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ELMONT, NY – Robert Baron and WinStar Farm’s Grade 1 winner Promises Fulfilled returns off a more than eight-month layoff to headline Saturday’s $150,000 True North (G2) at Belmont Park.
The 6 1/2-furlong dirt sprint for 4-year-olds and up is one of four graded stakes events carded for Saturday afternoon’s action-packed program at beautiful Belmont Park, which also features the $250,000 New York (G2) at 1 1/4 miles on Belmont Park’s inner turf; the $250,000 Just a Game (G1) for fillies and mares going 1 mile on the outer turf; and the $100,000 Vagrancy (G3) for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up contested at 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track.
Trained by Dale Romans, the 5-year-old Shackleford chestnut last raced in the Phoenix (G2) on October 4 at Keeneland when sixth, defeated less than 4 lengths. That effort capped off an otherwise sparkling campaign that included 4 wins, led by a 4 1/2-length romp in the 7-furlong John A. Nerud (G2) in July at Belmont that garnered a career-best 108 Beyer Speed Figure.
Promises Fulfilled, who will ship up to New York from Kentucky on Thursday, has trained forwardly at Churchill Downs, including a bullet 5/8 breeze in 59 seconds flat on June 13 and a similarly speedy effort in 59.20 Saturday on the Churchill Downs main track.
“He had ankle surgery (during his time off) and since he’s come back, he’s been training very well,” Romans said. “He just keeps getting better. There’s a lot of money out there for him. I think he’ll run well. He’s doing good enough.”
Promises Fulfilled, who sizzled to a front-running score in the 2018 H. Allen Jerkens (G1) at Saratoga Race Course, boasts a record of 17-7-0-3 with purse earnings of $1,455,530.
After running fourth in last year’s Runhappy Met Mile (G1) in June, he turned back successfully with a dominating front-end effort in the John A. Nerud under regular pilot Luis Saez.
Romans said he expects a similar approach on Saturday when Promises Fulfilled bursts out of post 7 under Saez.
“He likes every track, but he did perform very well there last year,” Romans said. “He’s going to do the same thing this time, they’re going to have to come get him.”
Chiefswood Stables homebred Yorkton, a multiple graded stakes winner on synthetic, will seek his first dirt win.
The 6-year-old Ontario-bred son of Speightstown captured back-to-back renewals of the 2018-19 Bold Venture (G3) on the Woodbine Tapeta for former trainer Stuart Simon. Last out, in an April 25 optional claiming sprint at Gulfstream Park, Yorkton set the pace but could not fend off last year’s Peter Pan (G3) champ Global Campaign in a solid runner-up effort.
Following that effort, Yorkton has breezed five times at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland for new trainer Graham Motion.
“He’s coming out of the really tough allowance race down in Florida that came off like a graded race,” said Motion. “I thought he ran a huge race that day. I think it took a lot out of him, which is why I wasn’t in a hurry to get him back into the entries.”
Dylan Davis will pilot Yorkton from post 5.
Cash is King and LC Racing’s Diamond King, a 5-year-old multiple stakes-winning son of Quality Road, was fifth in his Belmont debut in the Bold Ruler Handicap (G3) in October. The John Servis trainee exited that effort to capture the 1-mile Stymie with a prominent trip on March 7 at the Big A. Last out, on May 23 at Churchill Downs, Diamond King bobbled at the start en route to running seventh in the Blame.
Looking to make the grade in his 20th career start, Diamond King will emerge from the inside post under returning rider Kendrick Carmouche.
Wicked Trick, co-owned by trainer Linda Rice with Stephen G. Cooper, ran off a 6-race win streak from a maiden claiming score in July 2019 at Saratoga Race Course through a 9 1/4-length allowance score on January 20 at the Big A. The 5-year-old Hat Trick gelding, claimed for $16,000 out of a 6 3/4-length score in August at the Spa, was fifth last out in his stakes debut in the Stymie.
Jose Lezcano has the call from post 3.
Rounding out the field are Stan the Man (post 6, Joel Rosario), Firenze Fire (post 8, Irad Ortiz, Jr.), and a pair from the barn of Ed Coletti, Jr., in Midnightcharly (post 2, Javier Castellano) and Wait for It (post 4, Manny Franco).
Slated as Race 9 on Saturday’s 11-race card, which offers a first post of 1:15 p.m. Eastern, the True North will feature on America’s Day at the Races, produced by NYRA in partnership with FOX Sports, and airing live on Fox Sports and MSG+. Free Equibase-provided past performances are available for races that are part of the America’s Day at the Races broadcast and can be accessed at https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
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