A stumbling start by Killybegs Captain left Bob Baron's Promises Fulfilled all alone on the front end in Saturday's G2 John A. Nerud Stakes, and jockey Luis Saez took full advantage. Setting mild fractions, the 4-year-old son of Shackleford had plenty left in the stretch to cruise under the wire 4 1/2 lengths the best as the 3-5 favorite. Trained by Dale Romans, Promises Fulfilled completed seven furlongs over Belmont Park's fast main track in 1:21.75 to earn an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Sprint this fall at Santa Anita Park.
“It didn't look like there was much speed and when [Killybegs Captain, No. 5] missed the break, that left him out there,” Romans said. “He was going to be hard to beat if no one pressed him. He hadn't had that slow of a pace in his life. Look at the horses he's been running against; this race finally gave him a bit of class relief. But this should set him up well. Where we go next, we'll have to sit down and figure it out. He can make a mile. There's just a good group of horses running three-quarters and a mile. We'll get that all figured out.”
With no pace pressure early on, Promises Fulfilled dictated fractions of :23.16 and :46.09 with a 1 1/2-length advantage over Warrior's Club and New York Central. After stumbling badly at the start, Killybegs Captain rushed from last to a three-wide third position, and tackled Warrior's Club for a battle for the place in the stretch.
While those two duked it out for second, Promises Fulfilled was all alone up front and cruised under the wire an easy winner. The game Warrior's Club finished second over Killybegs Captain, and Nicodemus finished fourth.
“He broke so sharp. He always breaks sharp,” said Saez. “The last time, he missed the break, but today he broke so clean, he was right there. When he came to the stretch, and he switched leads, he was running. I still had a lot of horse. It's very hot today. He got a little tired when he crossed the wire, but that's normal.”
Nicodemus was vanned off after galloping out, but walked onto the van under his own power.
Bred in Kentucky by David Jacobs, Promises Fulfilled was a $37,000 yearling at the Keeneland September sale. Finding his niche as a front-running sprinter, the colt has compiled a record of seven wins and three thirds from 15 starts with earnings over $1.4 million.
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