Both Pointed to Florida Derby
Promises Fulfilled (pictured) was ‘in good shape’ Sunday morning, the day after registering a front-running victory in the Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth Stakes. Romans said again today he is pointing the colt to the Xpressbet.com Florida Derby on March 31.
“He came out of the race very well,” trainer Dale Romans said. “He’s in good shape."
Promises Fulfilled prevailed over Strike Power by 2 1/4 lengths and over Good Magic, the 3-5 favorite, by 4 1/2 lengths.
Promises Fulfilled is a son of Shackleford, whom Romans saddled to victory in the 2011 Preakness Stakes, making his triumph in the Fountain of Youth that much more special.
“It’s always special when we win with horses by horses we trained,” said Romans. “They have the same speed and stamina. They don’t act alike, but they do have the same style.”
The Romans trainee earned 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying point Saturday to clinch a spot in the starting gate for the first leg of the Triple Crown at Churchill Downs May 5.
Promises Fulfilled made his 2018 debut Saturday, a little over three months since finishing third after setting the pace in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Strike Power is scheduled to join Promises Fulfilled in the Florida Derby after exiting his runner-up effort in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth in good shape, trainer Mark Hennig said Sunday.
“He’s good. He ate every oat, cooled out nice, looked bright this morning – all the signs you want to see,” Hennig said. “We just keep throwing something new at him every time. He’s gone from being a 5 1/2-furlong pure sprinter to going two turns. I think it was a pretty good effort for him.”
The Fountain of Youth was the first time around two turns for Strike Power, a chestnut son of champion sprinter Speightstown out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Gold d’Oro, herself grade III placed. He won each of his first two races in front-running fashion at Gulfstream.
“I think we may go ahead and try the Florida Derby if everything’s in good shape. Hopefully, it seems like a reprieve to him. He’s been stretching out three-sixteenths of a mile every start, so this will just be a sixteenth,” Hennig said. “He’s got a lot of try in him.
“He had never been behind a horse, either,” Hennig added. “He never had any dirt in his face. I thought he did a little climbing in the first turn when the horse originally crossed over in front of him, but it didn’t discourage him. He kept on going.”
The Florida Derby will be just the fourth career start for Strike Power.
“I think he’s still trying to figure some things out. He got a little bit nervous, which is the first I’ve seen. I think the crowd had him a little fired up,” Hennig said. “He just kind of froze up a little bit when we threw the rider up, which was unusual for him, and when he got out on the track and he heard that crowd, he got a little wound up, but he’ll settle in and figure it out. It didn’t affect his race, I don’t believe. This is a really young horse still. He’s an April 27 foal, so he’s still learning.”
Good Magic, the 2017 Eclipse Award-winning juvenile, isn’t likely to join Promises Fulfilled and Strike Power in the Florida Derby. Trainer Chad Brown is expected to point the son of Curlin to the Toyota Blue Grass or the Wood Memorial. Brown may be leaning toward the Blue Grass.
Edited Gulfstream Park release with additional content by Dick Downey
Photo by Leslie Martin