Trainer Dale Romans does not like to overcomplicate things.
While pondering when and where his Grade 1-winning charge Promises Fulfilled would make his seasonal bow, he keeps coming back to the obvious: he has a colt with controlling speed who runs well fresh. It just so happens there is $2.5 million race on the table that would play to the chestnut runner's best assets. So while a final commitment is still being weighed, a trip to Meydan for the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen on Mar. 30 has been tabbed as the most likely spot for Promises Fulfilled to make his 4-year-old debut.
“There are $2.5 million reasons to come back in that race,” Romans said of a potential Golden Shaheen outing.
Since cutting back to sprint distances following a disappointing run in the 2018 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), Robert Baron's Promises Fulfilled has developed into one of the most formidable members of a depth-laden division in North America. The son of Shackleford won three of his last four starts of his sophomore campaign, including a victory in the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) at Saratoga last August 25. When he won the six-furlong Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (G2) at Keeneland in October, he became the only member of last year's 3-year-old male dirt division to defeat older horses in a graded stakes.
Freshened since his fourth-place finish in the Nov. 3 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), Promises Fulfilled has proven he can fire a winning shot off a layoff. When he won the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) in March 2018, it was his first outing since running third in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) the previous November.
“He's a fast, fast horse, that's the bottom line, nothing else really matters,” Romans said. “He came off the layoff and he ran huge in the Fountain of Youth last year. I thought about getting a prep into him (before the Golden Shaheen) and then I thought about that and I said we'll just train right into it if we're going to go.”
Romans is no stranger to Dubai success having saddled 2005 Dubai World Cup winner Roses in May. Given that the Dubai Golden Shaheen has been dominated by American-based runners, Romans says the 1200m test was a no-brainer to put on Promises Fulfilled's likely agenda.
“I think the sprint is America's race,” Romans said. “I think the Americans will be the horses to beat there and I think he'll be one of the horses to beat.”
Another who appears poised to test the limits of their speed and class is local star Drafted, who narrowly ran down Nine Below Zero and Tato Key in the Mahab Al Shimaal (G3) on Super Saturday. He will likely take on the likes of Roy H, Imperial Hint and two-time Dubai Golden Shaheen runner-up X Y Jet. Japan's Matera Sky, unplaced but respectably acquitted last year, as well as Hong Kong's Fight Hero are also expected, according to their connections and local media.
While invitations have not been confirmed, it is good to keep a watch on possible runners. Below are some possibles and a list that is ultimately pure guess-work until official invitations are announced and a field of probables takes shape.
DGS Watch: Roy H, Imperial Hint, X Y Jet, Promises Fulfilled, Matera Sky, Drafted, Tato Key, Fight Hero and Nine Below Zero.
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