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Dennis' Moment Looks for Better Racing Luck in Fountain of Youth

Dennis' Moment, Kentucky Derby contender, schools in starting gate for Fountain of Youth Stakes
Dennis' Moment schools in the starting gate. Photo by Gwen Davis/Davis Innovation.

Dennis’ Moment has been on the minds of many racing fans since his breathtaking performances in early 2019. His maiden breaking 19 ¼ length romp at Ellis Park on July 27th had trainer Dale Romans boasting that Dennis’ Moment was the best two-year old he’s ever had. Fans and bettors felt the same way after watching the son of Tiznow crush his opponents in the Iroquois Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs a few months later. His time of 1:43.58 for 1 1/16 miles was a new stakes record.

Dale Romans was again smitten with his horse. He told BloodHorse, “This is just an amazing animal. He goes out there and does it with his ears up like he is just galloping around there. The jock was shutting him down the last sixteenth of the mile there, and he still runs the time he did. He's something special."

[Video: Watch Dennis' Moment (#8) win the Iroquois Stakes to earn 10 Kentucky Derby points]

Dreams of roses were undoubtedly in the head of every one of Dennis’ connections after the Iroquois. But with the race still many months away, sights were set on the next best thing: the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

The beautiful, bay colt was turning in great workouts in preparation for the race. Horse racing’s fans brought him up every chance they got. Social media was flooded with photos and videos of him. No one could mention potential Kentucky Derby winners without highlighting Dennis’ Moment. He was quickly becoming a fan favorite.

When it came time for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita, it was immediately clear that the bettors loved him too. He was even favored over Bob Baffert’s beloved Eight Rings. But as every fan and follower of horse racing knows all too well, nothing is promised.

Santa Anita’s gates swung open and the crowd erupted with cheers, but Dennis’ Moment did not start the race well. He stumbled down to his knees, finding just enough energy to pick himself back up as the pack of juveniles left him in their dust. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. stayed patient with Dennis, positioning him on the rail to trail the field.

Unfortunately to all of the fans, bettors, and connections of Dennis’ Moment, the colt simply didn’t have it in him to win. The dirt soaked horse finished last. It wasn’t the first time the horse lost a race because of bad racing luck -- Dennis’ Moment clipped heels in his maiden debut and lost his jockey.

[Video: Watch Dennis' Moment (#1) stumble at the start of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile]

Trainer Dale Romans said that Dennis’ Moment was okay after the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but was sore in his shoulders for a few days afterwards. The decision was made to give him time off at Winstar Farm, home of his sire Tiznow.

He’s now back in action at Gulfstream Park getting ready for another Kentucky Derby prep, the Fountain of Youth Stakes. This $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Purchase has been training very well for Albaugh Family Racing. His connections are sure that they have a superstar on their hands, they just need him to have better luck in this race.

“I want him to come out and show that he’s as good as I think he is,” Dale Romans told Jennie Rees of the Thoroughbred News Service. “But I think it’s going to be a good day for him…. I’m very confident in him. I think he’s a superstar. I think he’s going to jump out there and run a huge race.”

Dennis’ Moment has a lot to prove in Saturday’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes. He will have to overpower horses like Mucho Macho Man Stakes winner Chance It, Holy Bull Stakes (G3) runner-up Ete Indien, and Remsen Stakes (G2) winner Shotski. A victory here would award Dennis’ Moment fifty Kentucky Derby points, basically solidifying a chance for him to run for the roses.

Some of the confidence that horse racing fans had in Dennis’ Moment has wavered, but triumph in the Fountain of Youth could bring it all right back. In a career littered with ups and downs for Dennis’ Moment, that would surely be a good story to tell.

Tune in to TVG or Fox Sports 2 to watch the Fountain of Youth to see if Dennis’ Moment will succeed or if another horse will defeat him! Post Time is at 5:32 p.m. ET.

[Video: Watch trainer Dale Romans talk about Dennis' Moment's chances in the Fountain of Youth]


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