Not This Time brings high expectations to Iroquois

Profile Picture: James Scully

September 17th, 2016

Dale Romans couldn’t be more bullish on Not This Time, who steps up to make his stakes debut in Saturday’s Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs.

“That was pretty spectacular but I expected a big effort,” the conditioner said after the Giant’s Causeway colt broke his maiden by 10 lengths in his second career start at Ellis Park August 12. “I knew he was special.”

Romans has been known to overhype his horses (Unbridled Outlaw) but I will jump aboard the train, tabbing Not This Time to win the 1 1/16-mile Iroquois.

A half-brother to Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Liam’s Map, Not This Time is one of two runners with a victory at two turns, registering a 107 BRIS Late Pace rating while drawing off impressively last time. The dark bay juvenile will retain the services of Robby Albarado.

“What I felt was extreme talent there,” Albarado said after the maiden tally.

The Iroquois kicks off the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series and the Pocahontas (G2) serves as the first points’ race for Kentucky Oaks hopefuls.

Ever So Clever returns to Churchill Downs after a disappointing fifth in the August 19 Adirondack (G2) at Saratoga. The Steve Asmussen trainee was bet down to 9-5 last time off a smart 7 ¼-length debut score under the Twin Spires.

A daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, Ever So Clever is bred to relish the added ground and I think she can rebound with her first stakes triumph.

Here is my A-B-C grid for today’s Churchill Downs program (updated for scratches & surface changes):

Race:   A:   B:   C:   TP:
1   3,4       1,5,6,7   3
2   2,3   9   1,7,8   2
3   1   5,6   2,4   1
4   4,9       2,11,13   9
5   3   1,10   2,4   3
6   5,9       2,7,11,12   5
7   4,7   12   1,3,6,10,11   7
8   4,8   1,2,5   7   8
9   2,9   1,2,4       2
10   8   9   1,2,10   8
11   3,8   6   4,9,13   3