Dale Romans

Dale Romans

Mathea Kelley

Romans Criticizes Belmont Detention Plan

The 2011 Preakness Stakes winning trainer says regulators don't understand horses.

Trainer Dale Romans criticized the New York State Racing and Wagering Board's decision to establish a detention barn to house Belmont Stakes (gr. I) starters, saying regulators ``think we're all crooks.''

Romans will saddle Dullahan, third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), in an effort to thwart I'll Have Another  in his bid to become the first Triple Crown champion in 34 years. He said the decision by the racing and wagering board failed to put the welfare of horses first.

``They are not cars that you can just go and move from one garage to the next,'' Romans said. ``These are creatures of habit. They like being where they are.

``The biggest problem we have in our game is the disconnect between the regulators of the game and the reality of what goes on on the backside (barn area).''

The New York Racing Association announced May 31 that a detention barn would open June 5. Trainer Doug O'Neill said he hoped to move I'll Have Another there as early as June 4 and had received permission for the colt's stable pony Lava Man to accompany the Kentucky Derby and Preakness (gr. I) winner there. He also will be allowed to have his own security guard in addition to what already is being provided.

``The earlier we can get there, the earlier we can settle in,'' O'Neill said.

The trainer shipped I'll Have Another to Belmont Park the morning after the colt won the Preakness in Maryland on May 19 to acclimate him to his new environment as soon as possible.

O'Neill has been fined or suspended 15 times in the last 14 years for medication-related violations. He does not believe that history has anything to do with the new requirement.

``Whatever they do in a detention barn setting, it's for everybody,'' he said.

Romans does not look forward to moving day for Dullahan.

``I think it will aggravate him. I don't think he'll like it,'' he said, adding, ``At the end of the day, I don't think it will affect the outcome of his race.''

Romans, who gained his first victory in a Triple Crown race last year when Shackleford  took the Preakness, argued that the detention barn is unnecessary.

``Enough has been put in place to make sure the integrity is maintained,'' he said. ``We have state-of-the-art testing after each race.''