Fountain of Youth (Grade II) front-running hero Promises Fulfilled published his first breeze back at Churchill Downs since his winter in Florida with a maintenance half-mile move in :49 in preparation for the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) on Saturday, May 5.
“We had a really good morning,” trainer Dale Romans said. “He breezed very easy and galloped out strong. It was exactly what we wanted to see.”
Owned by Robert Baron, Promises Fulfilled began his work at the three-eighths pole and clipped through opening eighth-mile fractions of :12.40, :24.80 and 37, before galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.40 and six furlongs in 1:14.80, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols.
A son of the former Romans-trained Shackleford, Promises Fulfilled faded to ninth in the March 31 Florida Derby (GI) after an early speed duel with Strike Power.
“Things really didn't go our way that day,” Romans said. “We're regrouping and excited to move on from that effort. When you have a horse that is a son of a former star you trained, it's always special to showcase them on the grandest stage.”
Romans is the all-time leading trainer at Churchill Downs with 710 victories but has yet to win a Kentucky Derby.
“The ultimate goal is always to win the Kentucky Derby,” Romans said. “I grew up my entire life on the backstretch of Churchill Downs in Barn 4. To win a Kentucky Derby would be the ultimate dream.”
Promises Fulfilled's stablemate and probable Kentucky Derby entrant, Albaugh Family Stables' Blue Grass (GII) third Free Drop Billy, galloped 1 ½ miles Saturdaymorning and is scheduled to breeze next weekend.
Jockey Robby Albarado is likely to pilot either Promises Fulfilled or Free Drop Billy in the Kentucky Derby but the second rider has yet to be confirmed, according to Romans.
There are five horses likely in the Kentucky Derby field, including Promises Fulfilled and Free Drop Billy (Barn 4), stabled at Churchill Downs: Bravazo (trainer D. Wayne Lukas, Barn 44), Flameaway (trainer Mark Casse, Barn 36); and Lone Sailor (Tom Amoss, Barn 29).
Training hours at Churchill Downs are 5:30-10 a.m. with two renovation breaks at 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Derby and Oaks horses will have an exclusive training window beginning Saturday, April 21 through Thursday, May 3 from 7:30-7:45 a.m.
Roddy Valente, RAP Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds' Gulfstream Park Oaks (Grade II) winner Coach Rocks worked a half-mile in :48.60 Saturday morning at Churchill Downs in preparation for the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) on Friday, May 4.
“She looked great this morning,” trainer Dale Romans said. “She came out of the (Gulfstream Park) Oaks well and she's been training great at Churchill since we got her back here. The track has been a bit fast the last two weeks but it looked good this morning.”
Coach Rocks breezed through opening eighth-mile splits of :11.80, :23.80 and :36.20, before galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.80 and six furlongs in 1:16.20, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols.
Prior to her score in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, Coach Rocks took seven tries broke she her maiden on Feb. 14 at Gulfstream Park.
“We've always had high hopes for her,” Romans said. “We ran into some back luck in her previous races but she's always run well and continued to do so as the distances got longer.”
Coach Rocks made headlines in the Gulfstream Park Oaks not only for her victory but her part-owner, former University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino, who races under the nom de course RAP Racing.
“I'm not sure if he'll make it to the Oaks or not,” Romans said. “I would love to have him here.”
Also on the Saturday work tab with a half-mile move in :47.20 was Carl Moore Management LLC's Rachel Alexandra (GII) runner-up Classy Act, who is currently on the outside at No. 15 on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard.
Coach Rocks (Barn 4) and Classy Act (Barn 23) are joined at Churchill Downs by fellow Oaks contenders Chocolate Martini (trainer Tom Amoss, Barn 29), Monomoy Girl (Brad Cox, Barn 22) and Patrona Margarita (Calhoun, Barn 23).
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