Thoroughblog’s Monday Newsletter (you get the newsletter if you are a subscriber)/Post will have more detail on all the action from Saturday racing around the continent.. here are some early wrap ups:



PROMISES FULFILLED (Fountain of Youth) – 96








HE DIGS BARBADOS – The 2016 Queen’s Plate winner SIR DUDLEY DIGGES (Gio Ponti- My Pal Lana by Kris S) came from well off the pace at the Garrison Savannah racecourse to collar stablemate SHINING COPPER and win the $214,000 (BAR) Sandy Lane Gold Cup(Bar-1) on Saturday in Barbados. The Canadian-bred 5-year-old, one of the pair of Ken and Sarah Ramsey runners in the 1 1/8 mile turf race, was ridden by Barbados star JALON SAMUEL, who could entertain ideas of coming to ride in Canada this year. Samuel has now won 3 Gold Cups.

Trainer Mike Maker was not in attendance but Nolan Ramsey, the owner’s grandson, was the assistant.

The time was 1:51 4/5, well off the stakes record of 1:48 3/5.

SIR DUDLEY DIGGES, winner of a minor stakes race since his Plate score, was beating a pretty good one in Shining Copper, a multiple graded stakes winner who was ridden by Rafael Hernandez.

Interestingly, it was Jalon Samuel who guided CELESTIAL STORM to upset the Ramsey’s KITTENS CAT, trained by Mike Maker, in the Spa Sprint Trophy (Bar-1) earlier on the card.

CELESTIAL STORM is a gray filly by Get Stormy from raging Storm by Unbridled Energy.

Samuel also won the Tanglewood Stakes (Bar-1) on the Carpe Diem horse NORTHERN STAR


HOLY _____       IT’S HELENA!

2017 Plate winner is very exciting

Stronach Stables’ Holy Helena(Ghostzapper – Holy Grace, Holy Bull)  rallied through the stretch to earn her first graded-stakes victory Saturday in the $150,000 The Very One (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

The 1 3/16-mile turf stakes for older fillies and mares was the first of nine stakes, including eight graded stakes, on a 14 race program headlined by the $400,000 Fountain of Youth.

Holy Helena established herself as one of North America’s leading 3-year-old fillies of 2017 when she defeated colts in the $1 million Queen’s Plate as well as the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks over Woodbine’s synthetic track last summer, but the Ontario-bred filly finished off the board in the Alabama (G1) at Saratoga and finished second against the boys in the Ontario Derby (G3) at Woodbine in her only two previous graded-stakes attempts.

The 7-2 second betting choice saved ground under Irad Ortiz Jr. behind a sensible pace set by 6-5 favorite Daring Duchess, who showed the way into the stretch after running a mile in 1:37.87. Holy Helena finally left the rail while splitting horses at the top of the stretch and drew away to win by 1 ¾ lengths. Daring Duchess, who was ridden by Jose Ortiz, held second, 1 ½ lengths ahead of Palinodie and jockey Joel Rosario.

Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, Holy Helena ran 1 3/16 miles in 1:54.67 to successfully follow up a Feb. 4 optional claiming allowance win at Gulfstream in her first career start on turf.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens (Holy Helena): “The horse that was on the lead was the horse that we felt would be on the lead. Irad told me he was going to let her settle and save some ground and that’s what he did. He rode her perfect. Once she got clear, she exploded. She had been training really well. She even got better since her last race. She got a little stronger in her hind quarters. I saw it today. Leaving the paddock, I was pretty confident. I was going to be pretty devastated if she didn’t show up.”





Lone speed is deadly.

It is Kentucky Derby prep season and while some of these ‘prep’ races are worth good money – the prize at the end is the biggest of them all.

Don’t expect to see any of the early Derby favourites being asked to do anything silly in these prep races. Rather, most ofo them will be dragged back ooff the pace, slow or fast, and aimed to make a late run.

Those tactics did not work for the reigning 2-year-old Champion GOOD MAGIC (Curlin from Hard Spun mare)at Gulfstream yesterday (or anyone else) as longshot front runner PROMISES FULFILLED (Shackleford – Marquee Delivery by Marquetry) , first time front bandages and a $37,000 yearling purchase racing against ones that cost $1 million and $2 million stole the show:

GULFSTREAM – Robert Baron’s Promises Fulfilled demonstrated promise for the spring classics Saturday at Gulfstream Park, registering a dominating front-running victory in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) and upsetting Eclipse Award champion Good Magic in the process.

Promises Fulfilled, an 18-1 longshot ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., earned 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points with his 2 ¼-length triumph to virtually clinch a spot in the field for the first leg of the Triple Crown at Churchill Downs May 5.

The Dale Romans-trained son of Shackleford broke alertly from his outside post position to grab the early lead on the first turn, chased by Strike Power, the 7-2 second choice in a field of nine 3-year-olds, and stalked by Good Magic, the 3-5 favorite making his first start since capturing the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Del Mar last November. Promises Fulfilled set fractions of 23.80 (seconds) and 48.39 for the half mile as he showed the way along the backstretch, challenged briefly by Storm Runner, a stablemate in the Romans Stable who dropped out of contention soon after. The pacesetter was challenged to the outside by Strike Power on the turn into the homestretch but kicked away to win by a comfortable margin.

“The trainer told me to go to the lead and hold on,” said jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. after scoring his fifth victory on Fountain of Youth card. “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.”

Romans had entered three horses in the Fountain of Youth but scratched Free Drop Billy Saturday morning while opting to run the Grade 1 stakes winner in the Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct next Saturday. Promises Fulfilled, who won his first two races before finishing third in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs last year, proved up to the task of getting his trainer to the winner’s circle while making his 2018 debut.

“I had a lot of confidence in this horse because of the way he trained. He trained so well, and the race he ran when he was third was as impressive a race as a horse can run. To do what he did and be as compromised as he was and still run third to two good horses, he’s a special horse,” Romans said. “The way he’s been working over this racetrack, he’ll take his racetrack with him. He doesn’t care where he is.”

Strike Power, who won his debut and the Swale Stakes (G3) during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet, tasted defeated for the first time while finishing 2 ¼ lengths clear of Good Magic.

“I thought he ran well. It was his first time stretching out. He handled it well, the fact that he had to settle off that horse [Promises Fulfilled]. They were dead set on being there. Luis (Saez) said, “We broke sharp. If I tried to go, we’d be going to go too fast.’ He said, ‘Let me just set off him.’ He thought he had him when he switched leads but the horse kept going,” Strike Power’s trainer Mark Hennig said. “I think he got a little tired. He went from 5 ½ (furlongs) to 7 to now this [1 1/16 miles]. Hopefully, he can keep moving forward.”

Good Magic finished two lengths clear of Machismo after racing evenly throughout the Fountain of Youth.

“He got a good trip. He had no trouble and got good position early. The latter part of the race, he didn’t have it. The horses that were 1-2 the whole way just kicked ahead of him,” trainer Chad Brown said. “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.”

Promises Fulfillied ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.17 while stamping himself as a strong contender for the Florida Derby, which has won the past two years by Always Dreaming and Nyquist, who both went on the win the Kentucky Derby.

“If a horse runs good here,you keep them here,” Romans said.

**GULFSTREAM PARK – while it is easy to love the big fields and good horses (on weekends), the constant 10 to 15  minute drag in post times is hard to take. When 0 minutes to post means 10-15 minutes to post..that makes for a long wait between races.

– Not sure what was going on with the Gulfstream main track yesterday but the Grade Gulfstream Sprint went in 1:18 and change for 6 1/2 furlongs..very slow surface yesterday



Some other Canadian notables did not fare as well on Saturday but hopefully will return to their comfort zone at Woodbine soon:

Champion sprinter NOHOLDINGBACK BEAR, coming off a layoff for the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint was last beaten more than 26 lengths while never getting involved. Trainer Mike DePaulo had indicated that the horse was likely a work shy of his top form.  There have been reports from Daily Racing Form that Noholdingback Bear will try and tackle PINK LLOYD in the opening day sprint feature at Woodbine on April 21.

Graded stakes winner SHAKHIMAT was unplaced in the Canadian Turf as the son of Lonhro did not get his preferred spot near the early lead. The Roger Attfield trainee stalked a strong pace duel in 3rd (not as strong as the Gulfstream timer indicated of 214/5, 44 2/5) and then faded to last.

NEEPAWA, a Queen’s Plate contender for 2018, was 5th beaten 3 lengths in the Palm Beach Stakes for Chiefswood Stables. The colt by Scat Daddy actually posted a career best Beyer Figure of 80, however, and he was well off a very slow pace early in the race.