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Heel bruise shifts plans for Derby contender Rogue Romance

Rogue Romance (photo by Michele MacDonald)Catesby W. Clay’s Kentucky Derby (G1) contender Rogue Romance has sustained a slight heel bruise and will miss his scheduled workout this weekend as well as his intended start in the $1-million Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 26.

Trainer Ken McPeek reported that the three-year-old colt by Smarty Jones, bred by Clay in partnership with the Clay family’s Runnymede Farm, is walking sound but is somewhat sensitive on the problem foot.

Fortunately, the bruise should not impede Rogue Romance’s status for the Kentucky Derby, and Clay and McPeek currently are reviewing options such as the $1-million Arkansas Derby (G1) and the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (G1), both on April 16, for a final prep race.

“This is a minor ailment that will heal with a minimum amount of treatment,” said Runnymede General Manager Martin O’ Dowd. “We’re thankful it is not a serious setback, just a deviation from our original plans as we act in the horse’s best interest.”

Rogue Romance has won two of five career starts and has placed twice with his only unplaced effort a fourth in his career debut. The chestnut out of the farm’s late outstanding producer Lovington, by Afleet, won the Bourbon Stakes (G3) on turf at Keeneland last fall before finishing third in champion Uncle Mo’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs.

With total earnings of $321,150 to date, Rogue Romance currently ranks sixth among Derby contenders by graded earnings. Another Runnymede-bred, Zayat Stables’ Grade 1 winner Jaycito, ranks 13th on the list and will be a favorite when he makes his 2011 seasonal debut in the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park on March 12.