LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Trainer Dale Romans says Churchill Downs was his playground. At 10 years old, he was walking horses for his father, trainer Jerry Romans.

“I don’t remember a time not coming to his barn,” Romans said while standing outside Barn 4 on the backside at Churchill Downs, his home away from home.

Nearly thirty years after winning his first Churchill Downs race as a trainer, Romans is on the cusp of setting a track record for victories. Heading into Thursday’s card, Bill Mott holds the record at 702. Romans sits at 699. Both trainers have entries Thursday. Romans is scheduled to send out four entries Friday night.

“Bill’s a friend. We’ve talked about it quite a bit,” Romans said with a laugh. “We’ve had some friendly barbs back and forth.”

The Louisville native says if he hits that record mark, it will be among his most cherished accomplishments.

“I think it will be number one. Only one thing would probably top it, and that’s to win THE big race at Churchill Downs.”

That big race is the one victory missing from a resume that started with his first win as a trainer back in 1987 at Turfway Park. Of the nearly 700 wins at Churchill Downs, Romans has yet to reach the winners circle in the Kentucky Derby.

“That one’s a little tricky,” he says. “There’s a lot of moving parts to win that one.”

While Romans awaits that victory, he’s focused squarely on what could be an historic week for him before the end of the meet.

“This is home. To think I could be on top of all the great trainers who have trained here, it would be special.”

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