Promises Fulfilled a surprise winner in Fountain of Youth

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Promises Fulfulled was a surprise wire-to-wire winner Saturday in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, one of the big early preps on the road to the Kentucky Derby.

Starting from the outside post, Promises Fulfilled went straight to the lead and kept holding off challengers as he made his way around 1 1/16 miles of the dirt at Gulfstream Park. It was the third win in four starts for the Dale Romans trainee, who went off at 18-1 and paid $38.40 after winning in 1 minute, 44.17 seconds under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

Strike Power was second, after several attempts to pass Promises Fulfilled down the stretch came up empty.

“The trainer told me to go to the lead and hold on,” said Ortiz, who rode five winners at Gulfstream on the day. “When I asked my horse, he just took off again. He was impressive today. He ran the whole race. He broke great and was ready. The trainer was right.”

Good Magic — the overwhelming favorite — was third. Good Magic won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year, won the Eclipse Award as the top 2-year-old, was ridden by Eclipse Award jockey Jose Ortiz and is trained by two-time reigning Eclipse Award winner Chad Brown. But even connections like that wasn’t enough to get Good Magic to the lead.

“The latter part of the race, he didn’t have it,” Brown said. “The horses that were 1-2 the whole way just kicked ahead of him. The horse came back a little tired. He was blowing pretty good. It looked like he needed the race. Hopefully, he got what he needed out of it and go on to the next step.”

If Promises Fulfilled remains healthy, he’s now essentially assured a spot in the Kentucky Derby field. This is the sixth year where a points system has been used to determine the 20 horses that will be in the Run for the Roses, and in each of the first five years 50 points — what Promises Fulfilled got for winning on Saturday — was easily enough to qualify.

Strike Power got 20 standings points for finishing second, and that puts him in excellent shape in the Derby qualifying chase as well. Good Magic picked up 10 more points, giving him 34. And based on past years, that could already be enough to qualify.

Machismo was fourth and Marconi was fifth.

It was the 72nd Fountain of Youth day, and Gulfstream had a record handle for the day — $28,541,305, up 7 percent from Fountain of Youth day a year ago.

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