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Gulfstream Park: Romans giving Class Included shot on turf in Honey Fox
By Mike Welsch
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – World traveler Dale Romans was back in south Florida on Thursday after spending the previous weekend in Dubai and the early part of this week looking for future stars at the Ocala sales. His return home will be a short one, however, as Romans will return to Dubai next week to prepare Little Mike and Dullahan for the Dubai World Cup card on March 30.
Romans will be in town long enough to saddle Class Included in Saturday’s Grade 2 Honey Fox. Class Included was purchased privately by the Brittlyn Stable Inc. and transferred to Romans’s barn after concluding her 2012 campaign with a troubled seventh-place finish in Hollywood Park’s Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap.
Class Included won six of her nine starts in 2012, with five of her victories coming in stakes, including the Grade 3 Ballerina at Hastings. Those performances earned her a trip to the Breeders’ Cup Ladies' Classic, where she finished seventh behind Royal Delta. The Honey Fox will be her first start on grass.
“I’ve had her a couple of months and I really like her a lot,” said Romans. “I decided to start her off on grass because she’s out of a Sky Classic mare, had a nice work on the turf, and I thought it might move her up. It’s also hard to find spots for older handicap mares on the dirt and I didn’t want her to go up against the heavy heads the first time out.”
Romans returned from Ocala Thursday after accepting the award along with owner Carlo Vaccarezza for Little Mike, who was named Florida-bred Horse of the Year the previous evening by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.
“I was really proud of him,” said Romans. “It was an honor that was certainly deserved. In fact he swept the card on all the awards at last night’s ceremonies.”
Little Mike was a finalist in two Eclipse Award categories in 2012 but did not receive either honor. He finished second in the voting behind Wise Dan in the turf male category despite winning three of the most prestigious turf races in the country, including the Arlington Million and Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Romans said he is considering running recent maiden-breaker Pick of the Litter, a son of Kitten’s Joy, in the $1 million Florida Derby. Pick of the Litter was an impressive 7 1/2-length maiden special weight winner going a mile and one-eighth on Feb. 27 in a race switched from the turf to the main track.
“He ran like he’s been training in his last start, comes off a pretty good win, and I think he has the potential be a nice 3-year-old,” said Romans.
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