Trainer Dale Romans' huge Ellis Park meet could get even bigger with Night Time in Sunday's $100,000 TwinSpires Ellis Park Juvenile.
Night Time won by daylight in his debut June 30 at Ellis Park, leading all the way through a fast time to prevail by 4 1/2 lengths. With eight wins out of 26 starters, Romans stands third in the trainer standings behind 13-for-100 Steve Asmussen and 12-for-40 Brad Cox. Romans' victories include the $75,000 Good Lord Stakes with Seven Trumpets.
But Romans' Churchill Downs-based barn made the biggest noise with the 2-year-old Dennis' Moment, a 19 1/4-length Ellis Park maiden winner who is bypassing Sunday's TwinSpires Juvenile to train up to Churchill Downs' Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes. Romans isn't going to compare Night Time to Dennis' Moment but said the son of Majesticperfection ranks among his best 2-year-olds.
“This is a nice horse. He's fast, and I think he'll run big,” Romans said from New York. “He's a very talented horse. We thought about bringing him up to Saratoga. But he's right there. It seemed like it was probably a little easier spot, and we'll see where we go from here.
“I was expecting him to win first time out. He's a big, pretty horse. For the pedigree, someone paid a lot of money. I thought he was one of the prettiest horses to go through Keeneland last year. I think he's going to be the real deal.”
Night Time, a $210,000 Keeneland yearling, is owned by the Blue Devil Racing Stable of Marc Holliday, chief executive officer of SL Green Realty Corp., New York City's largest owner of commercial office properties. The source of the stable name is not Duke University, Romans said, “His high school was the Blue Devils. He's actually a Columbia grad.
“Off and on I've had a couple of horses here and there for him, plus he's a close friend. I think this could be a special horse. I've got a lot of nice 2-year-olds, and this is one of the better ones.”
Night Time is ridden by Channing Hill, whose agent, Jake Romans, is the trainer's son. After the June 30 romp, Hill said: “Dale told me he really liked him. This guy, he broke sharp, was green, just kept running from the quarter pole. Still a little green, so he should have a lot of upside to him.”
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