10/13/2010 3:29PM

McPeek plans to cross-enter Rogue Romance


With a last-to-first rally in Sunday’s Grade  3 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland, Rogue Romance punched his ticket for the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6. But the Breeders’ Cup race in which he competes – either the $2  million Juvenile or the $1 million Juvenile Turf – remains undecided.

“At this point I’d say we’ll cross-enter him,” when pre-entries for the Breeders’ Cup are taken Oct. 25, trainer Ken McPeek said Wednesday. Then, after evaluating the opposition, his connections will be better able to choose the race in which to compete before final entries are made Nov. 2.

McPeek said Wednesday that he favored running Rogue Romance in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Although Rogue Romance has made all three of his starts on grass, McPeek said the colt’s pedigree – by Smarty Jones out of the Afleet mare Lovington – suggests he should like racing on dirt, the surface on which the Juvenile is run at 1 1/16 miles.

Rogue Romance has raced on turf because running “two turns was what he need to do,” McPeek said, and he noted that the leading contenders for the Juvenile will lack two-turn dirt experience.

Uncle Mo and Boys At Tosconova, for example, exit victories in one-turn dirt races in the Champagne and Hopeful, respectively. Jaycito and J. B.’s Thunder, respective winners of the Norfolk and Breeders’ Futurity, took those races on synthetic surfaces.

The more prestigious Juvenile also has double the purse of the Juvenile Turf, while providing championship implications.

Martin O’Dowd, advisor to owner Catesby Clay, said they are not quite as keen on the Juvenile as McPeek, but are keeping an open mind.

“He’s shown us that he seems to like the turf,” O’Dowd said. “He’s won his last two starts, quite convincingly, so why would you switch him for the biggest race of the year? But at the same time, Kenny is making a good case.”