10/24/2013 11:54AM

Breeders’ Cup: Romans stable looks ahead to championship event in wake of Dullahan’s death

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Barbara D. Livingston
Tammy Fox, pictured aboard Breeders' Cup Marathon contender Suns Out Guns Out, says Dullahan was "the kind of horse you never forget."

ARCADIA, Calif. – Of the many people saddened by the death of multiple Grade 1 winner Dullahan, perhaps no one took it harder than Bailey Romans. The 20-year-old daughter of Dale Romans and Tammy Fox absolutely reveled in the exploits of an exceptional chestnut colt who died Oct. 20 from a ruptured colon.

“She wrote this long letter about him and read it to me crying on the phone from school” – at the University of Dayton – “and of course that made me tear up,” Fox said. “Bailey and the groom [Anibal Abriago], we all get attached to these animals like they’re family. It’s like for other people when their dog dies. It’s just really, really tough on you.”

Fox has been at Santa Anita for nearly two weeks in overseeing the preparation of four Romans horses set to compete next weekend in the Breeders’ Cup, and while the news about Dullahan was a major emotional setback, it has not precluded her and Romans from sticking to business. Little Mike (BC Turf), Silver Max (BC Mile), Suns Out Guns Out (BC Marathon), and Cleburne (BC Juvenile) all will have their final workouts here Saturday, with the obvious goal being to enjoy happier times in this up-and-down sport.

“They’re all doing extremely well,” Fox said. “Dale will be here to watch all the works.”

By arriving Oct. 14, the Romans horses avoided the cold spell that descended upon Kentucky in recent days. Some horsemen believe moving from a cold to warm climate can have a subtle detrimental effect on horses, although that was not the main reason the Romans horses got here as early as they did.

“Sending them early is Dale’s M.O.,” said Fox. “In case anything goes wrong in their training, he wants to be able to have time to straighten it out.”

Little Mike, winner of the 2012 BC Turf, “is getting over the ground just like he did last year, so hopefully we can get that repeat,” she said.

Little Mike, a 6-year-old gelding bred and owned by Carlo and Priscilla Vaccarezza, finally has rounded back into form after struggling much of this year, winning the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont last month. Little Mike won three Grade 1 turf races last year and was a big part of the reason Romans was voted the Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer.

Silver Max will have a rematch in the Mile with Wise Dan, the 2012 Horse of the Year he upset earlier this month at Keeneland. “He looks like a monster out there in his training,” said Fox.

A fifth Romans starter, Medal Count for the Juvenile, is scheduled to arrive here Tuesday from Churchill Downs.

The excitement of Breeders’ Cup figures to help ease the pain that lingers from the loss of a horse that was truly special to Romans and Fox and their family, friends, clients, and fans.

“He was the kind of horse you never forget,” said Fox, “but we’re moving on the best we can. You have to.”

Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
Both Little Mike and Silver Max could hit the board. Best of luck. I remember when Dullahan won the Pacific Classic, he came rolling in the stretch with his chestnut coat dappled and shining in the late afternoon sun. He seemed like an obvious pick on top as I ripped up my tickets.
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Good luck to the Romans stable, and condolences on the loss of Dullahan. I've met Dale, and he was very accomodating to all fans who wanted to chat with him. Tammy seems very nice as well, very focused and determined.
Geral John Pinault More than 1 year ago
I feel bad for the Romans family, but I doubt that they will win a BC race this year...
liberalsuck123 . More than 1 year ago
Thats probably what you thought last year. And the year Court Vision won for Dale. I think Cleburne has an awesome chance and you're o erlooking his turf runners...again
IRANIANMULLAH More than 1 year ago
Court Vsion Little Mike I think frenchie here gonna lose his shirt
Mark More than 1 year ago
I like how this cute pet name "Dully" is being used by fans as if the horse was theirs. Ive heard it numerous times since the first article was posted. Amazingly enough, I never once heard that used when the horse was alive.
ghost2_ More than 1 year ago
I don't think it's cute. It's actually rather annoying. I liked the horse, and I think Dullahan all by itself is a great name.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Maybe that's what they called him in the barn. Did you ever hear of Baby Huey?
Matt D. More than 1 year ago
Mark, that is some kind of ironic post - intended or not. Check out the name Dullahan in irish lore.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
A nice testament to how Fox/Romans and all true Horsemen love the horses. Carry On...
Mary Reynolds More than 1 year ago
I know the devastation of the loss of a horse, so I understand what the Romans' Stable is going through. The Breeders Cup couldn't come at a better time for them. I hope they know how many fans Dully had and how much we all are grateful for all the love and care they gave him. Wishing them the best on Breeders Cup weekend and always!
Ken Wiener More than 1 year ago
Maybe I am missing something but Suns Out Guns Out is a terrible name for a horse.
JOHN More than 1 year ago
Dreadful.
Mark More than 1 year ago
I never thought twice about it. Wiener is a horrible last name for a person. Stop being so concerned with such insignificant things.
Joel Winicki More than 1 year ago
Best comment I've seen in a while!
ghost2_ More than 1 year ago
I hate it too. Smelly remains possibly my most hated name, though.
liberalsuck123 . More than 1 year ago
Love the name. Like The Last Gunfighter too...more guns I say
Alan Bush More than 1 year ago
Let me guess.... U have a b.o. Sticker on the bumper of your Prius too!