Promises Fulfilled Takes Aim at Kentucky Derby
Robert Baron’s Promises Fulfilled was ‘in good shape’ Sunday morning after registering a front-running victory in Saturday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
“He came out of the race very well,” trainer Dale Romans said. “He’s in good shape.
Romans is pointing his Fountain of Youth winner to the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) March 31 at Gulfstream Park.
Promises Fulfilled rocketed out of his outside stall in get the jump on previously undefeated Strike Power and 3-5 favorite Good Magic. He set comfortable fractions of 23.80 (seconds), 48.39 and 1:12. 60 under Irad Ortiz Jr. for the first six furlongs, repelled a bid from Strike Power at the top of the stretch and drew away to victory.
Promises Fulfilled ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.17 to prevail over Strike Power by 2 ¼ lengths. Good Magic, the 3-5 favorite who raced for the first time since winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Del Mar in November, finished another 2 ¼ lengths back in third after racing evenly throughout the 72nd running of the Fountain of Youth.
Promises Fulfilled is a son of Shackleford, whom Romans saddled to victory in the 2011 Preakness Stakes (G1), making his triumph in the Fountain of Youth that much more special.
“It’s always special when we win with horses by horses we trained,” said Romans, who also saddled Shackleford for a victory in the 2012 Met Mile (G1), as well as a close second at 68-1 behind Dialed In in the 2011 Florida Derby. “They have the same speed and stamina. They don’t act alike, but they do have the same style.”
The Romans trainee earned 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying point Saturday to clinch a spot in the starting gate for the first leg of the Triple Crown at Churchill Downs May 5.
Promises Fulfilled made his 2018 debut Saturday, a little over three weeks since finishing third after setting the pace in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs.
Promises Fulfilled, a $37,000 purchase at the 2016 Keeneland September sale, launched his career last September at Churchill Downs with a four-length victory, defeating a next-out winner with a front-running performance over six furlongs. The Kentucky-bred colt came right back a month later to capture a seven-furlong allowance race at Keeneland by a neck.
Courtlandt Farms’ homebred Strike Power is scheduled to join Promises Fulfilled in the Florida Derby after exiting his runner-up effort in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth in good shape, trainer Mark Hennig said Sunday.
“He’s good. He ate every oat, cooled out nice, looked bright this morning – all the signs you want to see,” Hennig said. “We just keep throwing something new at him every time. He’s gone from being a 5 ½-furlong pure sprinter to going two turns. I think it was a pretty good effort for him.”
The Fountain of Youth was the first time around two turns for Strike Power, a chestnut son of champion sprinter Speightstown who had won each of his first two races in front-running fashion at Gulfstream. He romped by eight lengths in his unveiling Dec. 23 at 5 ½ furlongs and made his sophomore debut with a 2 ¾-length triumph in the seven-furlong Swale (G3) Feb. 3.
“I think we may go ahead and try the Florida Derby if everything’s in good shape. Hopefully, it seems like a reprieve to him. He’s been stretching out three-sixteenths of a mile every start, so this will just be a sixteenth,” Hennig said. “He’s got a lot of try in him.
“He had never been behind a horse, either,” he added. “He never had any dirt in his face. I thought he did a little climbing in the first turn when the horse originally crossed over in front of him, but it didn’t discourage him. He kept on going.”
The Florida Derby will be just the fourth career start for Strike Power, out of the Grade 1-winning Medaglia d’Oro mare Gold d’Oro, herself Grade 3-placed.
“I think he’s still trying to figure some things out. He got a little bit nervous [Saturday] which is the first I’ve seen. I think the crowd had him a little fired up,” Hennig said. “He just kind of froze up a little bit when we threw the rider up, which was unusual for him, and when he got out on the track and he heard that crowd, he got a little wound up, but he’ll settle in and figure it out. It didn’t affect his race, I don’t believe. This is a really young horse still. He’s an April 27 foal, so he’s still learning.”
Good Magic, the 2017 Eclipse Award-winning juvenile, isn’t likely to join Promises Fulfilled and Strike Power in the Florida Derby. Trainer Chad Brown is expected to point the son of Curlin to the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland April 7.