June Member of the Month
The Eight Belles Stakes (gr. III), run at Churchill Downs, honors the filly of the same name who finished second in the 2008 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), only to break down after the race. Her legacy lives on in Robert Luttrell’s homebred Promise Me Silver, who delivered gold to take the seven-furlong contest on May 1. The sophomore filly came home in a speedy 1:22.90, posting a one-and-a-quarter length victory over Las Virgenes (gr. I) winner Callback in the process.
Luttrell, an Arlington, Tex. resident, is astonished by Promise Me Silver’s success. “It’s been amazing. She’s brought me much more fame than I ever expected. I’m not accustomed to seeing my name in the paper,” he marveled. Promise Me Silver was undefeated as a juvenile, capturing stakes races from Churchill Downs to Fair Grounds. Her most recent race, the June 6 Acorn Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park, marked her only loss to date. Thus far in her career, she has garnered $435,915 from eight wins in nine starts; this year alone, the Texas-bred has won four stakes races, including the Eight Belles.
The chance of breeding a horse like Promise Me Silver was a longshot for Luttrell. When the economy went downhill in 2008, Luttrell only kept one out of the four broodmares he owned. Luckily for him, the one he held on to was Uno Mas Promesa (by Macho Uno), dam of Promise Me Silver.
Purchasing Uno Mas Promesa for $45,000 at the 2006 August Ocala Breeders’ Sale turned out to be a bargain. “Well, actually it was my wife,” Luttrell admitted. “When we would go to the sales, I would always go through the catalog and pick out who I want to look at. And she [Uno Mas Promesa] was not on my list, and while we were walking between barns, Myrna spotted her and she said, ‘That was a pretty thing. Let’s go look at her.’ We ended up buying her.”
Luttrell’s own experience in racing is closely tied to the Lone Star State. He recalled, “I went to my first race when I was in college in El Paso at what was then Texas Western [now the University of Texas at El Paso], and I got the bug, but I got my first horse in 1984.” Currently, he boards all his horses at Valor Farm in Point Pilot, Tex. “I think it’s the best-looking farm in Texas, and then the people who run it are exceptional,” he said. The farm also has a storied history, as it was once owned by the late Clarence Scharbauer, owner of Alysheba.
Indeed, Luttrell chose a Valor stallion, Silver City, as a mate for Uno Mas Promesa, whom, he noted, has “been bred four times to a Valor stallion.” Of Promise Me Silver, Luttrell said, “her sire is [an] Unbridled’s Song, and he was very, very fast, but he wouldn’t rate.” In an eight-race career, Silver City became a graded-placed stakes winner, but his best effort thus far has come in the form of his accomplished daughter.
All three of Luttrell’s current runners are out of Uno Mas Promesa and are in training with W. Bret Calhoun, who also conditions Promise Me Silver. That number includes winners Bully Good, a four-year-old gelding, and Another Kite Flyer, a two-year-old filly. This year, Uno Mas Promesa had a foal by graded stakes-placed Valor stallion My Golden Song—like Silver City, a son of Unbridled’s Song—and is currently in foal to Proud Citizen, sire of two Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winners, for 2016. With Promise Me Silver’s success came a ticket to Kentucky for her dam. Luttrell noted, “The general manager at Valor [is] very good at genetics, and he said, ‘Bob, I think she needs a shot with a Kentucky sire.’ And he worked on it and we decided on Proud Citizen [who stands at Airdrie Stud in Midway, Ky.].”
The likely next stop for Promise Me Silver is the six-and-a-half-furlong Victory Ride Stakes (gr. III) on July 4 at Belmont Park. Luttrell has hopes that his sprint specialist might make it to the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland this fall, but he remains practical. He said, “Of course, that would be an ambition, but we’re taking it race by race.” Will Promise Me Silver and Robert Luttrell gallop into history together? Only time will tell.
Congratulations to Robert Luttrell, TOBA's June member of the month!