Notes & Quotes From G3 Iroquois Stakes: Dennis’ Moment

(Dennis’ Moment eased at the wire of the G3 Iroquois Stakes / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

Albaugh Family StablesDennis’ Moment is the early points leader on the 2020 “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve” after the promising colt confirmed his runway maiden victory with an easy 1 ¾-length win over Scabbard in Saturday’s 38thrunning of the $200,000 Iroquois (Grade III) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs.

Sent to post as the odds-on 2-5 favorite following his 19 ¼-length maiden win at Ellis Park on July 27, Dennis’ Moment covered 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in a stakes record 1:43.58 to bank $117,800 and 10 points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” point system that will determine the field for next year’s 146th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) on May 2, 2020 at Churchill Downs. The Iroquois was the first in a series of 35 select races on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” which is now entering its eighth year.

Owner Dennis Albaugh — Dennis’ Moment (1st):

“Right here in my hand is the invitation to the Breeders’ Cup,” Albaugh said. “They officially delivered it, so that’s exciting. His name came from his sire, Tiznow — the “now” — and we went with Dennis’ Moment. We’re very happy with him now, and they named him after me, which was a surprise. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, of course, but getting 10 points toward getting into the Derby, that’s a big help. We’ll give this horse plenty of time. Dale Romans has been excellent on what’s the timing, where do we go. We’ll start looking at things next week, once we see how he came out of this race, although he looked like he’s perfect after the finish.”

Trainer Dale Romans — Dennis’ Moment:

“This horse is speaking for himself, I don’t have to build him up anymore,” trainer Dale Romans said. “He’s just an amazing animal. He goes out there and does it, his ears up, like he’s just galloping around out there. The jock was shutting him down with a sixteenth of a mile to go, and he still finished in the time he did. He’s something special.

“It’s important going into these big races, to be versatile. That’s what I was worried about today, I was concerned about him getting in a speed duel, with this being the first time around two turns for all these 2-year-olds. And it worked out perfect, he sat outside a horse that didn’t bother him at all, and went three-wide, which is not easy to do on this racetrack and keep on going, and he kicked home good. We’ll be going straight to the Breeders’ Cup from here.”

Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. — Dennis’ Moment:

“He’s good, he’s a nice horse, he’s done everything he’s been asked to do, we’ll see what’s next (Breeders’ Cup). He felt great, really great for a 2-year-old. He did everything right. I asked him to run and he was going really well. He had some more, but I saved it for the end. He was going to win going away, so I didn’t ask him for any more.”

Jockey Corey Lanerie — Scabbard (2nd):

“He’s done nothing wrong right now, he’s a superstar. He wasn’t encouraging him that much in the last part of the race, and it looked like won the way he wanted him to. My horse was finishing fast. It looked like (Dennis’ Moment) had had it, so I was trying to sneak up on him a little bit in the middle of the racetrack. But my horse is improving every time. This was a big race for him; he’s a good horse.”

Jockey Trevor McCarthy — Ledba (3rd):

“I was very happy with my horse. He was in a great position, I had to move a little earlier than I wanted to because (Dennis’ Moment) was pretty loaded. It was a privilege to ride him. He gave us a good run and I was very pleased with his performance.”

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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