Connections of Dennis’ Moment are hoping he’s en route back to showcasing his star potential, with the $3m Pegasus World Cup in January a viable target.
Both trainer Dale Romans and Jason Loutsch, racing manager to owners Albaugh Family Stables, are seeing the shoots of recovery from the three-year-old as he begins the process of putting a horrific year behind him.
Dennis’ Moment was widely expected to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last season, with Loutsch recalling the pre-race verdict of Romans that suggested: “We’re going to win by 10. I’ve never felt more confident in a horse.”
Things could scarcely have gone any worse as Santa Anita, with Dennis’ Moment stumbling out of the starting gates and forfeiting any hopes of success almost before the race was underway.
When he was next spotted in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park in February, Dennis’ Moment trailed in more than 25-lengths behind Ete Indien in what has been his only start as a three-year-old.
Bone bruising was discovered after that run and the call was made to sideline the Tiznow colt for a period of recovery.
He returned to full work on September 26th and Romans confirmed that he has now completed three pieces of track work, moving the trainer to suggest ‘he’s the best three-year-old in the country’.
Of course, he won’t be able to prove that statement with the leading races for his generation all completed and next month’s Breeders’ Cup meeting too soon for a racing return.
Loutsch can still feel the pain from Santa Anita, almost a year on.
“It was such a tough day,” Loutsch recalled. “You’ve got to go with the punches, and that was one of the low days. It’s hard to accept, but that’s just part of it.”
Having cost $400,000 as a yearling, opting to sideline Dennis’ Moment for the majority of his three-year-old campaign would also have ranked as a gut-wrenching call but Loutsch still believes the colt can recoup the lost time.
Romans hopes for one outing on the track before year-end and then, possibly, the Pegasus on January 23rd at Gulfstream Park.
“It’s certainly hard to do [sitting out]. But with a horse like this, he’ll come back and make up for it. He’s the real deal.”
Loutsch added of a potential Pegasus start: “Absolutely, he’s that kind of horse. If he continues to feel good and go forward, there is no reason to think he can’t compete at that level.”