09/17/2016 7:03PM

Not This Time dominates Iroquois Stakes

Coady Photography
Not This Time, under Robby Albarado, wins the Grade 3 Iroquois by 8 3/4 lengths.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Dale Romans had been even more effusive in his praise for this one than he normally is. And after Not This Time easily defeated seven other 2-year-olds Saturday in the 35th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs, the veteran trainer could barely contain his enthusiasm.

“He’s spooky good,” said Romans.

Confidently ridden from the outside post by Robby Albarado, Not This Time was kept in the clear throughout the 1 1/16-mile race, gliding past the front-runners after straightening for home to prevail by 8 3/4 lengths.

“The key now is to get him to the Kentucky Derby,” said Romans, who trains Not This Time for the Albaugh Family Stable of Iowa.

And indeed, Not This Time has a head start on the rest of the class: with his win, he earned the first 10 qualifying points toward the 143rd Kentucky Derby next May at Churchill. He also receives a Win and You’re In berth toward the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita.

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“We’ll either train straight up to the Breeders’ Cup or maybe run in the Breeders’ Futurity,” said Romans, referring to the Grade 1 race at Keeneland on Oct. 8.

Bet down to favoritism, Not This Time paid $5.60 after finishing in 1:45.22 over a muddy track. Lookin At Lee was up late to get second by a head over Recruiting Ready.

Albarado said “not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about” Not This Time since the colt won an Aug. 12 maiden race by 10 lengths at Ellis Park. “Dale really liked this colt even before he ran. This is sweet.”

Not This Time is by Giant’s Causeway out of the Trippi mare Miss Macy Sue, which makes him a half-brother to Liam’s Map, winner of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. The Albaughs sold Liam’s Map at auction but held on to this foal, and hence the name.

The Iroquois set up a little differently than it looked on paper, with Blame Will assuming the early lead while the speedy Recruiting Ready rated kindly for Gary Stevens from a few lengths off the pace. Midway in the final turn, Recruiting Ready made his bid from the outside, but he and all the others were soon overpowered by Not This Time, whose swooping outside run quickly put the issue to rest.

The $2 exacta (8-1) paid $40.60, the $1 trifecta (8-1-7) returned $86.90, and the 10-cent superfecta (8-1-7-2) was worth $35.29.