Promises Fulfilled, Whitmore To Face Off in Friday’s G2 Phoenix at Keeneland

(Promises Fulfilled before the 2018 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

(Whitmore winning the G2 Phoenix Stakes in 2018 / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

From the Keeneland Media Team:

Promises Fulfilled and Whitmore, who finished a head apart in last year’s Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2), will renew their rivalry Friday as they headline a field of 11 sprinters for the 167th running of the $250,000 race at 6 furlongs on the main track for 3-year-olds and up.

Scheduled as the eighth race on Friday’s 10-race program with a 4:57 p.m. ET post time, the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) to be held Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.

Owned by Robert Baron and trained by Dale Romans, Promises Fulfilled already has secured a Breeders’ Cup berth by virtue of his victory in the John Nerud (G2) at Belmont on July 6. Sixth in the Forego (G1) at Saratoga in his most recent start, Promises Fulfilled will be ridden by Luis Saez and break from post position seven.

Promises Fulfilled will attempt to become the seventh horse to win this race in consecutive years with the most recent being Sumof the Parts in 2012-2013.

Whitmore, who won the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix in 2017, is owned by the partnership of Robert LaPenta, Head of Plains Partners and trainer Ron Moquett’s Southern Springs Stables. A five-time graded stakes winner and runner-up in last year’s TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs, Whitmore has not started since an eighth-place finish in the True North (G2) at Belmont on June 7.

Joel Rosario has the mount and will break from post position three.

Stepping up to face older horses for the first time is Something Special Racing’s Hog Creek Hustle.

Trained by Vickie Foley, Hog Creek Hustle comes into Friday’s race with a victory in the Woody Stephens (G1) and a nose defeat in the H. Allen Jerkens (G1) in his past two starts. Corey Lanerie has the riding assignment and will break from post position six.

The field for the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix, with riders and weights from the rail out, is: American Pastime (Kent Desormeaux, 120 pounds), Cove Blue (Channing Hill, 120), Whitmore (Rosario, 120), Recruiting Ready (Tyler Gaffalione, 120), Diamond Oops (Julien Leparoux, 120), Hog Creek Hustle (Lanerie, 122), Promises Fulfilled (Saez, 122), Engage (Jose Ortiz, 120), Heartwood (John McKee, 120), Zipp On By (Abel Lezcano, 120), Lexitonian (Adam Beschizza, 118).

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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