Dennis’ Moment Looking Good In The Flesh
Photo Credit Eclipse Sportswire / Breeders’ Cup Photos ©
Dennis’ Moment looks to be getting a lot of early attention and a force to be reckoned with in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Friday. There has been a lot of buzz around this horse from several people. Going into the race he seems to be the “now” horse.
Dennis’ Moment – All Dennis Albaugh knew is that his trainer, Dale Romans, kept referring to this ‘special horse’ of theirs. Then, Albaugh caught wind of what said special horse was named, and he knew those closest to him had succeeded in pulling off a pleasant shocker.
“They actually surprised me with the name of the horse,” Albaugh, who operates Albaugh Family Stable along with his son-in-law, Jason Loutsch, said referring to the colt now known as TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile morning-line favorite Dennis’ Moment. “My son-in-law and nephew sent it in. I heard Dale talking about this special horse that he had named Dennis’ Moment and I called Jason like ‘Where did that name come from?’ He was like ‘We named him after you!’ ”
Naming a horse after someone can be a tricky endeavor if said horse doesn’t pan out. That hasn’t been the case thus far for Albaugh as Dennis’ Moment heads into Friday’s Juvenile with as much regard as any horse on the two-day Breeders’ Cup card.
The Albaugh team has been here in a literal sense before alongside Romans, having brought Brody’s Cause (2015), Unbridled Outlaw (2015), Not This Time (2016) and Free Drop Billy (2017) to their respective Breeders’ Cup Juvenile starts. Not This Time came the closest to victory, finishing second by a neck to eventual champion Classic Empire. While some of his predecessors already had Grade I credentials on their resume to this point, Dennis’ Moment appears to boast and “it” factor that goes beyond his strong-bodied good looks.
“When we bought him, all the boxes were checked,” said Albaugh, who was on hand at Santa Anita Thursday to watch Dennis’ Moment gallop under Tammy Fox and then paddock school. “The bloodline was good but the horse just had quality. He looked excellent, and that’s what we kept coming back to. We were happy when the hammer finally went down. He had all the right breeding. And we put him to work and he just kept improving.
“He’s just kept getting better and better all along. And the demeanor of this horse is unbelievable. A lot of my other horses, they’ll try to take a bite out of you and stuff but this horse just lays there and lets you pet him. To be the favorite in this kind of race is unbelievably exciting.”
Albaugh had to fight off the team of trainer Mark Casse and owner John Oxley to land Dennis’ Moment for $400,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale.
“Mr. Oxley said kiddingly, ‘Why didn’t we buy him Mark?’ and I said ‘Because you didn’t bid again’,’” Casse said with a laugh. “I remember (Dennis’ Moment) was pretty big. And I liked Tiznow. We looked at him and we liked him.”
Should Dennis’ Moment prevail in Friday’s Juvenile and lock up divisional honors, the son of Tiznow will be on another shortlist — this one for winter book Kentucky Derby favorites.
“To have the favorite in a race like this, it’s very exciting,” Albaugh said.
Eight Rings – Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Thursday that Eight Rings certainly deserves to be one of the favorites in the Juvenile.
The Empire Maker colt has won two of his three starts and is the 2-1 second choice on the morning line behind Dennis’ Moment at 8-5. The lone loss came when he dropped jockey Drayden Van Dyke at the start of the Del Mar Furturity. In his most recent start, Eight Rings won the American Pharoah by six lengths.
“He just has raw, raw talent that we’ve seen,” Baffert said. “He showed that he can go long. He’s fast. He can get out of trouble. He’s quick. That’s what you want this time of year. You want a horse with speed. He likes it better if he has a horse go with him.
“After that Del Mar incident we put the blinkers on him because he’s still a little green so he’s looking around a lot. What I like about him and all my good horses is that they don’t get tired. That’s what separates the really good ones.”
Eight Rings, owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing Stable, Madaket Stables LLC, Fred Hertrich, III, John Fielding, Golconda Stables and Coolmore Stud, galloped 1 3/8m Thursday morning under rider Humberto Gomez.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez and Eight Rings will start from post six in the eight-horse Juvenile.
More Breeders Cup updates here.