Romans: Tough not to look ahead with 'proven' Dennis' Moment

September 15, 2019 10:50am

As Dennis’ Moment walked into the Churchill Downs winner’s circle Saturday, jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. relayed to trainer Dale Romans that the farther the better for the star 2-year-old colt.

Romans’ response: How about a mile and a quarter?

“Now he’s proven he’ll run over this racetrack,” Romans said after Dennis’ Moment prevailed in his stakes debut in the Iroquois (G3), a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile that also awards points toward making the gate in Romans’ even more prized race, the Kentucky Derby.

“I try to stop myself — try to go race to race — but it’s hard,” the trainer added. “It’s hard when you have a horse of this magnitude (not to) think Derby.”

The Louisville, Ky., native would like to check out the other Churchill Downs winner’s circle — across the turf track, and reserved for the Derby — come May 2, 2020. Dennis’ Moment looks like the goods after ranging up three-wide to take the lead, then coasting home under wraps.

It was technically the Tiznow colt’s third career start, as he debuted June 23 at Churchill Downs but lost jockey Robby Albarado on the back stretch. Albarado subsequently missed time due to injury, and Miguel Mena guided Dennis’ Moment to a breakout 19 1/2-length victory July 27 at Ellis Park.

Ortiz Jr. hopped aboard for the Iroquois, and Romans said the New York-based jockey will keep the mount for the Breeders’ Cup.

“We’ve got plenty of mounts for Robby coming back,” Romans said. “We feel bad for Robby. I had to make a move, and I wasn’t sure where he’d be health-wise coming into this race. If something ever happens and (Dennis’ Moment) needs a rider, I know where to get one.”

Dennis’ Moment ran wide on a track with an obvious rail bias, and he showed the ability to relax and stalk behind horses in the Iroquois.

“I feel a lot better going into the Breeders’ Cup,” said Dennis Albaugh, patriarch of owner Albaugh Family Stables.

The Iowa native runs Albaugh, Inc., and Forbes accordingly coined him the “Pesticide Prince.” Already a billionaire, certainly Albaugh has had his share of life “moments.” So why this name?

“That’s the sire,” he said. “Basically, if you take a look at Tiznow, we said Dennis’ what? Moment. So that’s kind of where the name came.

“…It was a surprise to me. I had to ask myself, ‘Where’d that name come from?’”

Albaugh expected next week to start discussing Dennis’ Moment’s race schedule, with the Nov. 1 Breeders’ Cup next up at Santa Anita Park up first. When the championships ran in Arcadia, Calif., in 2016, Not This Time finished a close second to Classic Empire for the Albaughs and Romans.

Not This Time had also lost his Churchill debut, broke his maiden at Ellis Park and won the Iroquois Stakes. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile marked his final start due to injury that sent the Giant’s Causeway colt to stud at Taylor Made farm.

“That’s the only horse I’ve had so far that can compare with this one,” Romans said of Dennis’ Moment. “It’s hard to say one’s better than the other. They’re both superstars. Not This Time always had little nagging stuff wrong with him. This horse doesn’t have a thing wrong with him. There’s nothing to worry about on him as of now.”


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