Dixieland Heat has a non-workout

April 27, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Union City, the Kentucky Derby colt trained by D. Wayne Lukas, turned in the quickest workout of the morning yesterday, going six furlongs in 1 minute, 13 seconds.

Prairie Bayou, the pre-race favorite, completed his serious Derby preparation with a solid, workmanlike five furlongs in 1:01.

But it was Dixieland Heat that caused the most commotion at Churchill Downs yesterday.

Did the colt work, or didn't he?

Day-long rains on Sunday caused the strip to be muddy and prompted three trainers to cancel planned speed drills for their horses.

Howie Tesher (Bull inthe Heather), Mark Hennig (Personal Hope)

and Peter Vestal (Mi Cielo), aborted their plans because of track conditions.

But Gerald Romero, 37-year-old trainer of Dixieland Heat, apparently decided to go ahead and sent his colt to the track, ridden by his younger brother, jockey Randy Romero. The horse was equipped with four bandages and seemed set to work. It is Gerald Romero's first Derby starter.

But the horse went so slowly -- 55 seconds for a half mile, 1:22 for six furlongs and 1:35 for seven furlongs-- that the colt will try again this morning.

Randy Romero said that Dixieland Heat, beaten once in six career starts, couldn't handle the track while he was warming up, and he never let him run, opting instead to go at about a 2-minute clip (a galloping pace for a mile in two minutes).

But seasoned observers think the doubleheader work will knock the edge off the colt's performance on Saturday.

Gerald Romero is unfazed.

"It didn't hurt him a bit. Coming back [yesterday morning], he wouldn't blow out a match."

The Romero brothers hope the colt works six furlongs in 1:13 over a fast strip today.

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