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Rogue Romance, Jaycito strong in final Breeders’ Cup drills

Runnymede Chairman Catesby Clay greets his Breeders' Cup contender Rogue Romance (Michele MacDonald photo)     Even though he was never asked for speed, Rogue Romance skimmed over Keeneland’s Polytrack on October 30, recording his second consecutive bullet workout in what was his final timed exercise prior to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).

     “He went perfectly,” said jockey Julien Leparoux after riding the Runnymede Farm-bred chestnut colt by Smarty Jones back to trainer Ken McPeek’s base at Barn 32.

    Rogue Romance completed the move in :59 while on the outside of stablemate and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) contender Harlan’s Ruby, who also was his workmate in their bullet drill a week earlier at Keeneland. He pulled away from the filly at the end, galloped out strongly and exited the track with a lively step and his ears pricked.

    Video of the workout is available by clicking here:

    “They both worked really well and I’m very happy with them,” McPeek said after the latest move, which he described as designed purely for maintenance and not speed. He succinctly pointed out how significant the next race is for each of the youngsters, as well as many other horses pointing to the prestigious Cup events.

   “They’re one race away from being a champion,” said the trainer who has proven to be a formidable force at the Breeders’ Cup with two-year-olds. In 2009, McPeek saddled Beautician—owned by Runnymede’s longtime friend and client Peter Callahan—to be second in the Juvenile Fillies, Noble’s Promise to be third in the Juvenile, Bridgetown to be second in the Juvenile Turf (G2) and House of Grace to be third in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

    Meanwhile, Rogue Romance’s former companion at Runnymede, Grade 1 winner Jaycito, also turned in his final work for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on the same morning, stopping the clock in 1:13.40 for six furlongs at Hollywood Park, third fastest of nine moves at the distance. A son of Victory Gallop and Runnymede’s mare Night Edition, Jaycito races for Zayat Stables, which purchased the colt from Runnymede’s 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale consignment, and trainer Mike Mitchell.

     Runnymede Chairman Catesby W. Clay, who bought Rogue Romance from the same  Keeneland consignment, watched his colt’s latest workout from the Keeneland grandstand along with two of his sons, farm President Brutus Clay and the Rev. Chris Clay, and farm General Manager Martin O’Dowd.

    Following the drill, the Runnymede team visited the colt they know fondly as “The Rogue” at McPeek’s barn. Produced by Runnymede’s outstanding broodmare Lovington, by Afleet, who sadly lost a battle with laminitis this summer, Rogue Romance is a very composed and kind individual.

    McPeek said he plans to ship the colt and his other Breeders’ Cup contenders to Churchill Downs on October 31 so they will have time to get accustomed to the new surroundings before their races.