Owned by Shigehiro Hatake and Semji Nishimura, Romanceishope was bred by Hatake. Third in each of his first two career outings, Romanceishope went on a three-race win streak, culminating in a victory over state-breds in the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park in April. Third in an open stake, Romanceishope was successful in his turf debut when he won the restricted $75,000 Manila Stakes. Previous to the Del Mar Derby, Romanceishope was second, as the 6-5 favorite, in the La Jolla Handicap (gr. III) victory of Marine, who finished eighth in the 10-horse Derby field. (Chart, Equibase)
Romanceishope, a California-bred son of In Excess, rallied in midstretch to take the lead and held on gamely for a 1 1/2-length triumph in Monday's Del Mar Derby (gr. II). Ridden by Chris McCarron for trainer Jenine Sahadi, Romanceishope complete the 1 1/8 miles on grass in 1:47.93. Romanceishope took the early lead but was then taken back to lay just off the leaders as Mizzen Mast, half of a 2-1 favored entry took over. With Kent Desormeaux aboard, Mizzen Mast continued to dominate until being overtaken in the stretch by Indygo Shiner. Romanceishope caught the leader in midstretch and the two dueled until the winner drew away to the final margin. Indygo Shiner held on gamely for second, followed by Blue Stellar.The winner paid $17.60, $8.20, and $6.00, with Indygo Shiner worth $10.00 and $7.20, and Blue Steller returning $5.20.