ELMONT, N.Y. – Robert Baron and WinStar Farm’s G1-winner Promises Fulfilled returns off a more than eight month layoff to headline Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 True North, a 6 ½-furlong sprint for 4-years-old and up at Belmont Park.
Trained by Dale Romans, the 5-year-old Shackleford chestnut last raced in the Grade 2 Phoenix on October 4 at Keeneland when sixth, defeated less than four lengths. That effort capped off an otherwise sparkling campaign that included four wins, led by a 4 1/2-length romp in the seven furlong Grade 2 John A. Nerud 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 five-eighths 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 Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens 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 in June, he turned back successfully with a dominating front-end effort in the Grade 2 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 Grade 3 Bold Venture 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 Grade 3 Peter Pan champ Global Campaign in a solid runner-up effort.
Following that effort, Yorkton has breezed five times at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland.
“He’s coming out of the really tough allowance race down in Florida that came off like a graded race,” said new trainer Graham 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 Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap in October. The John Servis-trainee exited that effort to capture the one-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 six-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 one-mile Stymie at Aqueduct.
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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NYRA Press Release
Photo: Promises Fulfilled. Credit: Coglianese Photos