Fountain of Youth Preview
The Fountain of Youth brings together a promising group of 13 aiming to get to the Kentucky Derby. The race was named for the mythical Florida spring that granted eternal youth but all of these runners and all online sports betting site players will try to grow up and get this winner.
Tim Tam, Kauai King and Spectacular Bid were the first 3 runners to win this race and also win the Kentucky Derby but Orb accomplished that feat last year
A Longshot With Some Value: Wildcat Red
He’s in good hands, his trainer has a ton of experience and this runner has a ton of speed. He will try to discourage the others that attempt to go on the front end.
The Pick: Commissioner (Win)
Wildcat Red will try to color this group too slow as he brings :45 and change speed to the party and will try to steal this race. Three of 5 so far, all sprints, he was taken down after finishing first once, and his only real beat was by a head but it came at the hands of arch rival next door General A Rod. His sire D’Wildcat won at a mile on grass, his dam did take on route and half brother Bootem won at a mile and 70 yards against non-winners of 2 claimers when extending the winning margin to nearly 6 lengths. Trainer Jose Garoffalo, who has been training this runner for distance with long gallops, has sent one horse out in the last 5 years going sprint to route in a Graded stakes. That runner, Yara, won by a neck at this track paying $131.
Almost Famous has natural speed and he was on the pace last time in the Holy Bull but tired at crunch time. In his prior start he hopped in the air but righted himself quickly to earn his second victory with a career best 86 Beyer. This guy’s millionaire dam was sprint only but she invented ways to win. Would expect this runner to settle this time for Calvin Borel and possibly getting a nice track and pounce trip. His tactical speed will at least give him a shot at getting the first run on the deep closers.
Top Billing is 2 for 3 and the loss came to the rail opponent by a neck locally at this very distance. Note he won last time with Joel Rosario up on the same day as the Holy Bull when he closed into slower splits after looping the field. The Holy Bull winner Cairo Prince earned a 95 Beyer to this runner’s 90 last time and he is a serious horse losing just once by a nose in the Grade 2 Remsen. This runner’s trainer, Shug McGaughey, is looking for that déjà vu feeling as his student Orb won the Fountain of Youth last year with an 83 Beyer and parlayed to glory in the Kentucky Derby. His trainer’s thoughts about the post and his preparation including Monday’s :50.40 drill at Payson Park, McGaughey: “It’s not like he’s going to be on the lead. Joel’s just going to have to get him over a bit going to the first turn. He had him a little wide to keep him out of the dirt when he won his last race. We overcame post 1 to win this race last year. I put him in company for the work to sort of get him in the game, he went an easy half-mile. I didn’t want to overcook him.” Post 12 at this distance this meet is 0 for 3 and their have only been 2 winners all meet from the 8 post and out. He still should be right there when the smoke clears.
Commissioner was rolling too late in his debut at the shore but he was game in the maiden breaker winning by a head and the show horse was over 22 lengths clear. His race over this track should only help as he was sitting in an ideal spot early and again proved his gameness going a sixteenth of a mile farther than this race is carded. The last race came back okay as the place horse took a $75,000 optional next out and the 7th finisher beat $35,000 claimers next out. The blood is there for this runner to thrive, as half brother Laugh Track was Grade 1 place, successful in a Grade 3 and an earner of over $550,000. His connections have been careful with him and that is just the sign of good guidance. His trainer Todd Pletcher offers his thoughts, Pletcher: “I think he’s progressed a lot from the summer. He’s an A.P. Indy and you don’t necessarily anticipate those horses being July 2-year-olds. He’s a horse that we’ve always felt would improve at longer distances.” The way he finished his last furlong makes him a major player last time. He got his last furlong in :11.92. The rail at this distance is no piece of cake this meet at only 2 for 34. He’s still the one to beat.