12/15/2012 3:05PM

Gulfstream Park: Romans aiming high with Gulfport, Dewey Square

Tom Keyser
The Grade 3 Holy Bull on Jan. 26 is a possibility for Gulfport.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Dale Romans is still a couple of weeks away from the conclusion of an Eclipse Award-caliber 2012 season, but he’s already looking ahead to 2013 with a couple of his promising 2-year-old prospects, Dewey Square and Gulfport.

Dewey Square is a son of Bernardini who began his career with a pair of easy victories before finishing third in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club in his juvenile finale. Gulfport, on the other hand, needed four starts to finally break his maiden but ended the year with a pair of impressive wins, including a 2 3/4-length entry-level allowance tally going a mile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24.

Romans sent both youngsters out to work minutes apart here on Saturday, the two drills a contrast in styles. Dewey Square broke off at the half-mile pole and zipped five furlongs in 59.25 around to the mile pole on the clubhouse turn. Gulfport began at the five-eighths pole, cruised through a slow opening three furlongs in 38.80, then finished strong, completing five furlongs in 1:02.88.

“Dewey Square couldn’t have worked any better,” said Romans. “He has all the right parts in all the right places – pedigree, looks and athleticism – Romans said he was pleased with Dewey Square’s performance in the Kentucky Jockey Club, even in defeat.

“The race didn’t set up well for him,” said Romans. “He was hung wide and actually ran a better Sheet number than the winner. What I liked was the in the last three-sixteenths of a mile he finally seemed to figure out what it was all about and tried to run him down. I was really happy with what I saw out there.”

Romans is undecided regarding Dewey Square’s itinerary this winter, but said that earning points toward qualifying for the Kentucky Derby will be a major consideration.

“We’ll probably aim him for the big two, the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby, later in the meet,” said Romans.

Gulfport has always been highly regarded by Romans but needed a little time and experience before finally running to expectations.

“Gulfport is an extremely talented horse but has a habit of getting a little too aggressive during the early part of his races,” said Romans. “That’s why we worked him the way we did today. The instructions were for him to gallop along early and finish in the bit, and that’s exactly what he did.”

Romans said Gulfport could kick off his 3-year-old campaign in the Grade 3 Holy Bull on Jan. 26.