Kentucky Derby week nerves are a real thing, and some trainers handle them better than others.
Take Dale Romans and Keith Desormeaux, for instance, who on Saturday, April 30, at Churchill Downs worked their respective Grade 1 winners Brody’s Cause and Exaggerator. To this author, anyway, Romans appeared more relaxed than Desormeaux.
En route to Churchill Downs on Saturday morning, I joked via Twitter that Dale Romans was trying to become the first trainer to sweep the Louisville Derby Marathon-Kentucky Derby double. Jude Feld pegged that double a 500,000-to-1 chance, and I took a penny of that action (to win $5,000).
The first person I saw on the backside of Churchill Downs was John Asher, who only factors into this story for that reason, but the next person I saw was Romans.
“Jude Feld made you 500,000-to-1 to sweep the marathon-Derby double,” I told him.
“I’d take that action,” Romans said. “I had my vet do a little work on me.”
Then he sent Blue Grass Stakes winner Brody’s Cause out to work five furlongs in 1:00.20.
Out at the same time as Brody’s Cause was Santa Anita Derby winner Exaggerator, who worked five furlongs in 1:02.60.
Back at the barn Exaggerator cooled out while his trainer Desormeaux got hot under the collar as the assembled masses got a little too close to the trainer’s likely first Derby starter.
Romans has been here before with the likes of Dullahan and Paddy O’Prado. Desormeaux has only almost been here with the likes of I’ve Struck a Nerve and Texas Red, and he wants everything perfect.
“We’re trying to cool this horse out and get his heart rate down,” Desormeaux said as he shepherded the media behind saw horses.
“How’s your heart rate,” I asked.
At least he laughed.
For video of today’s workouts, visit the TwinSpires.com Youtube page.