Brody's Cause, Cherry Wine work for Belmont

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TwinSpires Staff

May 28th, 2016

Edited Churchill Downs press release

Dale Romans’ duo of Brody’s Cause, seventh last time out in the Kentucky Derby (G1), and Preakness (G1) runner-up Cherry Wine put in breezes for the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1) on June 11. Brody’s Cause worked one mile in 1:42.00 while Cherry Wine went a half mile in :49.60.

Churchill Downs clockers caught Brody’s Cause in splits of :37.60, :49.80, 1:02.40 and 1:28.80 before galloping out 1 1/8 miles 1:56.40. Cherry Wine recorded splits of :12.60 and :37.40 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:03.00.

“I wanted a lot of heavy lifting done before we go up (to Belmont),” Romans said. “We want to get an easy work next week up there and just back off a little bit and get them used to being out on the racetrack for as long as it was going to take for them to go a mile-and-a-half around those big turns. You never know what kind of track you’re going to get. It’s either going to be really sandy or if you get natural rain it could be tight.”

Cherry Wine’s half-mile breeze came just one week after a late-closing second behind Exaggerator in the May 21 Preakness.

“I normally wouldn’t work a horse back in a week but he’s been doing so well,” Romans said. “Cherry Wine will run on concrete, he’ll run on mud, he’ll run on gravel, it doesn’t make any difference. It wasn’t the mud that moved him up, he’s a good horse. He’s a good horse that’ll run on anything.”

In preparing for this year’s Belmont Stakes, Romans is taking some old words of wisdom from the late Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens.

“Allen Jerkens once told me, ‘They’ll naturally go a mile-and-an-eighth, but you have to teach them to go a mile-and-a-half and that’s what we’re working on this morning,” Romans said. “You just got to get them mentally ready to be focused for as long as it takes to run a mile-and-a-half.”

So how does one go about teaching a horse to go the mile-and-a-half distance?

“Keep them on the racetrack for a while,” Romans said. “Whether it’s jogging or galloping, that’s what I’ve always done. We’ve run it seven times and have four thirds so I’m kind of lost at sea, stuck in average. I’d love to have that big trophy and then we can focus on one more.”

As far as going the distance is concerned, Romans has nothing but faith that Cherry Wine can do just that.

“He’ll go the mile-and-a-half,” Romans said. “He’s probably bred to go the mile-and-a-half better than anyone in the race.”

Going into this year’s Kentucky Derby, Romans was less concerned about Brody’s Cause than he was his prior Derby contenders.

“He didn’t have one concern other than that he got into a little bit of trouble,” Romans said. “You’re going to do that when you try to pass that many horses. It was a fast run Derby and 30,000 horses are born every year and we were seventh out of 20 so I’m proud of him. He finished up well so these last five weeks I’ve been training him like he wants to go a mile-and-a-half and have been trying to teach him how to do it, so today’s work was spectacular. He just went around there real easy.”

Romans has a great amount of confidence that his two 3-year-olds will run big races in the Belmont Stakes.

 “In a game where you get beat 85 percent of the time, you better be halfway arrogant when you enter a horse, so I think they have a big shot,” Romans said. “Brody has already proven to be the best of the two so far – he beat him – but Cherry is taking a step forward. It’ll be interesting; I don’t know which one we’re going to like the best. Maybe we’ll pull off a Black-Eyed Susan.”

Romans was alluding to his one-two finish in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) May 20 at Pimlico, where Go Maggie Go bested 50-1 stablemate Ma Can Do It.

So far, the pace for the Belmont Stakes figures to be a slow one.

“I’ll put them on the lead if there’s no speed. What’s the difference?” Romans said. “These horses will do anything. They’ll take any cue from their jockeys. We took Cherry Wine way further back than we normally would’ve just rolling the dice with those horses in the race that they were going to go fast and collapse. If they didn’t, we probably wouldn’t get anything, we’d be stuck in no man’s land. That’s what I didn’t want to happen. I didn’t want to get stuck fifth all the way around there, I wanted to be 30 (lengths) out of it and then I gave the instructions to ride like Mine That Bird in the (2009) Kentucky Derby and that’s exactly what he did. Only thing he didn’t do was make sure he caught the last one.”

On the undercard, Romans will have Black-Eyed Susan winner Go Maggie Go in the $700,000 Acorn (G1).

“She ran super last week, it’s shaping up to be a great race,” Romans said. “The whole card is going to be great. We don’t have a Triple Crown on the line, but everyone that’s a horse racing fan should be up there watching this group of races that they’re putting together. It’ll be as good as the Breeders’ Cup. There’s going to be an emerging star coming out of the Belmont and even without Nyquist it’s going to be a super race.”

Brody’s Cause and Cherry Wine would likely ship to Belmont Park on Tuesday and put in their final breezes at the New York oval that following Saturday, June 4.

Brody's Cause courtesy of Churchill Downs/Coady Photography.