Two Kentucky Derby 2020 preps penciled in for Dennis' Moment

November 21, 2019 12:00pm

Trainer Dale Romans, in an appearance this week on Steve Byk’s “At the Races” radio show, said barn star Dennis’ Moment is scheduled to return to training Dec. 15 with aims of qualifying for the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

The son of Tiznow is freshening up at WinStar Farm in Kentucky before rejoining Romans’ string for the winter at Gulfstream Park. There, he’s penciled in to run twice — in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) — before the first Saturday in May.

Dennis’ Moment has had an all-or-nothing career thus far evidencing obvious talent for the $400,000 yearling purchase.

On debut, he lost jockey Robby Albarado last June at Churchill Downs. Then he returned to break his maiden July 27 at Ellis Park by 19 1/4 lengths with what on the Beyer Speed Figure scale ranks second-fastest from the crop at a 97.

Dennis’ Moment rolled to an uneventful score in Churchill’s Iroquois Stakes (G3) in September, earning that all-important win over the track. But when off as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile favorite, he stumbled badly Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park.

“How do you even talk about it? What do you even say?” Romans told Byk when looking back at the Breeders’ Cup. “You put all your eggs in one basket, and you drop the basket as soon as the gate opens. It was incredible.

“I still think he’s the best 2-year-old in the country. I think it was unfortunate. I don’t want to get into all of what could have happened, but he came back good.”

Romans said for a moment, he considered trying to convince owner Albaugh Family Stables to race again this season in hopes of securing an Eclipse Award for champion 2-year-old. Then focus the bigger picture — “we need to stick to the best path to the Kentucky Derby” — returned.

The 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth is scheduled for Feb. 29 at Gulfstream. It’s essentially a win-and-you’re-in event looking toward the Kentucky Derby, offering 50 qualifying points to the winner. The 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby then runs March 28 with 100 points to its winner.

Dennis’ Moment’s schedule — “that’s today’s plan,” racing manager Jason Loutsch clarified — is subject to change. Gulfstream hosts one other Derby trail event, the Feb. 1 Holy Bull (G2), at 1 1/16 miles, though its points offerings are on the smaller scale with 10 to the winner.

 

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