With next spring’s classic races his primary goal, Runnymede-bred Rogue Romance will be given time off for the next month or so in the warm sun of Florida.
Rogue Romance’s third-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs while finishing ahead of four Grade/Group 1 winners proved the son of Smarty Jones ranks near the top of his generation and deserves his chance at the elusive gold Kentucky Derby (G1) trophy.
Farm Chairman Catesby W. Clay, in whose name the chestnut colt races, expressed the views of everyone connected with Runnymede when he said how delighted the large contingent on hand at Churchill was to see Rogue Romance run so well while making his first start on dirt.
“It was so encouraging to score a third in the Juvenile in such top-notch competition,” Clay said. The field of ten included top California juveniles Jaycito and J P’s Gusto, European Group 1 winner Biondetti and Keeneland Grade 1 victor J. B.’s Thunder.
Rogue Romance raced next to last in the early going while fanned five-wide around the first turn but finished gamely under Julien Leparoux to pass all but runner-up Boys At Tosconova and winner Uncle Mo. The $198,000 Rogue Romance earned in the Juvenile boosted his career earnings to $291,150, and his record stands at two wins in four starts, including the Bourbon Stakes (G3) on turf at Keeneland.
Since the Breeders’ Cup, Rogue Romance has rested at Churchill Downs and at trainer Ken McPeek’s Magdalena farm in Lexington, where Runnymede General Manager Martin O’Dowd paid him a visit recently.
“He looks great—he is bouncing on his toes and has put on weight,” O’Dowd reported. “We’re all looking forward to his three-year-old season.”
The Runnymede team also extends its best wishes to Zayat Stables, the owner of Jaycito, who was bred by Runnymede and was raised in the same field with Rogue Romance. A son of Victory Gallop out of Runnymede’s mare Night Edition who won the Norfolk Stakes (G1) at Hollywood Park, Jaycito was restless in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile starting gate and then bolted with jockey Mike Smith, losing all chance.
However, Jaycito will have a new beginning prior to the classic campaign. Zayat has transferred the colt from Mike Mitchell to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who previously conditioned Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile for Zayat. Baffert has saddled Derby winners Silver Charm, Real Quiet and War Emblem, all of whom swept the first two-thirds of the Triple Crown, as well as Preakness (G1) and Belmont (G1) Stakes winner Point Given, who ruled as Horse of the Year in 2001.
Runnymede sold Jaycito to Zayat for $110,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale. The farm has much to look forward to as Jaycito develops and since his dam currently is in foal to Proud Citizen.