Romans feeling better after Derby night accident, plans to work Preakness hopeful Cherry Wine at Churchill

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TwinSpires Staff

May 13th, 2016

Edited Press Release

With trainer Dale Romans back at his Churchill Downs barn for the first time since being involved in an automobile accident Kentucky Derby (G1) night, his Preakness S. (G1) hopeful and Blue Grass (G1) third-placer Cherry Wine galloped 1 1/2 miles under Faustino Aguilar Friday morning under the Twin Spires.

Romans, who saddled Blue Grass victor Brody’s Cause to a seventh-place effort in the Kentucky Derby earlier that day, was driving on Southern Parkway around 10:30 p.m. (ET) when an SUV ran a stop sign and collided with his vehicle, which caused it to spin into the path of a truck and T-boned Romans’ car on the passenger’s side.

Romans only suffered from a pulled muscle in his ribcage, however three of his passengers suffered more serious injuries.

John Hennegan, director of the documentary “The First Saturday in May,” suffered from broken ribs; Kurt Paseka, a former contributor to the Thoroughbred Times, suffered a fractured pelvis; and Paseka’s sister, Kyle, suffered a fractured vertebrae. The other two passengers, Jim Sugrue and Christina Lopez, were not seriously injured.

“I feel much better,” Romans said Friday morning. “Today was the first day that I started feeling better. I’m still sore on my ribs and on my back. I think the medication is finally starting to kick in so I’m starting to feel a lot better.

“We missed our first Sunday that I can remember of driving around the infield and just looking at and checking out all the garbage from Derby Day. But it was a good time to sit back and relax.

“The best thing, even though I wasn’t able to answer everybody, were all the well wishes that I got the following day. That makes me feel appreciated. There was no way I could have answered everybody but it was great to hear from people. I heard from so many of my peers, like Bob Baffert and Doug O’Neill. Baffert texted me right after he got off the plane.”

Romans stated there was a lesson to be learned from his frightening accident.

“My newest thing is to just make sure that you always wear your seatbelt,” Romans said.

The trainer reported that Cherry Wine would breeze Saturday morning. Brody’s Cause is bypassing the second jewel of the Triple Crown in favor of the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1) on June 11.

“We didn’t win the Derby so we aren’t going for a Triple Crown,” Romans said. “We’ll give (Brody’s Cause) a freshener for five weeks. He’s bred to go the distance so we think that we have a chance.”

Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Gun Runner galloped 1 1/2 miles at Churchill Downs with regular exercise rider Carlos Rosas aboard. Looking on were Chris Baker, chief operating officer of Three Chimneys, and Doug Cauthen, vice chairman of Three Chimneys.

The Steve Asmussen-trained Gun Runner is yet to be confirmed as a definite for the Preakness.

“We still don’t know; it’s up to Steve,” Cauthen said.

Asmussen was not at Churchill Downs Friday morning.

Rosas was also the exercise rider for Curlin, who went on to win the 2007 Preakness after finishing third in the Kentucky Derby.

“Gun Runner is playful where Curlin was all business,” Rosas said. “Gun Runner has a big heart. He is playful, but you wouldn’t want to pick a fight with him.”

Other Friday morning activity involving Preakness hopefuls at Churchill Downs saw Grade 1-placed stakes winner Fellowship gallop 1 1/2 miles and Dazzling Gem, who is expected to work Saturday morning, gallop 1 3/8 miles.

Cherry Wine photo courtesy of Churchill Downs/Coady Photography