Harry Aleo’s Wild Promises shipped in from California to notch her fifth consecutive stakes score Dec. 6 on the Calder Race Course turf, displaying a determined run in the final furlong to take the $100,000 My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) by a length.
Ridden by Aaron Gryder for trainer Greg Gilchrist, Wild Promises sprinted to an early lead while clicking off soft fractions of :24.30, :48.54 and 1:11.96 for six furlongs. Entering the far turn, the 4-year-old bay filly was pressed by Jeux de Danse, who eventually took a short but brief lead from the pacesetter.
But Wild Promises fought back on the inside and the two rivals were on nearly even terms at the top of the lane. When Gryder asked for more in upper stretch, the daughter of Wild Event responded, and she drew away from Jeux de Danse. Callwood Dancer and post time favorite Rutherienne both came with late runs on the outside, but it was too late.
Wild Promises stopped the clock in 1:47.78 for 1 1/8 miles on the ‘firm’ turf to earn her first graded stakes score. Callwood Dancer was a neck better then Rutherienne for second. Jeux de Danse was another neck back in fourth.
“Mr. Gilchrist told me that she would break well and to just put my hands down on her and let her do her thing,” Gryder said. “Down the backstretch, the other horse (Jeux de Danse) moved up aggressively alongside of us, so I let that one put her head in front because at that point I was pretty confident we could kick on and beat her. My filly went on extremely well from there.”
It has been quite a year for Wild Promises, who has won six of eight starts this season, her last five coming in stakes company. The Florida-bred has notched victories at three different California racetracks in 2008, including Golden Gate, where she set the nine-furlong course record Sept. 20.
Bred by the late Arthur Appleton, Wild Promises is out of the Frosty the Snowman mare Frosty Promise. She is an impressive 11-4-1 from 16 lifetime starts with earnings of $381,610. Aleo bought her for $75,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale in 2006.
“We had pretty much kept her protected racing at home until now, but felt that she had earned a chance to go on to bigger things, and Calder has always been good to us in the past,” Gilchrist said. “This race should set her up to come back to Florida next month (Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park Jan. 24).”
Wild Promises, sent off at 5-1, paid $12.60, $5.80 and $3.50. The exacta (6-4) returned $61, with the trifecta (6-4-9) paying $160.40.