09/07/2013 9:46PM

Churchill Downs: Romans-trained longshots 1-2 in Iroquois

Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs
Cleburne (inside) holds off stablemate Smart Cover in the Iroquois for 2-year-olds.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Little doubt that Dale Romans has “bounced” after his Eclipse Award-winning 2012 season, but an incredible finish to the Iroquois Stakes on Saturday night made up for a lot of 2013 disappointment.

A wild winner’s circle celebration was kicked off when a pair of Romans longshots, Cleburne and Smart Cover, finished 1-2 for Donegal Racing in the Grade 3, $171,750 Iroquois, one of four stakes on a Downs After Dark card at Churchill Downs.

Cleburne, a 34-1 shot, finished a neck ahead of his stablemate Smart Cover, a 26-1 shot in a field of 10 2-year-olds.

“This is fabulous,” Romans said while mobbed by well-wishers afterward. “Look at all these Donegal people.”

With about 100 yards to go, such a finish looked highly improbable. Tapiture and Ride On Curlin, both 2-1, had engaged in a sustained duel from the quarter pole to the eighth pole, with Tapiture finally getting the best of that battle. But then Cleburne suddenly surfaced with an outside surge, and then Smart Cover came flying with a belated run farthest out onto the track. The winning time for the 1 1/16-mile distance was 1:45.65 over a fast surface.

Tapiture finished third, another neck back, with Ride On Curlin fourth by another two lengths.

Corey Lanerie, who had arrived less than an hour earlier when among eight jockeys on a charter plane following a full day of riding at Kentucky Downs, was aboard Cleburne.

Cleburne earned an expenses-paid Win and You’re In berth toward the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, as well as the first 10 points toward the 2014 Kentucky Derby.

Donegal, managed by Iowa attorney Jerry Crawford, has been a prominent player in recent years with such standouts as Dullahan and Paddy O’Prado.

The $2 exacta (5-10) paid an even $500, surely far lower than what it would have paid if not for the obvious all-Romans/Donegal combination.

Tapiture, a maiden, clearly ran well in defeat, while the result was more a disappointment for Run On Curlin, who had been the subject of deep-pocketed suitors since starting his career here in June.

“No excuse,” said Calvin Borel, rider of Run On Curlin.

Untapable stays unbeaten in Pocahontas

Some 30 minutes earlier, Untapable ($13.60) outgamed favored Stonetastic in a torrid stretch run to remain unbeaten in two starts in the Grade 2, $168,150 Pocahontas Stakes, and the filly counterpart to the Iroquois.

With Rosie Napravnik fresh off the Kentucky Downs charter, Untapable overcame some early trouble when prevailing by a half-length. She finished the distance in 1:44.38.

Stonetastic, the 8-5 choice under Joe Bravo, had taken over from Elena Strikes and Milam before Untapable angled out and ran her down. Untapable, bred and owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and trained by Steve Asmussen, was noticeably rank in the vicinity of the six-furlong pole before “she settled into a nice rhythm,” noted Asmussen.

“They kind of backed it up on us in the second quarter,” said Napravnik. “She was awesome.”

Untapable, by Tapit, also earned an expenses-paid Win and You’re In berth toward the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, as well as the first 10 points toward the 2014 Kentucky Oaks. The filly was a maiden winner at Churchill in the spring in her lone prior start before being scratched from the Adirondack last month at Saratoga with a minor illness. Asmussen said he would wait to see how the filly came out of the race before deciding how to proceed to the Breeders’ Cup.

Untapable is a half-sister to Paddy O’Prado, the multiple Grade 1 winner campaigned by Donegal.


Travis Hembd More than 1 year ago
I usually become a fan of a horse based on pedigree, connections, jockeys, or sometimes the looks of a horse. There's plenty of reasons to be a fan of a horse and there's nothing wrong with that. How do you become a fan of a horse?
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
I have never understand how a horse wins a maiden race and people say they are a fan of that horse. Off a maiden score. How can you have come into this race a fan of a maiden winner. Please. It must be the connections it cant be the horse.
Travis Hembd More than 1 year ago
Who said anything about them winning the Derby or Triple Crown??? Simmer down son!
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Go look at some of the post last week about strong mandate Travis. Some of them were absolutely ridiculous.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
So here we go again last week it was strong mandate now who we have cleburne and smart cover. THEY ARE GOING TO WIN THE DERBY !!! TRIPLE CROWN. !!! Just like Favorite Trick, Arazi, Uncle Mo, Unbridled's Song. A bunch of maiden winners race against each and people get so excited. It is crazy. Predicting what a horse is going to do. 8 months from now. People barely can pick a winner today at finger lakes, but they want to make derby prediction 8 months in advance. Like I said bet the field in pool A if that is your thing. Wow Smh
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
September to May, is a lifetime in the life of a two year old. You have to hope and pray, they stay healthy, much less plan on being a Derby contender.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Thank you that was what I was saying last week when guy said strong mandate was the next triple crown winner.
Mark More than 1 year ago
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Off topic but where is dreaming of Julia is she done for the year.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Yes. She is. Coming back @ Gulfstream . Her and kaui Katie
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Mark More than 1 year ago
Travis Hembd More than 1 year ago
The fillies ran over a full second faster in their race. Doesn't say much for the field in this race
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
You are right that is a little disturbing. But dreaming of Julia ran 2 seconds faster than orb on same day and distance. Orb wins derby next race and is racing in gold cup this month. Dreaming of Julia is on a Milk Carton, APB.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Romans stable right back at it. Congratulations. The way the points played out this year you may have just qualified for The Derby with both these colts.
Bob More than 1 year ago
As a footnote to my previous post, the question everyone should be asking is why these two horses were allowed to run as uncoupled entries when they were both owned and trained by the same connections? That is a much more important question than pondering why your $1 exacta ticket didn't come back a signer!
DRFMcGee More than 1 year ago
Because it's in the Ky racing regs for races of $100k or higher. Been that way for years.
Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
if either of you hit a 34-1 over 26-1 exacta and only get back $250 you will be happy just not as happy as you thought you would be.
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
In NY the purse has to be $1 million before they run uncoupled.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
You guys coulda just made flat bets... Get your crying towels at the wicket. None out here!
Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
I had the exacta and the wind was totally taken out of my sails when I saw the payout. I still think it's BS. DRF needs to investigate that payout. 34-1 over 26-1 pays more than $500, I don't care who owns or trains them. If so many people were betting these two then why were they 34-1 and 26-1?. I smell total BS. Anyone who had that exacta got cheated out of money.
Eddie Smith More than 1 year ago
There's nothing to investigate. How many of those Donegal owners do you think had $100 exacta boxes... or more? Romans is wildly popular and there was certainly a fair amount of folks who just boxed Romans at those odds. Be happy with your winnings, there's nothing to investigate.
DRFMcGee More than 1 year ago
Mr. Ed More than 1 year ago
Brandon, you may have missed the point I made a bit earlier. If not both being trained by Romans and owned by Donegal, it would have paid a lot more. Go one thought further. Romans was mobbed in the winners circle. Romans said "look at all these Donegal people?" I'll bet at least 90% of all those exacta tickets were in that circle.
Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
I understand. I was at the winners circle watching it all. Still, if all those people are betting big money on those two how come they barely if at all changed the win payout but affected the exacta payout tremendously? I guess they all bet big exacta boxes but no win bets? The winner was 34-1. Surely he would have been that without those people betting. They all made big exacta bets but no big win bets even when they were getting double or triple the morning line.
Old timer More than 1 year ago
Dude, I feel your pain... sure the exacta normally should have paid more. However you hit a nice one and got 250-1. That is not too shabby. Secondly as Mr. Ed noted below, at least a few of the horse's connections no doubt poured some cash into that exacta combo. Congrats on a nice hit.