Fountain of Youth March 4, 2023


The Sun Shines More Brightly in Florida
The draw took place this afternoon for the upcoming Fountain of Youth, which is the usual prep for the Florida Derby. A number of horses try the Kentucky Derby following the Florida Derby.

Here is the field:
1 is General Jim who's trained by Shug McGaughey III, Luis Sara has the call and given a 8-1 morning line

2 is Legacy Isle who's trained by Roman Crichton, the pilot is unknown at this time and given a 20-1 morning line
3 is Shadow Dragon who's trained by Bill Mott, Jose L. Ortiz has the call and given a 12-1 morning line
4 is Forte who's trained by Todd Pletcher, Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the call and given a 7-5 morning line
5 is II Miracolo who's trained by Antonio Sa o, the pilot is unknown at this time and given a 30-1 morning line
6 is Blazing Sevens who's trained by Chad Brown, Joel Rosario has the call and given a 7-2 morning line
7 is Mage who's trained by Gustavo Delgado, the pilot is currently unknown and given a 8-1 morning line
8 is Rocket Can who's trained by Bill Mott, the pilot is Junior Alvarado and given a 8-1 morning line
9 is Cyclone Mischief who's trained by Dale Romans, the pilot is unknown currently and given a 12-1 morning line
10 is Dangerous Ride who's trained by Carlos Davis, the pilot is currently unknown and given a 30-1 morning line

What are your thoughts and wagering plans for this race?
my thoughts on the FOY:

1-General Jim
coming into the race off a career high BRIS speed rating 91
didn’t beat much in that race only 5 runners
Saez rode him 5/6 starts 3 wins
will have pace to run into
should be used in 2nd and 3rd place

2-Legacy Isle
got trounced in the Holy Bull with Saez
goes back to Jaramillo who won 2 times on him - almost 3 times did cross the wire first but was DQ’d and placed 2nd on
4-2-1-0 at GP 1/1/2023
if allowed a easy lead could be tough to reel in

3-Shadow Dragon
Jose Ortiz/Mott
could clunk up to finish 3rd or 4th

Irat/Todd Pletcher
hasn’t raced in 120 days
has 3 G1’s under his belt
my thoughts are Todd doesn’t have him fully cranked for this race
will have fast fractions to close into
but they won’t empty the tank here so put on top cautiously

5-II Miracolo
someone has to finish last, he’s a great bet to be that horse

6-Blazing Sevens
hasn’t raced in 120 days
Rosario been total dog shit this meet
at best a 3rd or 4th place finish

quite an eye popping debut, won by 3 3/4
won with a 101 BRIS speed rating
set fast fractions :22.3 :45.5 1:10- 1:22.2
he’s the wild card here, will be on top on quite a few of my tickets

8-Rocket Can
Junior A/Mott
he’s coming off a win in the Holy Bull
I think will work out a great trip
3-2-1-0 at the distance
he’s my top pick

9-Cyclone Mischief
an in and outer
at best 4th place finish

10-Dangerous Ride
horse for the course 7-3-1-0 at GP
will be big odds
could fill out the super

my bets:
8-Rocket Can W/P
exacta key box: 8/1,2,4,7
triple: 8/1,2,4,7/1,2,4,7
triple: 1,2,4,7/8/1,2,4,7

good luck to those playing this race
Since 2008, only three Fountain of Youth winners lost ground in their previous start. Four Fountain of Youth favorites rewarded their backers with a victory, and five completed the trifecta. Ten of the last 14 winners were making their second start off the layoff, and all except one won or placed in that prep.
In the previous seven years, five Holy Bull winners or runners-up were successful in the Fountain of Youth.
This year’s Fountain of Youth has a nice mix of pacesetters, pace pressers and one-run closers, and no running style has been favored in previous editions.
Rocket Can, Shadow Dragon and General Jim fit the profiles of previous winners. However, I feel General Jim needs to take a step forward to be competitive with the top two but is worth including on your superfecta tickets.
Forte and Blazing Sevens are prepping for bigger and better. Both need Derby qualifying points, but they don’t have to win.
Fountain of Youth Stakes

Spectacular Bid, Tim Tam, Kauai King, Bet Twice, Forty Niner, Proud Truth, Thunder Gulch—you might assume any race with such an illustrious roster of winners is a Triple Crown race, or at least a Grade 1. In actuality this decorated list of champions belongs to the Fountain of Youth (G2), a historic Kentucky Derby prep race held at Gulfstream Park.

First run in 1945 and currently contested over 1 1/16 miles, the Fountain of Youth has been producing Derby contenders for generations. It was Calumet Farm’s Tim Tam who first put the race on the map by completing the Fountain of Youth/Kentucky Derby double in 1958, a feat subsequently replicated by Kauai King (1966), Spectacular Bid (1979), Thunder Gulch (1995), and Orb (2013).

Few Fountain of Youth winners have been more spectacular than Spectacular Bid. A Horse of the Year and Hall of Fame inductee, Spectacular Bid crushed his rivals by 8 1/2 lengths and stopped the timer in 1:41.20, just 0.20 off the stakes record set by Sensitive Prince in 1978.

Beaten Fountain of Youth runners have also enjoyed strong success in the Kentucky Derby, a testament to the quality of competition the race attracts. Derby winners Carry Back (1961), Forward Pass (1968), Dust Commander (1970), Cannonade (1974), Pleasant Colony (1981), Swale (1984), Unbridled (1990), and Go for Gin (1994) all came up short at Gulfstream before reaching the winner’s circle on the first Saturday in May.

The Fountain of Youth produced just one Kentucky Derby winner during the first two decades of the 21st century, though the race remained deeply relevant as a steppingstone toward the Triple Crown. Derby runners-up Ice Box (2010), Good Magic (2018), and Code of Honor (2019) all contested the Fountain of Youth, as did Preakness (G1) winner Shackleford and Belmont Stakes (G1) champions Jazil (2006) and Union Rags (2012).

As part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series the Fountain of Youth awards 50 Derby qualification points to the winner, essentially making the race a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Derby.

The 2023 Fountain of Youth takes place this Saturday over a distance of 1 1/16 miles. A field of 10 has been entered, led by early Kentucky Derby favorite Forte.

Let's take a horse-by-horse look at the field.

1) General Jim
Total 6 start(s) Wins: 3, Place: 0, Show: 2
Top Speed Rating: (97) when winning the Swale (G3) at Gulfstream.
Total Earnings: $231,533
Owner: Courtlandt FarmsBreeder: Fifth Avenue Bloodstock & Centerline Breeding
Trainer: Shug McGaughey
Jockey: Luis Saez
Sire: Into Mischief
Dam: Inspired by Grace
Color: Bay

Winner of the Swale (G3) sprinting seven furlongs over the Gulfstream dirt, General Jim has also proven his worth running long on turf, winning maiden and allowance contests. Two-turn dirt racing is unfamiliar territory for General Jim, but his pedigree suggests the configuration won’t be an issue, and the 97 Brisnet Speed rating he posted in the Swale indicates he's fast enough to challenge for a top-five finish in the Fountain of Youth.

2) Legacy Isle
Total 4 start(s) Wins: 2, Place: 1, Show: 0
Top Speed Rating: (90) when finishing second (disqualified from first) in the Mucho Macho Man S. at Gulfstream.
Total Earnings: $90,725
Owner: Daniel L. Walters, Dennis G. Smith, Anthony Smith, and Rohan Crichton
Breeder: Erv Woolsey and Ralph Kinder
Trainer: Rohan Crichton
Jockey: Emisael Jaramillo
Sire: Shackleford
Dam: Queenameina
Color: Dark bay/brown

Crossed the wire first in three straight one-turn races to start his career, but faltered when stretching out around two turns for the Holy Bull (G3) against tougher competition, weakening to finish fourth behind Fountain of Youth rivals Rocket Can and Shadow Dragon. He’ll need improvement to turn the tables on Saturday.

3) Shadow Dragon
Total 3 start(s) Wins: 1, Place: 1, Show: 0
Top Speed Rating: (93) when finishing second in the Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream.
Total Earnings: $92,050
Owner: Peachtree Stable
Breeder: AJ Suited
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Sire: Army Mule
Dam: Fire Assay
Color: Dark bay/brown

Ran a gutsy race in the Holy Bull (G3) over this track and distance last month, rallying from last place in a field of eight to finish second by three-quarters of a length. The son of Army Mule earned a powerful 108 Brisnet Late Pace rating (tied for the highest number in the Fountain of Youth field), and that effort marked Shadow Dragon’s first run off a three-month layoff. He’s only run three times and is eligible to move forward again in the Fountain of Youth, so don’t count this 12-1 longshot out of the mix.

4) Forte
Total 5 start(s) Wins: 4, Place: 0, Show: 0
Top Speed Rating: (101) when winning the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga.
Total Earnings: $1,595,150
Owner: Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable
Breeder: South Gate Farm
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Irad Ortiz
Sire: Violence
Dam: Queen Caroline
Color: Dark bay/brown

Last year’s champion two-year-old male wrapped up his juvenile season with consecutive victories in the Hopeful (G1), Breeders’ Futurity (G1), and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), along the way defeating accomplished Road to the Kentucky Derby competitors like Blazing Sevens, Instant Coffee, and Red Route One. With a pair of triple-digit Brisnet Speed ratings under his belt, Forte is hands-down the horse to beat while kicking off his three-year-old season in the Fountain of Youth.

5) Il MiracoloTotal
7 start(s) Wins: 1, Place: 3, Show: 0
Top Speed Rating: (85) when breaking his maiden at Gulfstream.
Total Earnings: $62,125
Owner: Alex Andres
Breeder: Willow Oaks Stable
Trainer: Antonio Sano
Jockey: Edgar Perez
Sire: Gun Runner
Dam: Tapit's World
Color: Chestnut

Finished first or second in each of his first four starts at Gulfstream Park, but he’s struggled since stepping into stakes competition over the same track, finishing seventh in the Mucho Macho Man S. and fifth in the Holy Bull (G3). Il Miracolo will need a step forward to turn things around on Saturday.

6) Blazing Sevens
Total 4 start(s) Wins: 2, Place: 0, Show: 1
Top Speed Rating: (94) when finishing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland.
Total Earnings: $468,750
Owner: Rodeo Creek Racing
Breeder: Tracy Farmer
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Sire: Good Magic
Dam: Trophy Girl
Color: Dark bay/brown

Last year’s Champagne (G1) winner compiled a productive two-year-old season, but finished behind Forte when third in the Hopeful (G1) and fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Blazing Sevens hasn’t run since November, but he’s turned in some quick workouts in preparation for his return, so there’s at least an outside chance he’s progressed enough over the winter to turn the tables on Forte.

7) Mage
Total 1 start(s) Wins: 1, Place: 0, Show: 0
Top Speed Rating: (101) when winning his debut at Gulfstream Park.
Total Earnings: $42,000
Owner: OGMA Investments, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing, and CMNWLTH
Breeder: Grandview Equine
Trainer: Gustavo Delgado
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Sire: Good Magic
Dam: Puca
Color: Chestnut

A wildcard in the Fountain of Youth field, Mage posted a 101 Brisnet Speed rating equal to Forte’s best when wiring his debut at Gulfstream Park by 3 3/4 lengths. But that contest was a seven-furlong maiden special weight, and Mage is stepping up significantly in class and distance for the Fountain of Youth, so repeating the 101 could be a challenge. On the bright side, Mage is bred to relish stretching out in distance. Don’t dismiss him from consideration.

8) Rocket Can
Total 5 start(s) Wins: 2, Place: 1, Show: 0
Top Speed Rating: (96) when breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs.
Total Earnings: $249,738
Owner: Frank Fletcher Racing Operations
Breeder: Woodford Thoroughbreds
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Junior Alvarado
Sire: Into Mischief
Dam: Tension
Color: Gray/roan

A midpack rally carried Rocket Can to victory in the Holy Bull (G3) over this track and distance last month. The son of four-time leading North American sire Into Mischief held tough down the homestretch to beat Shadow Dragon by three-quarters of a length. In terms of Brisnet Speed ratings, Rocket Can has run faster than Blazing Sevens, and his 106 and 108 Brisnet Late Pace ratings are also eye-catching. A top-four finish is within reach, even while facing tougher competition than in the Holy Bull.

9) Cyclone Mischief
Total 5 start(s)Wins: 2, Place: 0, Show: 1
Top Speed Rating: (99) when winning a Gulfstream allowance optional claimer.
Total Earnings: $114,950
Owner: Albaugh Family Stables and Castleton Lyons
Breeder: Castleton Lyons and Kilboy Estate
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
Sire: Into Mischief
Dam: Areyoucominghere
Color: Bay

Was favored to win the Holy Bull (G3) after defeating Rocket Can by 5 3/4 lengths in a one-mile allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream Park. However, Cyclone Mischief never fired and finished seventh. If you excuse that poor showing, Cyclone Mischief’s form lines look competitive. The 99 Brisnet Speed rating he posted when defeating Rocket Can indicates he’s good enough to challenge against graded stakes competition on his best day.

10) Dangerous Ride
Total 9 start(s) Wins: 3, Place: 1, Show: 0
Top Speed Rating: (88) when winning a Gulfstream allowance optional claimer.
Total Earnings: $154,832
Owner: Palm Beach Racing V
Breeder: Palm Beach Racing III
Trainer: Carlos David
Jockey: Miguel Vasquez
Sire: Lord Nelson
Dam: Ride a Wave
Color: Dark bay/brown

With seven stakes starts under his belt, Dangerous Ride is one of the most experienced horses in the Fountain of Youth field. He recently dropped in class to wire a seven-furlong allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream, but the 88 Brisnet Speed rating Dangerous Ride posted that day looks a little light against Saturday’s field.