The hopes of Seth Klarman of Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence will be riding on News Pending in today’s $1 million Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park.
The dark bay or brown colt will carry the same colors as 2004 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) winner Read the Footnotes, who went on to finish fourth in the Florida Derby and seventh in that year’s Kentucky Derby (G1).
Trainer Dale Romans hopes he can provide his new owners with a few new thrills.
“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.
He broke his maiden going long on the turf at Gulfstream in late December. He returned and finished second in an optional claiming event next time out before finishing a game second to Florida Derby favorite Union Rags in the Fountain of Youth after making a middle move.
“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.”
Jockey Rajiv Maragh replaces Kent Desormeaux in the irons. News Pending will break from post position No. 2 and is listed at odds of 8-1 on the morning line.
Gulfstream Park Publicity contributed to this report.
News Pending/Coglianese photo