400,000 Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth Stakes, Gulfstream Park Race # 13, Mile & 1/16th EST Post Time 5:32 pm
I have always been intrigued with this race. I feel it is truly the beginning of what is always a compelling spring for three-year-olds. There’s no doubt this grade 2 event is embraced as a Florida Derby prep, and ultimately of course, a measuring stick for what will be the very best Kentucky Derby contenders. With that, racing fans typically watch this race closely.
It actually inaugurated back in 1945, and over the years there have been variations of distance. (Currently 1 1/16th) This year’s field looks to be one of the more competitive you will see. There’s always the chance for a horse to gain a greater identity and ultimately make his presence felt in the triple crown races, just as Orb (2013) did and who went on to win the Kentucky Derby & Union Rags ( 2012) who emerged in championship form in the Belmont Stakes.
It’s a field of eleven talented three-year-old colts who are looking to advance into the limelight of what is always a fabulous Spring season.
It was a tough handicap, but this is precisely how I see it with my most probable order of finish.
# 8 Global Campaign There’s so many things to like about this colt, his lone two starts were impressive “in the clear” wins over this same Gulfstream Park soil. He won his debut as a three-year-old at 7 panels, then stepped up his game vs winners at today’s distance and coasted to an easy win. The connections of Saez and Stanley Hough are very dependable, and he’s been sharp in his morning drills preparing for this race. This son of Curlin seems poised and professional. I’m feeling that he’ll show nice tactical speed, press a bit, and allow the pace to materialize, then saving his best as they are turning for home. Liking his value, considering he was odds-on in his two previous victories. You may get 8-1 or so on him in this field.
# 5 Vekoma Just like my top choice, he comes into this race after firing back to back victories to begin his career. His performances were during his two-year-old campaign while racing in New York. I’m loving his stalking style, and he’s got the ever-confident Manny Franco back in the saddle for George Weaver. There are some questions about the distance, but he did take the mile and ran a real quality race after having trouble at the start. He’s also first-time lasix and sports a bullet breeze coming into this race.
# 4 Bourbon War This son of Tapit has an impressive win over this Gulfstream strip, and this race could be to his liking. It’s very possible there will be a rapid pace. If so, while in the masterful hands of Irad Ortiz, he looms to be a major threat as they come charging home in the final furlong.
# 1 Code of Honor He’s an interesting colt who greatly disappointed in his lone three-year-old start. He failed to fire after being generously backed at the windows. He did have some trouble, but he was facing inferior horses and just didn’t get it done. He raced in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont and stumbled badly and sat dead last through the first quarter. Then showed some heart finishing well for the place paycheck. Johnny V in the saddle adds to his appeal, and I’m feeling he’ll benefit from the inside draw as well. He’s capable of a big improvement and watch the board for indications.
# 7 Hidden Scroll There’s no doubt he’ll receive great attention and is likely to be the betting favorite. That will happen when you win your debut by a smashing 14 lengths, but there are many questions. His win was on a sealed sloppy track, and now he’s facing winners for the 1st time. Many of them who have demonstrated steady improvement. His connections are confident that perhaps his 104 Beyer was no fluke. Rosario & Mott will always be respected, but I need lots of value to back a horse like this in a race that seems very competitive. For obvious reasons he could better my rating, but for me I will list him at 5th, and use him mostly in bottom gimmicks.
# 6 Signalman This guy had a fabulous two-year-old campaign, and showed great versatility racing well at several tracks. There’s no doubt he can get the distance, but I’m feeling that perhaps he’ll need a race or two to be as consistent as he has been. ( 5 for 5 in the money) Brain Hernandez is back up for Ken McPeek. He’s got the talent to better my rating, but for today, I’m going to pass on him and watch him over the track.
You just can’t “kiss all the girls”
# 2 Epic Dreamer I wasn’t impressed with his lone start over the track. ( The Holy Bull) Yeah, he showed speed, but felt he should have had something left and I know Irad Ortiz asked him for his best, but he didn’t fire. Now a switch to Gaffalione who knows the course and is reliable, but in a race with lots of speed, I’m feeling he’s up against it. He does have a solid breeze for the race, but he’ll need to improve greatly to win this or for that matter, even hit the board.
# 11 Union’s Destiny, # 9 Everfast, # 10 Frosted Grace & # 3 Gladiator King All seem to have some talent, but inferior to all the horses I have listed above. I’m not expecting any of these colts to hit the board. Perhaps they will fill the 8th through 11th in the final order of finish.
Are you getting ready for a fabulous Spring season?
Let’s Go! and good luck to everyone.
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