The top three runners who finished within a length of each other in Friday's Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) remained on track for a run in the $2 million TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.
Robert Baron's Promises Fulfilled led all the way in the 6-furlong dash to prevail by a head over defending champion Whitmore with Limousine Liberal another half-length back in third.
The victory in the Breeders' Cup Challenge race secured a fees-paid berth into the Sprint for Promises Fulfilled, who is back at trainer Dale Romans' barn at Churchill Downs.
“'Promises' didn't want to let Whitmore or Limousine Liberal by, and I certainly didn't want him to let them by either for the 'Win and You're In' spot,” Romans said Sunday morning. “He has a real shot to be the sprint champion now. We still aren't sure which race we'll go in yet (the Sprint-Gt or Dirt Mile-G1) but it's good to know he came back OK and we have a real legitimate shot to win a Breeders' Cup race in our backyard at Churchill Downs.”
Ron Moquett, who trains Whitmore and is co-owner with Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners, said he was happy with Whitmore's effort Friday and was still thinking Breeders' Cup Sprint. “There should be a more favorable pace scenario (in the Sprint),” Moquett said.
Whitmore, who won the Forego (G1) at Saratoga to earn a berth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, finished eighth in the Sprint last year at Del Mar.
Trainer Ben Colebrook also was thinking Breeders' Cup for Katherine Ball's Limousine Liberal, who endured a tough trip in the stretch in finishing third in the race for the second consecutive year.
“He came out of the race good and he will be tough in the Breeders' Cup,” Colebrook said. “He did not have the greatest trip and (jockey) Jose (Ortiz) apologized after the race.”
Limousine Liberal altered course a couple of times in the stretch trying to get to Promises Fulfilled.
“It seems like he has all the luck at Churchill Downs,” Colebrook said of Limousine Liberal, who has posted an 8-6-1-0 record at the Louisville track as opposed to a 7-1-2-3 mark at Keeneland.
Horses have to be on the grounds 72 hours before their Breeders' Cup race and Colebrook plans to stay at Keeneland as long as possible.
“He loves to train here and we will stay until we have to go,” Colebrook said.
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