05/02/2016 11:16AM

Romans hopeful Brody's Cause has what it takes

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
According to trainer Dale Romans, Brody's Cause likes the Churchill surface, can handle the Derby distance, and is at the peak of fitness.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Dale Romans is back with a Kentucky Derby starter for the sixth time in seven years, which is pretty much the way he likes it.

“There’s nothing like leading one over for the Derby,” said Romans, a Louisville native and lifelong resident.

And with Brody’s Cause, the winner of the Blue Grass Stakes in his last start, Romans believes he has his best shot ever. Strictly in terms of odds, that could be true since the colt figures to be among the top five wagering choices in the 142nd Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

“You can check all the boxes with this one,” he said. “He’s run well over this racetrack, his pedigree and his races say he can handle the mile and a quarter, and he’s run in big fields. Plus, he’s as fit as I can get him, and I love how he’s doing.”

Sharp Humor, 19th in 2006, was the first Derby horse for Romans. Some of his more recent starters have fared much better, most notably Paddy O’Prado (third at 12-1 in 2010), Shackleford (fourth at 23-1 in 2011), and Dullahan (fourth at 12-1 in 2012).

:: Kentucky Derby Day 2016 previews, analysis, and plays

Brody’s Cause, owned by the Albaugh Family Stable, won his only start at Churchill, a one-mile maiden race last September. The Giant’s Causeway colt then won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity before finishing third behind Nyquist in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, both at Keeneland.

Romans appreciates racing history and is well aware that Strike the Gold in 1991 was the last horse to win both the Blue Grass and Derby. He said he is feeling a little more pressure than in prior years, partly because the Blue Grass showed just how powerfully Brody’s Cause can close.

“It’s just something I bring on myself, thinking this could be the one,” he said.