Promontory Gold delivered on the promise of his first three career starts, winning the $110,900 Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) by a half length Saturday at Belmont Park. The 1 1/8-mile turf race marks Promontory Gold's first win in stakes company. Promontory Gold paid $6.20, $3.70, and $3.10 and led an exacta worth $18.60.
The Bobby Frankel trainee won his debut by seven lengths in a Santa Anita maiden turf race in December. He followed that by finishing second to The Deputy in the $76,000 Hill Rise Handicap, and with a 2 1/2-length allowance win, both on the turf at Santa Anita.
In the Hill Prince, Promontory Gold pressed the pace of Peeping Tom and was a head off the lead after four furlongs run in :48.84 seconds. The 3-year-old son of Gone West took the lead as they entered the second turn and held off the late challenge of Rob's Spirit, completing the distance in 1:49.15 over firm turf.
"He broke kind of slow, but the pace was slow and he pushed his way through," said winning jockey Edgar Prado. "When I put him in the clear, he settled nicely. I thought that other horse (Rob's Spirit) might go by in the stretch, but he dug in pretty gamely."
Avezzano finished third, 2 1/2 lengths behind Rob's Spirit. Polish Miner was fourth , followed by Bulling, Belle's Tiger, and Peeping Tom. Withers (gr. III) winner Big E E scratched.
Bulling had a troubled trip early on, brushing the gate while veering out at the start. The Allen Jerkens trainee was then rank while four-wide on the first turn.
Promontory Gold earned $66,540 for owner Robert Witt with the victory, his third from six starts. In an experiment on dirt in March, he finished sixth of seven in the San Felipe (gr. II) before disappointing when switched back to turf in the Forerunner Stakes at Keeneland. He was bred in Kentucky by Blue Vista Inc. (Chart, Equibase