Not This Time has camp thinking beyond Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

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TwinSpires Staff

October 29th, 2016

by Jennie Rees

Albarado: ‘He’s got a lot of attributes that you want in a potential Derby or classic horse next year’

Before Albaugh Family Stables’ 2-year-old colt Not This Time ran for the first time, trainer Dale Romans told jockey Robby Albarado that “I’m legging you up on as good a horse as you ever rode.”

Afterward, Albarado told Romans that he might be right, that the colt was special.

He’d also just lost by 10 lengths, finishing fifth at Churchill Downs.

Six weeks later, Albarado kept repeating “Wow! Wow! Wow!” as he guided Not This Time into the winner’s circle following a 10-length victory at Ellis Park, having covered the mile in 1:35 4/5 while geared down. That was followed by an 8 3/4-length victory in the slop in Churchill Downs’ Iroquois, a Grade 3 race that gave Not This Time a free roll into next Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita.

“He says, ‘He might not win today, but he’s a special horse,’” Albarado recently recalled the Louisville-based Romans saying before that first race. “‘I think he’ll run well, but up the road he’s going to be a superstar.’”

So what did Albarado see? Or, more specifically, feel in that defeat?

“First of all, his stride,” he said. “He’s got a very, very deceptive stride. He feels like he’s in a canter. He’s clipping by horses pretty easy, within himself. Effortless. He’s very athletic. Physically, he looks like an athlete. He’s tactical. He’s fast. He’s got the breeding to go all day long. He’s got a lot of attributes that you want in a potential Derby or classic horse next year.”

Albarado called both Romans and Albaugh racing manager Jason Loutsch on his way home to Louisville from Ellis. He said that only two other horses had given him that sort of goose bumps when he rode them: 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft and 2007-’08 Horse of the Year Curlin.

“I felt like I never  came out of first gear with him, and he won by 10 drawing away,” Albarado said. “He feels like he’s not even moving. He was just drawing away from horses with ease. I pulled him up, he wasn’t even blowing like a tired horse. I didn’t sleep for a couple of days after that. I kept thinking about what a special horse he could be.”

Not This Time is the third of foal out of Dennis Albaugh’s mare Miss Macy Sue, a multiple stakes-winner who finished third in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. Her first two foals were 2015 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Liam’s Map and the second the stakes-winning Taylor S.

Because Liam’s Map was so nice, Nicholasville’s Taylor Made Farm, where Miss Macy Sue is boarded, advised Albaugh to sell that colt as a yearling. He indeed brought $800,000, but Albaugh had seller’s remorse when Liam’s Map won the Dirt Mile and Saratoga’s Grade 1 Woodward en route to $1.83 million.

Albaugh likewise was advised last year to sell Not This Time, a son of the fashionable Ashford Stud stallion Giant’s Causeway, also the sire of the stable’s Brody’s Cause, winner of Keeneland’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity in 2015 and Blue Grass in 2016. You know by Not This Time’s name what happened there. Now, however, Miss Macy Sue is pregnant with a foal sired by Tapit, the world’s leading stallion. Don’t look for a Not This Time Either. Albaugh — the fertilizer mogul, developer and philanthropist from Ankeny, Iowa, outside of Des Moines — is a businessman, after all.

“I said with the price we paid for that stud fee, this one is going on the auction block,” he said. “But I’ve been known to change my mind.

“Every time we win a race with one of Miss Macy Sue’s offspring, we keep saying  ‘Macy came through again for us. That horse has kicked out some unbelievable colts and a very good filly.”

Not This Time led all the way at Ellis Park. Facing a muddy track for the first time in the Iroquois, Romans told Albarado to just keep Not This Time in the clear. Then the colt broke awkwardly, spotting the field some lengths.

“In his first jump, he lunged leaving there,” the jockey said. “I anticipated being third or fourth and I found myself seventh or eighth. He took the dirt well and relaxed down the backside. I wheeled him out at the three-eighths pole, and he took off. I pulled him up, again he wasn’t blowing. He’s got a high cruising speed and a lot of lungs.

“He could be like another Street Sense,” Albarado said of the Churchill Downs-based colt who won the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the 2007 Derby. “… And the Kentucky Derby is at his hometown track.”

It’s also the hometown track for Romans, whose 677 Churchill wins trail only Bill Mott’s 694. Romans has had seven Derby starts, his best finishes being a pair of thirds.

Before Not This Time worked five-eighths of a mile in 1:01 3/5 Saturday at Santa Anita, four-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert joked with his pal Romans that the name could prove to have an unfortunate connotation come the first Saturday in May.

“Bob wanted to put a negative spin on the name,” Romans said cheerfully. “I told him I’d been in the Derby seven times and hadn’t won one yet, but I’m not going to lose this time.

“We’ll see. But this is a special racehorse. It’s just fun to sit here in the mountains on such a beautiful morning and watch a horse with this much talent go out there and do whatever you want him to do. It’s exciting. We’ll walk Sunday, jog on Monday and gallop the rest of the way in, stand in the gate, school in the paddock and wait for Saturday afternoon to find out who is going to be the 2-year-old champion and if a 2-year-old champion can come from a maiden win at Ellis Park.”

In the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile, Not This Time faces a strong field that includes Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity winner Classic Empire; Lookin At Lee, runner-up in the Iroquois and Breeders’ Futurity; 3-for-3 Grade 1 Champagne winner Practical Joke; 2-for-2 Grade 1 FrontRunner winner Gormley; 2-for-3 Champagne runner-up (by a nose) Syndergaard and Florida’s 5-for-5 Three Rules.

“Everybody thinks their horse is going to win or has a chance to win,” said Loutsch, who is married to Albaugh’s daughter Tiffany. ‘We’re no different. We wouldn’t trade with any horse in the field. But we know it’s a horse race, and a lot of things have to go our way. But we’re very confident going in and excited for the opportunity.”

Photo 1: Churchill Downs/Coady Photography
Photo 2: Cecilia Gustavsson/

Jennie Rees is a racing communications specialist from Louisville. Her Breeders’ Cup coverage is being provided free to media as a service by Kentucky Downs, Ellis Park, the Kentucky HBPA and