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Major Contenders Gear Up for G1 Xpressbet Florida Derby

by Gulfstream Park Press Release

March 19, 2018

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Robert Baron’s Promises Fulfilled tuned up for the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) Saturday during a four-furlong breeze at Gulfstream Park.

Video of Promises Fulfilled

The workout for the historic March 31 Triple Crown prep, caught by Daily Racing Form clockers in 48.20 seconds, was the 3-year-old son of Shackleford’s first since his front-running victory in the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2).

“He’s just a push-button horse,” trainer Dale Romans said. “He’s doing everything the right way”

Promises Fulfilled, who won his first two starts before finishing third behind Enticed in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs last year, made an auspicious 2018 debut in the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth, grabbing an early lead from his far-outside post position and going on to win by 2 ¼ lengths over previously undefeated Strike Power. Eclipse champion Good Magic finished another 2 ¼ lengths back in third.

“That was a big deal. He ran a beautiful race. He’s just a good horse. He should be undefeated. He shouldn’t have lost the Jockey Club. He was just getting out so bad that day and fighting the jockey,” Romans said. “He’s a real talent.”

Romans isn’t concerned about Promises Fulfilled’s ability to carry his speed over the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Florida Derby.

“At the end of the race the other day he’s drawing off. Nobody was passing him on the gallop-out,” Romans said. “I figure he can do anything.”

Romans will be seeking his first Florida Derby victory but has saddled a couple of runner-ups, including Sharp Humor, who finished a half-length behind Barbaro in 2006, and Shackleford, who lost by a neck to Dialed In in 2011.

“Winning the Florida Derby would be big too. I’ve finished second twice, close seconds to Barbaro and Dialed In. These type of races you want to put on your resume,” Romans said. “There are Grade 1s and there are Grade 1s. This is a unique Grade 1 to me.”

Romans said that Calumet Farm’s Storm Runner is also scheduled to run in the Florida Derby after experiencing a very troubled trip while finishing seventh in the Fountain of Youth.

“He had no chance in the Fountain of Youth, so we decided to give him another chance,” Romans said.

Storm Runner breezed five furlongs in 1:01.11 at Gulfstream Saturday.

Catholic Boy Breezes 5F in 1:00 at Bridlewood Farm

Robert LaPenta and Madaket Stables’ Catholic Boy breezed five furlongs in 1:00 at Bridlewood Farms in Ocala Saturday morning for a scheduled start in the Florida Derby.

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. flew to Ocala Friday evening to breeze the son of More Than Ready Saturday morning.

“Between Irad seemingly being happy with him and the way the horse breezed this morning, [I’m pleased],” trainer Jonathan Thomas said. “After the five-eighths work he went ahead and had a very healthy gallop-out.”

Catholic Boy, who debuted with a two-length victory in a 7 ½-furlong turf race at Gulfstream Park last July, was a multiple graded-stakes winner last year, scoring in the With Anticipation (G3) on turf at Saratoga and capturing the Remsen (G2) over the Aqueduct main track. He finished second in the 2018 debut, beaten by a half-length by front-running Flameaway in the Feb. 10 Sam Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.

“I think he’s progressed well. He’s put on weight since he ran. His energy level is good. By design we gave him an extra week of not breezing. It came back a pretty healthy [Ragozin] number for him. He ran a ‘6’ which was a lifetime best, I didn’t have him fully cranked, so I think he got a lot out of that,” Thomas said. “The way he worked this morning it was swifter than normal for me, but he did it well within himself. I feel liked he bounced back pretty well.”

Catholic Boy is scheduled to ship from Bridlewood to Gulfstream Park March 22 to complete his preparation for the Florida Derby.

“We’ll train on the 23rd. Depending on how we’re feeling, we could deviate breezing either the 25th or the 26th,” Thomas said.

Audible Timed in 1:01.50 for 5F at Palm Beach Downs

Todd Pletcher-trained Audible breezed five furlongs in 1:01.50 Saturday morning at Palm Beach Downs in preparation for a scheduled start in the Florida Derby.

Video of Audible

Owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and SF Racing, the son of Into Mischief worked in company, inside Prince Lucky. Javier Castellano was aboard Audible for his fourth workout since winning the Feb. 3 Holy Bull (G3) by 5 ½ lengths.