Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream
On Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 we have the $400,000 Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The Fountain of Youth (along with the Risen Star at Fair Grounds) marks the beginning of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series. This race will increase the amount of points it doles out for Kentucky Derby hopefuls. First place will get 50 points, 2nd will get 20 points, 3rd will get 10 points and 4th will receive 5 points. If you are unfamiliar with the Kentucky Derby Points System you can get all of that info here- 2014 Kentucky Derby Points System. Named after the mythical Florida legend of a spring that grants eternal youth, the Fountain of Youth Stakes was started in 1945. It has produced several stand-out horses in its time including Tim Tam, Kauai King, Forty Niner, Spectacular Bid, Thunder Gulch, Pulpit, Union Rags and last year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Orb. Needless to say, the Fountain of Youth should show us some real talent this year as well.
2014 Fountain of Youth
The Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes is the 11th race on the Gulfstream card for Saturday and will feature a field of 13 three year olds traveling 1 1/16 mile. The morning line favorite at 3/1 is Commissioner, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez. He recently won a $75k optional claiming at Gulfstream by a neck over Top Billing, who is also in this race. Top Billing, who is 7/2 on the ML, followed that 2nd place finish with a win in another $75k optional claimer a few weeks later, winning by 2 ¾ lengths. There is no doubt that these two will battle it out here, but I have some value plays that I feel are more likely to reel in the win here. My first choice is Wildcat Red at 6 to 1 on the morning line. Wildcat Red recently won the Grade 3 Hutcheson at Gulfstream by 4 ¾ lengths. Prior to that race, he ran a close second to General a Rod in the Gulfstream Park Derby, missing the win by a head. I expect to see these 2 fighting it out for the early front-end lead along with Almost Famous. I trust that Wildcat Red’s jockey, Luis Saez, will make the best call on whether or not to press on or stalk the pace and because of that I’m giving Wildcat Red the nod here. For a longshot, I like Almost Famous at 10 to 1 on the ML. Almost Famous will have Calvin Borel in the irons and has won at this distance in the past, gaining ground. He hasn’t shown us the speed to be the top contender here, but I believe he is improving and should be able to pull off an upset if the race unfolds to his advantage. Good luck everybody!
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