Trainer Dale Romans hopes he can provide his new owners with a few new thrills in the Grade I Florida Derby.
“This is the first year I’ve trained for them,” said Romans of Seth Klarman of Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence .“They sent me five 2-year-olds and so far, it’s worked out pretty well.”
This would not be the first time on the Derby trail for Klaravich Stables. The outfit won the 2004 Grade II Fountain of Youth with Read the Footnotes, trained by Rick Violette. He finished fourth to Friends Lake in the Grade I Florida Derby and went on to finish seventh in the Kentucky Derby. According to Klarman, that season was his biggest thrill in racing to date.
News Pending, whose sire Harlan’s Holiday won the 2002 Florida Derby, has raced seven times for his connections, including three grass starts, with a victory and three seconds.
Since breaking his maiden on the grass going a 1 1/8 mile on Dec. 22, News Pending has recorded two second place finishes. In February, he raced well off the pace behind horses before making a sweeping move to get up for second in a 1 1/8 mile turf race. News Pending then switched back to the dirt in the Fountain of Youth. The dark bay colt stalked the pacesetter, Discreet Dancer, and moved within a head of the lead, but then Union Rags ran by them both while News Pending was putting away Discreet Dancer.
“I thought he ran well,” said Romans. “When he made that middle move, I wasn’t sure. But when I watched the replay, I think it was the right thing to do. They were going slow enough up there, just galloping along. It’s not something I would want to see him do in the Florida Derby.
“I think my horse is versatile. I ran him on the turf because I was looking for distances with him,1 1/8th mile races," Romans said. "The races on the dirt just weren’t filling. He can run on anything. He has trained so good down here this winter."
--Edited Gulfstream Park release