Promiseher (American Pharoah) winning the Gr.3 Gazelle Stakes at Aqueduct

Promiseher America Earns Oaks Spot With G3 Gazelle Win

It was a big day for Ashford stallions in classic preps on Saturday with American Pharoah kicking off the party when his daughter Promiseher America (3f American Pharoah x Promisedyouheaven, by Unbridled’s Song) won the Grade III Gazelle to lock herself into the Grade I Kentucky Oaks.

Breaking her maiden last out by over six lengths, the Ray Handal-trained Promiseher America proved she was ready for a stakes debut from the moment she loaded into the gate in the 1 1/8-mile Grade III Gazelle Stakes.

Tracking Capella, she put some pressure on that leader down the backstretch before making a bid on the far turn. She had her head in front with just over a quarter mile left to run but it wasn’t going to be an easy win from there. A late closer shrunk her lead to half a length at the wire with Practical Joke’s Shidabhuti also securing an Oaks spot when third in the race.

“She was super impressive last time and I said, ‘Let’s go the nine furlongs. We can always go back to the 1x if we need to.’ But I like the idea of two turns,” Handal said after the victory. "She’s just built like a two-turn kind of horse. She obviously had to step up. It was one of those races where whoever took the biggest step forward would win this race today and she was in the realm of them and she hung on."

Winning two of her three starts this year with a second place finish in the other race, Promiseher America races for Hoffman Thoroughbreds and Tom McCrocklin.

Bred by Robert and Lawana Low, Promiseher America is a granddaughter of the stakes winning Hurricane Bernie. That mare is one of two stakes winners out of her on dam alongside to-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection with Grade III fourth Deceptive Glory also among her siblings.

Promiseher America is bred on the same American Pharoah x Unbridled’s Song mare cross as four other winners, led by stakes placed Pharoah’s Song.

Saturday saw Practical Joke’s Practical Move in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby to join Promiseher America as classic prep winners by Coolmore sires, while Justify’s Verifying finished second by just a neck to the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes.