Warrendale Graduate Promise Keeper Makes the Grade in Peter Pan
RSS Feeds Monday, May 10, 2021

Promise Keeper  made short work of a short field May 8 in the $194,000 Peter Pan Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park, easily fending off a challenge from Nova Rags  to earn his first graded score. The Constitution colt won two in a row for trainer Todd Pletcher after a sweeping 5 1/2-length victory in a 1 1/8-mile allowance-level event April 8 at Keeneland, and was ridden with confidence by Luis Saez Saturday to a 2 1/4-length score over four rivals.


Promise Keeper, ch, 3/c
Constitution — Mira Alta, by Curlin

Owner: Woodford Thoroughbreds LLC, WinStar Farm LLC and Rock Ridge Racing LLC
Breeder: Rock Ridge Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY)
Trainer: Todd A. Pletcher
Jockey: Luis Saez
Information provided by Equibase at time of entry.

Pedigree Notes
Constitution stands at WinStar Farm LLC for $85,000 (2021).

Sale History
KEESEP2019 • $160,000 • Consignor: Warrendale Sales, agent • Buyer: Woodford Thoroughbreds.



Wolfie's Dynaghost  set the pace in the 1 1/8-mile event around one turn, with Promise Keeper tracking second to his outside through easy opening fractions of :24.53 and :48.62. Saez made a bid with a half-mile to run, and the duo ranged up off the turn for home to take the lead after three-quarters in 1:13.20.

Runner-up Nova Rags, third early under Junior Alvarado, made a bid to pull alongside Promise Keeper in midstretch but could not get past the eventual winner, who opened up under steady urging inside the final sixteenth and won with ears pricked in a final time of 1:50.71 on a fast track.

"He's a big mover and Luis was able to do a perfect job putting him in a stalking position and let him take advantage of the rhythmic stride he has," Pletcher said. "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 wins the 2021 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Dom Napolitano
Promise Keeper (black cap) strikes the lead turning for home in the Peter Pan Stakes



After Nova Rags came Pletcher-trained Overtook , who was followed home by I Am the Law  and Wolfie's Dynaghost. Risk Taking  was scratched to compete in the May 15 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course

Sent off as the 3-2 favorite, Promise Keeper returned $5 for a $2 win ticket.

The Peter Pan has traditionally produced a contender or two for the Belmont Stakes (G1), and Pletcher said Promise Keeper could find himself among a handful of prospects he has under consideration for the final jewel in the Triple Crown.

"Historically, the Peter Pan has been a good prep for the Belmont," he said. "I'll talk to the connections about it, but that was amongst the discussions leading into this." 

Pletcher also has Curlin Florida Derby Presented by Hill 'n' Dale Farms at Xalapa (G1) winner Known Agenda  and Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by Resorts World Casino (G2) winner Bourbonic  pointing toward the June 5 Belmont. Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Malathaat  is another under consideration.

"Sainthood  we're going to give a breeze on the turf and make a decision after we see that," Pletcher added. "Dynamic One  is another (under consideration). Malathaat, it's on the radar, but we're not committed to anything just yet."

Promise Keeper was bred in Kentucky by Rock Ridge Thoroughbreds out of the unraced Curlin mare Mira Alta, who has produced three winners from three starters. The fourth of six registered foals out of the mare, he was a $160,000 purchase by Woodford Thoroughbreds from Warrendale Sales' consignment to the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Mira Alta has an unnamed  2-year-old filly by Shanghai Bobby  and a yearling Honor Code filly, and dropped a Mastery  colt April 15. She is also the dam of black-type winner Wicked Awesome , who earned more than $294,000 and ran second in the 2020 Allaire DuPont Stakes (G3), and of War Stopper , who was third in the March 6 $100,000 Michelob Ultra Challenger Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs

Improving his record to three wins from five starts, Promise Keeper boosted his earnings to $184,600. His lone prior outing in stakes company was a 12th in the March 6 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2).  

"He can run anywhere," Saez said. "He's a pretty nice horse. We were working with him trying to get him into the Derby but he had a bad start that day in the Tampa Bay Derby. I know he's a nice horse and he's always been improving. Today, he did it so easily. He broke from the gate and found a perfect spot. When I let him go, he just took off. 

"Last time he missed the break a little bit, but he always fights. He's a good horse to ride. He was going nice and beautifully. He can run any distance. He loves the competition, so when he felt the other horse, he gave another gear. He did it pretty easily. When Junior came close to me I got a little worried, but as soon as I started riding, he just blew on by."


Courtesy of the Bloodhorse

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