Prospect Watch: Dennis' Moment leads Romans barn's weekend

By Keeler Johnson, Special to HRN
September 12, 2019 09:09am
Prospect Watch: Dennis' Moment leads Romans barn's weekend
Photo: Coady Photography

Last week was a big one for well-bred (and expensive) juveniles as Mo Hawk, Alpha Sixty Six and Cambria all scored victories after being featured on the Prospect Watch.

Time will tell if this week’s pricey, pedigreed prospects can keep the momentum going, but there’s certainly no shortage of them entered to race on Saturday at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky racetrack has scheduled a terrific afternoon of racing for the second day of its brief September meet, which will be highlighted by the
Iroquois Stakes (G3), the first stop on the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

Let’s dig through the entries for this impressive card and examine eight promising youngsters to follow:

Churchill Downs Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (6 furlongs)

#5 Bank

The six-furlong distance of this maiden sprint is probably too short for Bank, so anything resembling a promising debut from this $275,000 yearling purchase could be a sign of big things to come. Conditioned by Ron Moquett, Bank is a son of 2006 Preakness Stakes winner Bernardini out of the Gone West mare Speed Succeeds, who is already renowned as the dam of 2011 Blue Grass Stakes (G1) winner Brilliant Speed and 2011 Remsen Stakes (G2) runner-up Souper Speedy. With this classic-oriented pedigree, Bank should thrive when stretched out around two turns.

#6 Cavalry Charge

As a son of champion Honor Code out of the Candy Ride mare Sweet Talkin, Cavalry Charge is bred to excel running a mile or farther and figures to improve with maturity. You can bet Cavalry Charge’s patient trainer Dallas Stewart will get the most out this well-bred colt considering Stewart has made a habit out of bringing unheralded youngsters to peak form just in time to crash the party in Triple Crown races. Remember Golden Soul, Commanding Curve, and Tale of Verve, all runners-up at big prices in either the Kentucky Derby or Preakness Stakes? Perhaps Cavalary Charge will progress down a similar path for Stewart, though the colt’s bullet workout on Sept. 4 (five furlongs in :59 4/5) hints that this $375,000 yearling purchase might also have the necessary speed to win on debut.

#12 Fight Fight Fight

This Dale Romans-trained son of Uncle Mo didn’t show much in his debut at Ellis Park, fading steadily to finish seventh by 15 lengths. But Fight Fight Fight was strongly supported in the wagering that day, starting at 3-1, so perhaps it’s wise to forgive his no-show debut and assume he’ll benefit from having a run under his belt. Fight Fight Fight is clearly a well-regarded colt (he sold for $850,000 as a yearling), and Romans wins at a 20% rate with second-time starters. It’s worth noting that reigning Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount, as he’s in to ride a bigger-name Romans runner we’ll get to later.

Churchill Downs Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (1 1/16 miles on turf)

#3 Achievable

This Godolphin blueblood boasts a stellar pedigree. He’s a son of renowned stallion Medaglia d’Oro (sire of Rachel Alexandra, Songbird and Talismanic, among others) out of the Hard Spun mare Questing, winner of the 2012 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and Alabama Stakes (G1). This pedigree is obviously slanted toward success running long on dirt, so this grass race looks like more of a starting point for Achievable, who figures to switch surfaces down the road. But at least the 1 1/16-mile distance should be in his wheelhouse, so keep a close eye on this Brendan Walsh-trained colt to see how he fares.

#7 In the Deep

At first glance, In the Deep might seem like a colt bred for dirt, as his sire (Pioneerof the Nile) and grandsires (Empire Maker and Mineshaft) were all Grade 1 winners who excelled on dirt while siring similar types at stud. But In the Deep is also a half-brother to Azar, winner of the With Anticipation Stakes (G2) on grass at Saratoga, so there’s a chance this colt will be ready to romp on debut for trainer Brad Cox. There will certainly be high expectations from his connections; Robert LaPenta purchased In the Deep for $650,000 as a yearling.

Churchill Downs Race 10: Iroquois Stakes (G3, 1 1/16 miles)

#8 Dennis’ Moment

It’s safe to say Dennis’ Moment is already on the radar for most handicappers. After all, he absolutely annihilated 11 rivals in a seven-furlong maiden race on July 27 at Ellis Park, setting a solid pace before finishing in :36.11 to win by 19 ¼ lengths with a massive 97 Beyer speed figure, the highest assigned to any juvenile so far this season. Purchased for $400,000 as a yearling, this Dale Romans-trained son of Tiznow is bred to stretch out and has been throwing down bullet workouts like clockwork at Churchill Downs. Anything less than a resounding victory on Saturday will be considered a disappointment for this potential star. As mentioned earlier, Ortiz Jr. is in town to ride.

Churchill Downs Race 11: Maiden Special Weight (1 mile)

#1 Continental Clash

Similar to the above-mentioned Fight Fight Fight, Continental Crash could be a live second-time starter for Dale Romans, who wins at a 20% rate with such runners. Continental Crash had a troubled run when finishing fifth on debut sprinting five furlongs at Ellis Park, and considering his pedigree (he’s by Tiznow out of a Giant’s Causeway mare), Continental Crash should relish the opportunity to stretch his legs over a full mile on Saturday.

#8 Sounion

Sold for $360,000 as a yearling, Sounion was no match for Dennis’ Moment in his debut at Ellis Park, but after breaking slowly in a large field, the son of Liam’s Map did produce a decent rally to finish third. There might be room for improvement from this Brian Lynch-trained colt, whose half-sister Promise Me Silver won eight stakes races (including the Grade 3 Eight Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs) during a decorated career.


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