2015 Fountain Of Youth Stakes Preview
The Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday is shaping up to be an excellent prelude to the Florida Derby five weeks from Saturday on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The top four finishers from the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes return to run on Saturday as well as Itsaknockout who has been impressive in both of his starts.
The Fountain Of Youth will be contested over the main track at 1 1/16 miles with the Grade 2 event carrying a $400,000 purse. A total of 8 horses will be competing in this race, but the most important aspect is the points that will be awarded to the top four finishers. The winner will get 50 points towards the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard, second place receives 20 points, third place receives 10 points, and fourth place receives 5 points.
A win in this race essentially clinches a spot in the Kentucky Derby while a poor showing puts immense pressure on a horse to finish in the top two in their next start.
Below is a look at each horse in the race. Post time is scheduled for 5:30 PM Eastern Time. Free past performances for this race can be found here.
1. Juan and Bina (20-1 Morning Line) – He ran fourth in the Holy Bull after attempting to come from off the pace. He was hard to handle for much of the race and had to go wide in the stretch. He now has the blinkers taken off in an attempt to settle him down. Prior to the Holy Bull, he was 5th in a listed stakes race here at Gulfstream and second in a listed stakes at Gulfstream Park West. Given the talent in this race, his ceiling appears to be underneath.
2. Bluegrass Singer (8-1 ML) – He also ran in the Holy Bull, finishing third after prompting the pace. His comment line says no match, which is a perfect way to describe his race. He won an optional claimer and a listed stakes race prior to the Holy Bull. In 8 starts he has only missed the board once (his debut). He will be a solid price, but the waters are a bit deeper this race and he is looking at an underneath finish.
3. Frammento (30-1 ML) – Yet another horse out of the Holy Bull, he was not a factor finishing sixth by 18 lengths. His only win has been at the maiden level (at Keeneland) with his next best race two back when he was second by 4 3/4 here at Gulfstream. That was against optional claiming $75,000 and his last race proved too tough of a test. Pass on his chances here.
4. Gorgeous Bird (6-1 ML) – Here is the first of three horses to not have run in the Holy Bull. He ran his debut race in August at Saratoga where he 6th in a 10 horse field. After a freshening, he came back 3 months later to win at Churchill Downs by a length and a quarter going 7 furlongs. Another break of 2 months gave him time to acclimate to the Florida weather. He came off that layoff to crush his foes by 7 lengths in an optional claiming $75,000. His bullet work on February 13 is a good sign and he could pull of the upset here.
5. Itsaknockout (4-1 ML) – We arrive at the lightly raced son of Lemon Drop Kid. His first start came here at Gulfstream on December 7 where he won a tightly contested race by a nose. He then came back on January 4 to crush an optional claiming $75,000 field by 5 1/4 lengths going one mile. It is hard not to like his chances here though he will have competition from the two horses to his outside. He is a must use on top in the exotics.
6. Frosted (5-2 ML) – The second place finisher in the Holy Bull, he tried to run down Upstart but was not nearly good enough. He has yet to miss the exacta in five career starts, however, he only has 1 win from those five starts. The Holy Bull represented his first start in nearly two months and he will have the blinkers put on for the Fountain Of Youth. He is a logical top three choice in this race to win.
7. Upstart (8-5 ML) – We have the class of the field in the 8-5 morning line favorite. He won the Grade 2 Holy Bull by 5 1/2 lengths after pulling away in the stretch. Before that race, he was third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and second in Grade 1 Champagne. Jose Ortiz should have Upstart in a good spot all the way around the track and he will be the one to beat as they turn for home.
8. Danny Boy (15-1 ML) – Here we have a horse that has made 3 of his 4 career starts on turf. His broke his maiden in his debut at Ellis Park by 3 lengths before finishing fourth by 3 1/2 lengths in his only dirt race – the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill. He returned to the turf course for the next start where he was second by a half length in the Grade 3 Bourbon at Keeneland. He went on to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf where he had some trouble at the start and in the stretch. He finished 8th, beaten only 3 lengths, but has not raced since then. This is hardly the spot one wants to be in when making their second start on dirt. He will have a tough time against the horses here. Pass.
After an extensive look at this race, it appears #7 Upstart and #5 Itsaknockout are the top two choices here. #6 Frosted is getting blinkers on and could be closer at the finish. #1 Juan and Bina, #2 Bluegrass Singer, and #4 Gorgeous Bird could all figure in the exotics as well.
4. Gorgeous Bird
Check back on Saturday evening for a recap of the Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth Stakes.