Promises Fulfilled and Restless Rider each secured Breeders’ Cup berths by winning their respective “Win and You’re In” graded stakes races at Keeneland on Friday.
Facing older horses for the first time, Promises Fulfilled won the Grade 2 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (G2), sprinting six furlongs in 1:09.05, besting both Whitmore and Limousine Liberal, as well as two other contenders, on the main track.
Trained by Dale Romans and ridden by Luis Saez, the three year old chestnut colt by Shackleford out of Marquee Delivery brought home $150,000 of the $245,000 purse for owner Robert J. Baron.
Restless Rider won going two turns for the first time to capture the Darley Alcibiades (G1) — the fourth time trainer Ken McPeek has seen one of his freshman fillies win this race.
Ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., the daughter of Distorted Humor out of Silky Serenade by Unbridled’s Song traversed the one mile and sixteenth on the dirt in 1:44.23. Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimneys Farm, the owners of Restless Rider received $240,000 of the $400,000 purse.
Both winners were morning line as well as post-time favorites. Promises Fulfilled paid $3.40, $2.40, $2.10 while Restless Rider paid $4.60, $3.20, $2.80 across the board.
By winning the Phoenix, Promises Fulfilled earned a place in the Breeders’ Cup TwinSpires Sprint when the Breeder’s Cup returns to Churchill Downs in November. Winning the Alcibiades puts Restless Rider into contention for the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Juvenile Fillies.
Saez and Promises Fulfilled won the Phoenix in wire-to-wire fashion, able to hold off older rivals Whitmore and Limousine Liberal, a pair of horses who are near the top of the division.
“When he opened up right out of the gate, I felt pretty good,” said Romans. “Whitmore is a class horse — this was a good field, but a short field. I think this is probably the best race he’s ever run. He showed us what kind of horse he really is and he came home a fast last eighth.”
McPeek saw Restless Rider hit the wire two and a half lengths ahead of James Graham aboard Reflect and, with the victory, he celebrated his fourth Alcibiades win. He was the winning trainer in back-to-back editions in 2000 and 2001 with She’s a Devil Due and Take Charge Lady, respectively. He also won with Dream Empress in 2008.
“Take Charge Lady was a freak in her own right,” said McPeek. “This filly is in that realm.”
Promises Fulfilled joins Limousine Liberal, Ransom the Moon and Imperial Hint as winners of the Sprint “Win and You’re In” series. The final race in that division is set for Saturday in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship.
Sippican Harbor, Serengeti Empress, and Bellafina have already punched their tickets to the Juvenile Fillies, and will be joined by the winner of the Frizette at Belmont Park on Sunday.