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It’s been quite a year for locally-based trainer Dale Romans.

He’s chalked up wins in Grade 1 races from coast to coast, including Little Mike in the Arlington Million and Dullahan in the Pacific Classic

He’s working toward his own goals off the track. He says he’s lost about 30 pounds by working with University of Louisville strength coach Ray Ganong.

Now, Romans is hoping to conquer another challenge:  bring home another Breeders’ Cup trophy.

Romans, a native of Louisville, won the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs with 64-1 shot Court Vision and also the 2009 Juvenile Fillies Turf with Tapitsfly.

This weekend, he brings quite a roster of contenders to Santa Anita spread through various divisions. His most visible runner is fan favorite Shackleford, who is easily recognizable by his chestnut coat and white blaze. The 2011 Preakness champ is the favorite in the Grade 1 Dirt Mile on Saturday.

Dullahan’s destiny was up in the air until the last-minute decision was made by Romans and owner Jerry Crawford of Donegal Racing. The chestnut – who also sports a white blaze – was being considered for the Classic and the Turf, and the team decided the Turf was more suitable.

Romans called an audible with Little Mike, who originally was being pointed to the very competitive Mile on turf but will instead try the longer, but less daunting, Grade 1 Turf. Expect Little Mike to take his usual position up front and attempt to win Saturday’s race wire-to-wire.

Romans has some intriguing 2-year-olds who could be overlooked. Summit County, who was fourth in the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland, runs in Saturday’s Grade 1 Juvenile Turf.

Romans has two in Friday’s Grade 1 Juvenile Fillies’ Turf: Moonwalk, the impressive 36-1 winner of the Grade 3 Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland, and Sustained, who was a good second in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo Stakes over yielding turf at Belmont Park.


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About J.J. Hysell

Horse racing/sports writer involved in sports/news media for 15 years. We miss you Hunter S. Thompson.

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