby trail than with Not This Time, who suffered a career-ending soft tissue injury and retired before beginning his 3-year-old campaign.

There are positive signs Dennis' Moment won't have a similar fate.

"Not This Time always had little nagging stuff wrong with him," Romans said after the Iroquois. "This horse doesn’t have a thing wrong with him. There’s nothing to worry about on him as of now."

Albaugh Family Stable and Romans are still known for their shots at Derby glory. Dennis' Moment could very well give the connections their best chance yet after partnering to send three previous Derby starters postward.

In 2016, the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) winner Brody's Cause finished seventh. In 2017, the Albaughs still made it to the Derby following Not This Time's retirement with the Gotham Stakes (G3) hero J Boys Echo, who finished 15th. And in 2018, Breeders' Futurity (G1) winner Free Drop Billy ran 16th.

That the connections didn't return to the Derby in 2019 wasn't due to lack of trying. Each of Admire, Mr. Ankeny and Come On Gerry ran in points-paying preps, but none of them accumulated the totals to qualify.

For Dennis' Moment, there appears to be a rare combination of talent, hype and a pedigree that could make him a success next season as well. Given it's all adding up, Romans said,
 “It’s hard when you have a horse of this magnitude (not to) think Derby.”


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About Me

Meet Bryan Brinkmeyer  


Growing up across the river from the Bluegrass State, I was able to spend a lot of summer days at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky. It was there that my attraction to the Sport of Kings began. In the spring of 2000, I made my inaugural Kentucky Derby appearance, and the tradition continues annually because there is no other city in the racing world like Louisville, Ky., on Derby Day.

Although the story of a Kentucky Derby winner is legendary, a champion's trail is what The Kentucky Derby Post is all about. It begins when 2-year-olds hit the track & continues until the field is set, the picks are in, and the roses are awarded. 

Twitter: @thederbypost

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