SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Robert J. Baron’s Promises Fulfilled blazed out to the lead early and held off all challengers in the stretch to wire Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes Presented by Runhappy at Saratoga.
Breaking sharply from the rail as the 6/5 favorite under Luis Saez, Promises Fulfilled immediately took command while receiving early pressure from Gidu down the backside. Together, the two entered the far turn in an opening 1/4-mile in :22.66 before Promises Fulfilled shrugged him off and made the second 1/4-mile in :44.34. As the field exited the far turn, Engage made a bid along Promises Fulfilled’s outside while Seven Trumpets cut the corner and found an opening along the rail. The two horses tried in vain to pass the leader, but Promises Fulfilled dug in and repelled them. Continuing to run strongly through to the wire, the Dale Romans trainee crossed with a 1-length advantage in a final time of 1:21.44 for the 7-furlong main track event.
“It was pretty nice,” Saez said. “I was the speed in the race and my plan was to break and run him from there. He looked like he was very comfortable when he came to the stretch, he stretched the lead and took off.”
Seven Trumpets fought on well to take second, while Firenze Fire made a late rally to nip Engage for third by a neck at the wire. Still Having Fun crossed farther back in fifth ahead of Telekinesis, while Gidu weakened in his first try over the dirt and finished seventh. Givemeaminit and Funny Duck failed to fire and completed the order of finish.
Promises Fulfilled’s win was his first in a Grade 1 event and his third career graded score, following similar wire-to-wire victories in the Grade 3 Amsterdam Stakes last out and the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes back in March. The 3-year-old son of Shackleford now carries a record of 9-5-0-2 with earnings of $770,280 – a nice return on the $37,000 that Romans paid for him as a yearling.
“That was very special,” said Romans, who also trains Seven Trumpets. “Of course, most people in the game know that Allen (Jerkens) and I were very close. He was a good friend and mentor in life. Everybody knows what a great horse trainer he was, and he was a better person. It’s an honor to win this race, and I think to get up for second, we might have had a little divine intervention.”
Promises Fulfilled returned $4.50 to win, $3.50 to place, and $2.50 to show. Seven Trumpets brought back $17 to place and $7.20 to show, while Firenze Fire paid $3.30 to show.