Grade III winner Rogue Romance, who has not raced since a fourth-place finish in the 2012 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), registered his first work in more than a year on July 9 when he went three furlongs at Mercury Equine Center near Lexington.
Catesby Clay's 5-year-old son of Smarty Jones breezed the distance in :37 1/5 and accomplished the task "eager, happy, and sound," according to Mercury Equine's Eric Reed.
"He's been doing real good; we're just going slow right now, and we've put in a lot of conditioning up to this point to make sure he'd handle breezing," Reed said. "It's still early in the game with bringing him back, but he's really good right now."
Rogue Romance, bred in Kentucky by Runnymede Farm and Catesby Clay out of the Afleet mare Lovington, won the 2010 Bourbon Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland and was third in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. In his first start of 2011 for trainer Ken McPeek he was third behind Mucho Macho Man and Santiva in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
The colt first went to the sidelines after the Risen Star, with a fracture in his left forefoot reported March 19 of 2011. He returned March 31 of 2012 to win a one-mile allowance event at Gulfstream Park by three lengths with a strong rally, then raced seventh in the April 22 Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) on Keeneland's Polytrack after prompting the pace behind eventual Horse of the Year Wise Dan's record-setting 1:46.63. He rebounded from that loss with another strong allowance win—this time by five lengths at Churchill going 1 1/16 miles on May 20.
In the June 16 Stephen Foster, Rogue Romance was steadied both early and late. A claim of foul by his jockey, Manoel Cruz, against Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez on runner-up Wise Dan for interference in deep stretch was not allowed. He was beaten two lengths for it all.
Rogue Romance then sustained fractures to his right forefoot, which have been treated with turnout time, rehab, and a special shoe designed at the recommendation of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital.
"We've just given him time and we've monitored the healing process," said Reed. "These shoes are a special type of bar shoe, made basically for his injury. They're not a universal type of shoe."
Plans call for Rogue Romance to potentially return to training with McPeek with an eye on the fall meets at Keeneland and Churchill. His current record stands at four wins and two thirds from nine starts, with earnings of $417,249.