Promise Keeper (Constitution) tossed his hat in the ring as a potential GI Belmont S. starter with a strong performance in Saturday's GIII Peter Pan S.
The chestnut, off as the 3-2 favorite, sat a stalking trip in second as the comebacking maiden winner Wolfie's Dynaghost (Ghostzapper) led through fractions of :24.53 and :48.62. Promise Keeper struck the front as they hit the quarter pole, and, after getting a bold challenge from Nova Rags (Union Rags) in the stretch, swatted that foe away to win by an expanding 2 1/4 lengths.
“Historically, the Peter Pan has been a good prep for the Belmont,” winning trainer Todd Pletcher said. “I'll talk to the connections about it, but that was amongst the discussions leading into this.”
Pletcher continued, “He's a big mover and Luis [Saez] was able to do a perfect job putting him in a stalking position and let him take advantage of the rhythmic stride he has. Luis said he had a lot of horse in the end, so that's encouraging.
“I thought tactically that Luis rode a smart race and put him into a good spot and got into a good rhythm. When that horse came to him, he found some more and finished up well. He's got a big bouncy, reachy stride and it seems like the further he goes, the better he gets.”
Promise Keeper, owned in partnership by Woodford Thoroughbreds LLC, WinStar Farm LLC and Rock Ridge Racing LLC, sandwiched a disappointing 12th in the GII Tampa Bay Derby Mar. 6 with a maiden win in the Gulfstream slop Feb. 6 and a powerful optional claiming tally going 1 1/8 miles at Keeneland last time Apr. 8.
The newly minted Hall of Famer won last weekend's GI Kentucky Oaks with 'TDN Rising Star' Malathaat (Curlin). He was also represented by GI Kentucky Derby starters Known Agenda (Curlin) (ninth); Sainthood (Mshawish) (11th); Bourbonic (Bernardini) (13th); and Dynamic One (Union Rags) (18th). How is his Belmont S. roster shaping up so far?
“Known Agenda and Bourbonic are definitely pointed that way,” Pletcher said. “Sainthood we're going to give a breeze on the turf and make a decision after we see that. Dynamic One is another [under consideration]. Malathaat, it's on the radar, but we're not committed to anything just yet.”
Promise Keeper is the latest of 11 graded winners for third-crop sire Constitution, whose 20 black-type winners include last year's GI Belmont and GI Travers winner Tiz the Law. Promise Keeper's unraced dam, Mira Alta, sold for $200,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale and is now the dam of two of Curlin's five stakes winners as a damsire. In addition to Promise Keeper, she has produced SW & GSP Wicked Awesome (Awesome Again) and GSP War Stopper (Declaration of War). In the pipeline is a 2-year-old filly by Shanghai Bobby who hammered for $5,000 as a Keeneland January short yearling, a yearling filly by Honor Code, and a 2021 colt by Mastery. Mira Alta is a half to GISW Great Hunter (Aptitude) and to the dam of MGSW & MGISP Owendale (Into Mischief), and is from the immediate family of champion and $6-million Keeneland sales mare Stellar Wind (Curlin). Promise Keeper's seventh dam is the Sir Gallahad III (Fr) mare Omayya, who has figured in the pedigrees of a number of prominent horses of late, including American champion Tepin (Bernstein) and Australian champion Americain (Dynaformer).
Saturday, Belmont Park
PETER PAN S.-GIII, $194,000, Belmont, 5-8, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:50.71, ft.
1–PROMISE KEEPER, 118, c, 3, by Constitution
1st Dam: Mira Alta, by Curlin
2nd Dam: Zenith, by Roy
3rd Dam: Sequins, by Northern Fashion
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($160,000
Ylg '19 KEESEP). O-Woodford Thoroughbreds LLC, WinStar
Farm LLC & Rock Ridge Racing LLC; B-Rock Ridge
Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher; J-Luis Saez.
$110,000. Lifetime Record: 5-3-0-0, $184,600. *1/2 to War
Stopper (Declaration of War), GSP, $108,470; 1/2 to Wicked
Awesome (Awesome Again), SW & GSP, $294,460. Werk Nick
Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Nova Rags, 118, c, 3, Union Rags–Wishful Splendor, by Smart
Strike. ($275,000 RNA Ylg '19 KEESEP). O/B-Michael Shanley
(KY); T-William I. Mott. $40,000.
3–Overtook, 118, c, 3, Curlin–Got Lucky, by A.P. Indy.
($1,000,000 Ylg '19 KEESEP). O-Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable,
Michael B. Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier & Derrick Smith; B-Hill 'n'
Dale Equine Holdings, Inc. & Philip J. Steinberg (KY); T-Todd A.
Margins: 2 1/4, 1HF, 8 3/4. Odds: 1.50, 2.05, 3.70.
Also Ran: I Am the Law, Wolfie's Dynaghost. Scratched: Risk Taking. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.