Roman Centurian Works Toward San Felipe


Roman Centurian was beaten 12 1/4 lengths by future Sham Stakes (G3) winner Life Is Good in his debut Nov. 22, but after an impressive maiden win and a bang-up second to Medina Spirit in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) Jan. 30, trainer Simon Callaghan is gearing up the Empire Maker colt for another go at Life Is Good in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) March 6 at Santa Anita Park.

“He’s a very talented horse and I think the San Felipe will be a very interesting race,” said Callaghan, who conditions Roman Centurian for breeder Don Alberto Stable and co-owner Qatar Racing.

“I think the San Felipe will reveal a lot, but again, Roman Centurian is a very good horse,” he added. “I’m happy with him and looking forward to the race.”

Juan Hernandez, who rode Roman Centurian in the Lewis, will be back aboard in the San Felipe, Callaghan said.

Hernandez was in the irons Feb. 20 at Santa Anita for a five-furlong work in 1:00 2/5.

“I was very happy,” Callaghan said. “It was a typical breeze for him. He moved good and finished up really well.”

Roman Centurian had an eventful trip in the 1 1/16-mile Lewis before being beaten a neck. He broke last and trailed the field early, was angled out and rallied four to five wide in the stretch, then drifted in and bumped with Hot Rod Charlie at the eighth pole. He got his nose in front of that rival to get the place.


“I think he’s always going to have that style of closing,” Callaghan said, “but he definitely covered more ground in the Lewis and was kind of bumped; that didn’t help him.

“It’s five weeks from the Lewis to the San Felipe so we’re going to see some progression in our horse. There’s lots of blue sky ahead of him.”

The San Felipe, back over 1 1/16 miles, will offer qualifying points toward a spot in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) starting gate May 1 on a 50-20-10-5 scale to the top four finishers. 

Roman Centurian is based at Santa Anita along with fellow Triple Crown hopefuls Life Is Good, Freedom Fighter, Medina Spirit, and Concert Tour for trainer Bob Baffert; Dream Shake for trainer Peter Eurton; and Hot Rod Charlie and The Great One for trainer Doug O’Neill.

Also working Saturday were Medina Spirit (six furlongs in a bullet 1:12 2/5); San Vicente Stakes(G2) winner Concert Tour (four furlongs in :47 1/5); and Louisiana Derby (G2)-bound Hot Rod Charlie and San Felipe contender The Great One (five furlongs in 1:02 and 1:01 1/5, respectively).

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