What to watch for: Dennis’ Moment leads Iroquois probables

September 10, 2019 09:40am
What to watch for: Dennis’ Moment leads Iroquois probables
Photo: Cady Coulardot

This Saturday, we’ll see whether the hype train continues rolling for Dennis’ Moment, the 19 1/4-length maiden winner whose connections have been talking 2020 Kentucky Derby since before the colt debuted.

A son of Tiznow trained by Dale Romans, Albaugh Family Stables’ runner leads the prospective field for Churchill Downs’ Grade 3, $200,000 Iroquois Stakes, which not only provides a “Win and You’re In” spot for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile but offers the season’s first Derby qualifying points.

After Dennis’ moment fired a bullet breeze last weekend, Romans called Dennis’ Moment “a special horse,” adding that “I don’t know if I’ve had one doing the things he’s doing right now.” Maybe this is the horse that breaks through for the Louisville native the first Saturday in May.

The journey begins in the 1 1/16-mile Iroquois, for which we can list seven probables gathered from published reports and some help from Churchill’s publicity staff.

Among them is Rowdy Yates, the Ellis Park Juvenile winner for the familiar connections of trainer Steve Asmussen and L and N Racing. On Aug. 18, he went seven furlongs in 1:22.70. On July 27, Dennis’ Moment covered it in 1:21.95.

Scabbard has a more interesting story than his results indicate. The Saratoga Special (G2) runner-up ran last time under the name “Noose.” Connections had that changed once the obvious racial undertones were pointed out.

Then, as he tends to do this time of year, trainer Kenny McPeek’s expected to show up in Churchill’s September Meet-opening stakes with some overarchievers. The $45,000 purchase January Won prevailed by a length in his Saratoga debut, while Flute Maker, who cost $35,000, ran off by 11 1/2 lengths in a flight for horses that sold for $45,000 or less at auction. That’s a division tailor-made for McPeek.

Here’s a full rundown with more entries expected by draw time Wednesday:

Also on the card is the Grade 2, $200,000 Pocahontas, which grants a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies along with a few Kentucky Oaks qualifying points.

Lazy Dazy, well beaten in the Del Mar Debutante (G1), gets another try in this spot shipping in for trainer Doug O’Neill. She’ll be up against, among others, a pair of interesting Saratoga maiden winners. Morning Gold is another McPeek runner, while British Idiom hails from the Brad Cox barn and last Saturday worked alongside of champion Monomoy Girl to earn her spot here.

Blood Curdling is worth a mention, as the $325,000 Fed Biz filly won by 11 lengths on debut, albeit at Colonial Downs. This is an obvious class test, but given the purchase price, connections obviously believe in her.

This one also draws Wednesday with more entries incoming:

Saturday’s 2-year-old stakes at Churchill Downs will be joined on the card by the Locust Grove (G3) for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles and the Open Mile for female sprinters.


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