This would not be the first time on the Derby trail for Klaravich Stables. The stable won the 2004 Fountain of Youth (G2) with Read the Footnotes, trained by Rick Violette. He finished fourth to Friends Lake in the Florida Derby (G1) and went on to finish seventh in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Klarman has stated that the spring of 2004 was his biggest thrill in racing to date.
“This is the first year I’ve trained for them,” said Romans, who saddled eventual Preakness (G1) winner Shackleford to a second-place finish in last year’s Florida Derby. “They sent me five 2-year-olds and so far, it’s worked out pretty well.”
News Pending, whose sire Harlan’s Holiday won the 2002 Florida Derby, has raced seven times for his connections, which includes three grass starts, with a victory and three seconds.
Since breaking his maiden on the grass going a 1 1/8 mile on December 22, News Pending has recorded two second place finishes. In February, the son of Harlan’s Holiday raced well off the pace in behind horses before making a sweeping move to get up for second in a 1 1/8 mile turf race. News Pending then switched back to the dirt in the Fountain of Youth (G2). The dark bay colt stalked the pacesetter, Discreet Dancer, moved within a head of the lead, but was beat four lengths by the closing Union Rags.
“I thought he ran well (in the Fountain of Youth),” said Romans. “When he made that middle move, I wasn’t sure. But when I watched the replay, I think it was the right thing to do. They were going slow enough up there, just galloping along. It’s not something I would want to see him do in the Florida Derby.
“I think my horse is versatile. I ran him on the turf because I was looking for distances with him…1 1/8th mile races. The races on the dirt just weren’t filling. He can run on anything.”
The son of Harlan’s Holiday has had three 5-furlong breezes to complete his preparation for his start in Saturday’s Florida Derby. “He has trained so good down here this winter,” added Romans.