02/13/2010 12:00AM

Romans hoping for more rain


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Dale Romans proved he was part trainer, part handicapper, and part weatherman when he entered Sassy Image for dirt only in last month's Sweetest Chant Stakes. He wound up with a 4 1/2-length victory after the race was taken off the turf and switched to a sloppy main track.

Romans will attempt to pull off a similar trick Sunday when he again has Sassy Image in for dirt only in Gulfstream Park's $125,000 Coconut Grove, which is scheduled to be run at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

The Sweetest Chant gave Sassy Image her third straight stakes win. Owned by Romans's brother Jerry Romans Jr., Sassy Image had closed her 2-year-old campaign with easy victories at Churchill Downs in the Grade 3 Pocahontas and Grade 2 Golden Rod stakes.

"I know it's supposed to rain over the weekend, so I'm just taking a shot," Romans said. "It worked out last time and, if it works out again, this looks like a pretty nice spot to pick up another big check."

If the Coconut Grove goes as carded on the grass, Romans said Sassy Image would return in the Grade 2 Davona Dale on Feb. 27.

If the Coconut Grove is decided on the turf, the race couldn't be more wide open, with nary a single stakes winner among the nine 3-year-old fillies in the body of the field.

Check the Label, who did not run her best race when finishing a distant third in the Sweetest Chant, would certainly relish a chance to get back on grass. The daughter of Stormin Fever finished second in Churchill's Caressing Handicap in her juvenile finale, 17 days after winning an entry-level allowance race in impressive fashion over the same course.

Check the Label is one of four multiple turf winners in the Coconut Grove lineup. The others are Khancord Kid, Lucky Lass, and Dancing Rage.

Khancord Kid slipped up the rail while rallying off a lightning-fast pace to register a one-length entry-level allowance win over the local course on Jan. 14 for trainer John Kimmel. It was her first start since finishing fourth over a soft course in Belmont's Good Mood overnight stakes nearly three months earlier.

Lucky Lass is perfect in two starts on grass but has not raced since defeating stakes winner Diva Delite under allowance conditions at Calder on Oct. 18.