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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.