OTB Race Previews & Odds
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The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues with the 2020 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The first four home earn points on a 50-20-10-5 basis, and the 50 points earned by the winner should ensure they get a start in the Kentucky Derby.
Dennis' Moment (Albaugh Family Stables LLC) and Chance It (Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC) are prominent on the list of nominations for the $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park Saturday, Feb. 29.
The 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth Stakes, a key prep for the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) March 28, will highlight a program featuring eight other graded stakes, including the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Mile (G2), $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) and $200,000 Mac Diarmida (G2).
** Odds to be posted after draw **
Trained by Dale Romans, Dennis' Moment rebounded from an eventful debut, in which he clipped heels and unseated his jockey, with a spectacular 19 ¼-length victory at Ellis Park last July. He came right back to capture the Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs in September. Favored at 4-5 for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita Nov. 1, Dennis' Moment stumbled badly at the start and was never a factor.
The Romans-trained Attachment Rate, a dominating 6 ¼-length maiden winner at Gulfstream for owners Jim Bakke and Gerry Isbister has also been nominated to the Fountain of Youth.
Chance It, who made a victorious 3-year-old debut in the Jan. 4 Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream, is also on the list of high-profile nominees. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained colt, who battled back in deep stretch to win the one-turn mile Mucho Macho Man, was the hero of the 2019 Florida Sire Stakes Series, in which he won the $400,000 In Reality at the 1 1/16-mile distance of the Fountain of Youth.
Jeff Drown and Don Rachel's Structor, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner, is also on the list of nominees for the 74th running of the Fountain of Youth. Trained by Chad Brown, Structor was undefeated in three starts last year, following up a debut victory at Saratoga and a triumph in the Pilgrim (G3) at Belmont with a fast-closing win in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita Nov. 1. The son of Palace Malice, who has not run on dirt, closed from 11th on the turn into the homestretch to score by three-quarters of a length in the Juvenile Turf.
Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Pantofel Stable and Howling Pigeon Farms LLC's Shotski, who captured the 1 1/8-mile Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct in his 2019 finale, was nominated by trainer Jeremiah O'Dwyer. The son of Blame set the pace before finishing second in the Withers (G3) at Aqueduct in his 3-year-old debut Feb. 1.
Colts Neck Stables LLC's Big City Bob is a Fountain of Youth nominee who finished third behind victorious Tiz the Law in the Champagne (G1) at Belmont after capturing the Sapling at Monmouth Park. The son of Shanghai Bobby is trained by Jorge Duarte Jr.
Trainer Patrick Biancone is represented by Sole Volante and Ete Indien on the list of nominations. Owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Andie Biancone and Limelight Stables Corp., Sole Volante captured the Feb. 8 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs after finishing third in the Mucho Macho Man. Linda Shanahan and partners' Ete Indien set the pace in the Feb. 1 Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream before finishing second behind Tiz the Law.
Screen Door Stables LLC's As Seen On Tv, who finished a head behind Chance It in the Mucho Macho Man, is also nominated to the Fountain of Youth. The Kelly Breen-trained son of Lookin At Lucky captured the Juvenile Sprint for Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park in his previous start.
A trio of Todd Pletcher-trained recent maiden winners, Palm Springs, Candy Tycoon and Texas Swing are on the list of Fountain of Youth nominees.
FEB 13 - Grade 2-winning 3-year-old Shotski (Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Pantofel Stable and Howling Pigeon Farms), second in his sophomore debut earlier this month, may take his next steps on the Triple Crown trail in South Florida.
Trainer Jerry O'Dwyer, based at Laurel Park in Maryland, said the connections are taking a look at the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) Saturday, Feb. 29 at Gulfstream Park for Shotski's next start.
"For now we're still on the [Triple Crown] trail, trying to get points and see where we go," O'Dwyer said. "I'll have to discuss it with the owners, but [for] the next step we might go down for the Fountain of Youth. He's bright-eyed here in his stall. I gave him two days off after the [last] race and brought him back to the track. He's been a handful just walking around the shedrow, just feeling good."
A bay son of Blame out of the Bluegrass Cat mare She Cat, his sire and grandsire both Grade 1-winning millionaires, Shotski was a front-running half-length winner of the 1 1/8-mile Remsen (G2) in his juvenile finale Dec. 7. He returned to Aqueduct for to launch his 3-year-old campaign in the Feb. 1 Withers (G3), also at nine furlongs, where he led from the gate into deep stretch before yielding late and finishing 3 ¼ lengths behind winner Max Player.
"I was very happy. Obviously in the moment you're disappointed you didn't win, but looking back at it I wasn't disappointed in him at all," O'Dwyer said. "He went out there on the front end and hadn't run in like seven weeks, and they pressured him the whole way. He never really got a breather or an easy time like the last time when he won the Remsen.
"I thought we were going to be able to sit in behind this time, which I would have liked to have seen, but when he got out there he was off a little bit tardy and [jockey] Luis [Saez] just wanted to push him forward into a prominent position," he added. "He kind of just locked on for a few strides going into that first bend. Luis said he opted to just let him go on up there instead of trying to choke him down and take him back. Every time a horse came to him, he fought on and put every one of them away. I'm very proud of him. We have not lost any faith in the horse at all."
O'Dwyer said course layout is a factor in determining Shotski's next start. The Fountain of Youth is run at 1 1/16 miles, while New York's next points race for 3-year-olds is the one-mile Gotham (G3) March 7.
"We have him going two turns now. The Fountain of Youth is two turns, so that's kind of swaying us to go down and keep him going two turns instead of dropping back to a one-turn mile in the Gotham," O'Dwyer said. "I do think I'd like to get him off the Aqueduct surface right now, because it's very testing and tiring and I don't want to bottom him. It's going to be a long year ahead."
The Fountain of Youth is Gulfstream's final prep for the $1 million Florida Derby (G1), contested at 1 1/8 miles Saturday, March 28.
FEB 10 - Chance It (Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC) breezed five furlongs Sunday morning at Gulfstream Park, where the 3-year-old son of Currency Swap is slated to run in the $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) on Saturday, February 29.
The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Chance It worked in company with stakes-winner Captain D. and was timed in 59.74 seconds for his third workout since capturing the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream January 29. The clocking was the third fastest of 43 recorded at the distance.
"It was a good work. I'm happy with where we're at," Joseph said. "He'll have two more works and we should be ready to go in the Fountain of Youth.Chance It, the hero of the 2019 Florida Sire Stakes series, made an impressive 3-year-old debut in the Mucho Macho Man, in which he rated off the pace before taking the lead in the stretch and fighting back to win by a head after being headed by As Seen On Tv in deep stretch.
Sole Volante, who finished third, went on to win the $200,000 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Saturday. Smash Factor, who defeated Chance It in their respective debuts in June but finished far back in the Mucho Macho Man, won a stakes-quality allowance at Gulfstream last week.
"The true test for any race comes in four or five weeks when you see how the form works out. Smash Factor came back to win and Sol Volante won [Saturday] at Tampa. To beat those horses off a layoff was impressive," Joseph said.
Chance It bounced back from his second-place finish in his June debut to turn in a brilliant 9 1/4-length triumph at Gulfstream. He came right back to capture the $100,000 FSS Dr. Fager before finishing second in the $200,000 FSS Affirmed and winning the $400,000 FSS In Reality by 7 1/4 lengths to close out a highly productive 2-year-old campaign. The In Reality was contested at the 1 1/16-mile distance of the Fountain of Youth.
FEB 10 - Dennis' Moment (Albaugh Family Stables LLC) breezed five furlongs in 1:00.22 at Gulfstream Park Saturday in preparation for a planned 2020 debut in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) Feb. 29.
The 3-year-old son of Tiznow produced the fourth fastest of 35 workouts recorded at the distance while breezing for the fifth time since arriving at Gulfstream Park.
"Everything went well, exactly what we were looking for," trainer Dale Romans said. "He hasn't missed a beat. His progression has been great."
Dennis' Moment, who ranks among the most highly regarded Triple Crown prospects, broke his maiden in spectacular fashion in his second career start July 27 at Ellis Park, scoring a 19 ¼-length triumph after running seven furlongs in 1:21.95. The Kentucky-bred colt came right back to win the Sept. 14 Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs by 1 ¾ lengths in his first start around two turns.
"He's just a good horse. He's only going to improve," Romans said.
Dennis' Moment, who lost his rider after clipping heels shortly after the start of his debut at Churchill Downs last June, lost all chance in the Nov. 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita when he stumbled badly at the start to close out his 2019 campaign.
Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister's Mr. Freeze, who finished second in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) presented by Runhappy Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park, returned to the worktab Saturday with a five-furlong leg-stretching breeze in 1:04.17.
"We haven't decided where we're going with him yet," Romans said.
The Fountain of Youth is a race for sophomores on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. It has been contested at 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream Park in South Florida each February since 1945. The race is named for the mythical spring that gave eternal youth to whomever drank from it. Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon searched unsuccessfully for the spring throughout Florida.
Famous horses to have won the race include Tim Tam, Kauai King, Spectacular Bid, Bet Twice, Forty Niner, Fly So Free, Thunder Gulch, Pulpit, Quality Road and recent Classic winners Union Rags and Orb.
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