Romans: ‘Very Few People Know How To Prepare’ For A Mile And A Half

Free Drop Billy had an uneventful morning galloping 1 5/8 miles under Juan Segundo during Churchill Downs’ 7:30-7:40 a.m. slot restricted to Belmont Stakes horses – and that’s the way trainer Dale Romans wants it.

“Very uneventful,” Romans said. “He did what he was supposed to do, and he did it the way he’s supposed to do it. That’s all I’m asking for.”

He called preparing a horse for the Belmont Stakes “a balancing act.”

“Very few people know how to prepare a horse for a mile and a half,” he said. “You only do it once a year. I’ve kind of learned to back off a bit more, like [D. Wayne Lukas] is talking about, not pushing them over the hump.”

While genetics come into play at the longest distances most of these horses will ever race, Romans said of training regimen, “you have to help them a little bit, but you just don’t want to get into that spot of overdoing it.”

Also at Churchill, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Tenfold, who finished third by a total of three-quarters of a length in the Preakness in his fourth career start, had a typical 1 1/2-mile gallop under exercise rider Angel Garcia.

“He’ll go two miles tomorrow and breeze on Saturday,” said Scott Blasi, who oversees the Churchill Downs operation for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, the 2016 Belmont Stakes winner with Creator. “The horse is doing great. His weight’s good; he’s putting on weight. We hopefully will get a good race in him.

“He has a lot of personality to him right now, a lot of life. I like what I see so far.”

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