LEXINGTON, Ky. — North America’s oldest stakes race, the Phoenix (G2) at Keeneland, has had an excellent track record of producing future Breeders’ Cup winners this decade. On Friday’s opening of the fall meet in Lexington, Promises Fulfilled punched his ticket to TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) with a game victory over 2017 Phoenix winner Whitmore in the six-furlong, $245,000 dash which was a “Win & You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge race.
The primary speed in the field following the scratch of Distinctive B, Promises Fulfilled set a pace of :22.50 and :45.09, turned away a mid-race challenge from longshot Heartwood, then held tough through the stretch fending off older rivals Whitmore and Limousine Liberal. Under Luis Saez, Promises Fulfilled won by a head in a time of 1:09.05 over a fast track.
Owned by Robert Baron and trained by Dale Romans, Promises Fulfilled paid $3.40 as the 7-10 favorite. Whitmore was a half-length in front of Limousine Liberal, with Heartwood and Dalmore rounding out the order of finish.
The Phoenix has been won this decade by Runhappy (2015) and Work All Week (2014), both of whom went on to win the Sprint. Wise Dan also won it in 2010, and later captured the Mile (G1) twice and two Horse of the Year titles. Romans left the door open to Promises Fulfilled possibly running in the Dirt Mile (G1).
“We have a little time to think about it and talk about it,” Romans said. “I don’t think he’s restricted to three-quarters of a mile. I think he’ll be good at any distance.”
A son of the Romans-trained 2011 Preakness (G1) winner Shackleford, Promises Fulfilled previously captured the Fountain of Youth (G2), Amsterdam (G3), and H. Allen Jerkens (G1) earlier this year. He’s also placed in the 2017 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) and Woody Stephens (G2) in June. His record now stands at 10-6-0-2, $920,280.
Bred in Kentucky by David Jacobs, Promises Fulfilled is out of the Grade 3-placed Marquee Delivery, by Marquetry. His half-sister is the multiple stakes-winning Marquee Miss.