Besilu Stables Fountain Of Youth Stakes; 13 Seeking Big Derby Points
Besilu Stables Fountain Of Youth Stakes 2014; 13 Seeking Some Big Derby Points: The Fountain Of Youth Stakes is run annually at Gulfstream Park in sunny Hallandale Beach, Florida in late February and is a (GII) Stakes race open to three-year-olds ready to run 1 1/16 miles on the dirt for a prize of $400,000. With significant Kentucky Derby points on the line, this first race on the “Kentucky Derby Championship Series” of preps offers a step-up in points to 50:20:10:5 to the top four finishers. The 2014 edition of the Fountain Of Youth Stakes takes place on Saturday, February 22, 2014. SEE UPDATED RESULTS
The Fountain Of Youth Stakes was named for the mythical Florida spring that granted eternal youth. It was sought by Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon who searched throughout the eastern United States for it but never found the fountain. If it’s there I sure hope someone finds it soon, I could use a little of that serum.
There are four colts who won this race and went on to become “Dual Classic Winners”, Tim Tam (1958), Kauai King (1966), Spectacular Bid (1979) and Thunder Gulch (1995). The first three won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, the last won the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. The 1985 winner, Proud Truth, won that years Breeders’ Cup Classic. So needless to say, this race has merit.
The Fountain of Youth Stakes was inaugurated in 1945 and run at various distances until 1953 when it was modified to 1 1/16 miles. In 2005, it was changed to a distance of 1 1/8 miles and in 2009, it was run at one mile. In 2012, Gulfstream added a second finish line so the Fountain of Youth and other dirt races could be contested at 1 1/16 miles.
The speed records are held by: Eskendereya (2010) going 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.87; Quality Road (2009) going 1 mile in 1:35.01; and Sensitive Prince (1978) going 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.00. It is now being contested again at 1 1/16 miles and was won last year in 1:42.24 by Orb. The most wins for a jockey are tied at 4 for John Velazquez and Jerry Baily. The most wins for a trainer are 3 for D. Wayne Lukas.
The 2014 (GII) Fountain Of Youth Stakes is the 11th race of the day at Gulfstream Park on a card of 12 with a post time of 5:33 pm, EST and is the third stakes race of the day following race #9 the Davona Del Stakes (GII) for the fillies and race #10, the Canadian Turf Stakes (GIII).
My top pick in the 2014 Fountain Of Youth Stakes is the Patrick Byrne trained Almost Famous. The rest of the top four from the Holy Bull crop are sitting this one out for other races and I still think this guy has a lot of potential in the tank. The son of Unbridled’s Song/Wild Gams/Forest Wildcat finished a game fourth in his 2014 debut in the Holy Bull Stakes (GII) going 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream Park on January 25th. He was forwardly placed throughout the race where he pressed the pace before tiring to fourth. On November 9, 2013 he smashed the field in an allowance race at Churchill Downs getting his feet wet again, after some time off for nearly three months with a bruised foot, when he was scratched from the Kentucky Jockey Club. Prior to that he threw in a clunker on October 27th, 2013 in the Street Sense at Churhill Downs where he finished fourth going one mile. He broke his maiden at first asking on September 13, 2013 at the Twin Spires going 6f on the dirt. He’s had one maintenance work since the Holy Bull at Palm Meadows Training Center going 4f in 49.00, 31/54 on February 8th 2014. He’s in shape and ready to roll from hole #8 with Clavin Borel up again to ride.
In addition to Almost Famous, Patrick Byrne entered Indy’s Legacy for owners Chuck and Maribeth Sandford in the 5th race at Gulfstream Park on Fountain Of Youth day. Chuck Sanford revealed to us at Palm Meadows Training Center that Patrick has both colts in great shape stating, “We have high expectations. We actually have two colts running on Saturday at Gulfstream Park and we’re really expecting to do well. Almost Famous is ready to go. People didn’t talk much about him after his last race in the Holy Bull. He was beat by five lengths by a fabulous colt but we were only two lengths off the other horses in the race. He got hooked at a mile and a sixteenth and didn’t have a chance to get any air after the far turn. It was a real gutty performance. We’re ready to go on Saturday in the Fountain Of Youth but it’s going to be a tough race. There are many great horses and we’re very excited.”
General a Rod has won two of three starts for trainer Mike Maker. This son of Roman Ruler/Dynamite Eyes/Dynaformer has a race record of 3:2:1 and is quite salty. He was last seen earning a hard-fought victory over Wildcat Red, who he faces here again, in the January 1, 2014 Gulfstream Park Derby going a one-turn mile. In that race he chased the pace 3-wide set by Wildcat Red, engaged him at the quarter pole, dueled and edged him at the wire for the win. Prior he ran a mile on the dirt at Churchill on November 30, 2013 where he was beat by Conquest Titan in an allowance race where they alternated the lead, again he dueled for the front and held on gamely for second. He broke his maiden first out at Keeneland on the poly on October 18, 2013. He is well drawn in the 5th hole with Javier Castellano at the helm. General a Rod has turned in some nice 5f works at Gulfstream where he most recently breezed 1:00.12, 7/32 on February 16th. This guy sounds ready to battle.
Another one I like in the 2014 Fountain Of Youth is the Todd Pletcher trained We Miss Artie owned by the Ramseys who exits post #2 with Joe Bravo in the irons. The son of Artie Schiller/Athena’s Gift/Fusaichi Pegasus last out was second on the turf in the Kittens Joy Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on January 19, 2014. He stalked early from the inside, went 3 wide into the stretch, came up to challenge Storming Inti in the upper stretch, battled for the lead to lose by a head-bob. Prior was his second start on the dirt in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile (GI) on November 2, 2013 where he ran 7th after he bobbled at the break, made a bold wide move but couldn’t hang on in the stretch and faded. Prior on October 5, 2013 he won at Keeneland (GI) in the Dixiana Breeders Futurity on synthetic. He does have another run on the dirt where he finished second his first time out of the gate at Belmont. He has some nice consistent works at Palm Meadows with 4f breezing 48.00, 3/55 on February 16th and on February 9th, 4f in 48.00, 2/67.
I’m digging Almost Famous here to try and blow-out a nice win in the 2014 Fountain Of Youth. He has been a pace factor in each of his four starts to date and Byrne seems to think he has a few different tactics to try. He ran his eyeballs out in the Holy Bull where he showed guts and heart. Byrne said he wasn’t fully cranked for that race off the layoff and I think the Holy Bull built up some stamina. So his race record is win, fourth, win, fourth, time for a win. There is a lot of speed drawn right inside Borel in the 8 slot so makes me wonder what the instructions will be?
We Miss Artie is dangerous in here coming from synthetic and turf and I like the turf to dirt angle here again. His run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile looks better on the screen than it does on paper and if he transfers his latest works to the track, watch out! He’s got the class and is already a grade one stakes winner. General a Rod is super speedy and scrappy. He’s got no fear of duking it out at the end in stretch battles. Based on his pedigree he should stretch out nicely and will be one tough customer.
I also want to mention Casiguapo, whom I’ve been waiting and hoping would run well soon. He failed to run up to his 2 year-old level with a nonthreatening 5th in an allowance last out on February 2nd. His trainer Mario Morales blamed firt-time blinkers for the run. He goes blinks-off Saturday from post #6 and gets Jose Lezcano in the irons. I hope he can hit the board. So my top picks for this race are #8 to win with #2,#5,#6 to finish it up in any order.
Good luck to all in the 2014 Besilu Stables Fountain Of Youth and safe ride!
Besilu Stables Fountain Of Youth Stakes 2014 Post Positions & Odds
1. Commissioner 3/1 J.Velazquez/T.Pletcher
2. We Miss Artie 8/1 J.Bravo/T.Pletcher
3. Medal Count 15/1 J.Rocco Jr./D.Romans
4. Wildcat Red 6/1 L.Saez/J.Garoffalo
5. General a Rod 5/1 J.Castellano/M.Maker
6. Casiguapo* 30/1 J.Lezcano/M.Morales
7. C.Zee 12/1 E.Zayas/S.Gold
8. Almost Famous 10/1 C.Borel/P.Byrne
9. Best Plan Yet 20/1 P.Lopez/S.Gold
10. Our Caravan 30/1 C.Lanerie/M.Dilger
11. Hesinfront 20/1 A.Jaen/D.Romans
12. Top Billing 7/2 J.Rosario/C.McGaughey III
13. East Hall 20/1 J.Leyva/W.Kaplan
*Casiguapo – Blinkers off