Promises Fulfilled Earns Kentucky Derby Entry with Fountain of Youth Win
Another upset on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Saturday at Gulfstream Park, as 18-1 long shot Promises Fulfilled went to the front and rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. never looked back, confidently handling the son of Shackleford to keep speed sprinter Strike Power at bay to win the $400,000 Fountain of Youth by 2 ½ lengths.
“I had a lot of confidence in this horse because of the way he trained,” Romans said. “He trained so well, and the race he ran when he was third (in the grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes in November) was as impressive a race as a horse can run.”
It’s hard to believe Promises Fulfilled could go off at 18-1 with Ortiz riding for trainer Dale Romans. That’s even after Romans scratched Free Drop Billy and elected to wait and run him in the March 10 Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct. Still, a solid and competitive field of nine was expected to be chasing Good Magic in the stretch. But the Chad Brown-trained Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Champ could not kick on with the top pair entering the lane and finished 4 ½ lengths behind the winner in 3rd as the 3-5 favorite in his 2018 debut. Machismo, the second-longest price at 37-1 could not make up ground in the stretch and finished fourth to complete a big 10 cent superfecta for $271.19.
Promises Fulfilled earned 50 Derby qualifying points and $248,080 in victory and paid $38.40, $12.80 and $4.60 across the board. He cut out fractions of :23.80, :48.39, 1.12.60 and finished 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:44.17. Strike Power earned 20 Kentucky Derby qualifying points for 2nd and returned $6.40 and $3.60. The $2 exacta paid $230.00.
“I thought he could open up, and he did,” Romans said of Promises Fulfilled. “It was a bunch of fast horses, but a lot of times that speed doesn’t materialize and coming from the outside if kind of pressed our hand.”
Promises Fulfilled is a son of Shackleford, who many remember as the 2011 Preakness Stakes champion who ran in all three Triple Crown races, and went on to finish 2nd that year in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs. Shackelford was a front runner who could not sustain his speed over the Kentucky Derby (1 ¼ miles) or Belmont Stakes (1 1/2 miles), fading in both those races to miss the money.
Time will tell if Promises Fulfilled can carry on further, but he’ll definitely be running in the Kentucky Derby and test the 1 1/8 mile Florida Derby next on March 31 and face a stronger field going the added distance.