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Kentucky Derby 2019: Fountain of Youth Analysis

The Road to Kentucky Derby 2019 makes one stop this weekend, and it might be an important one. The Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park will be run on Saturday, March 2, and romping debut winner Hidden Scroll is the morning line favorite.


Kentucky Derby 2019 Points Race Analysis


Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) from Gulfstream Park (3-2-19)


GP 13 (G2 Fountain of Youth, 8.5f) #4 BOURBON WAR (10-1) gets pace to chase and exits a sharp optional claiming victory at this course/distance (150 Final Rating w/strong 32.0 Last Fraction). #8 Global Campaign (10-1) pressed the pace and kicked well clear in both of his local starts (137, 141 Final Rating). This is a tough spot for the promising, well bred son of Curlin. #7 Hidden Scroll (9-5) ran fast throughout in his local flat mile maiden romp in the slop (153 Final Rating). He looms a pace factor at the very least and this is a good two turn stakes test on dry land vs. quality competition. #5 Vekoma (7-2) won both of his starts last year including the Nashua (G3). He shows six works for this and figures to stalk the pace. #6 Signalman (9-2) ran well in all five starts last year including a trio of top three finishes in Kentucky Derby points races. He is hoping for contested early fractions and might be able to land a share. #1 Code of Honor (6-1) drew well and deserves another chance after a flat 4th in the Mucho Macho Man. He was a sharp debut winner at Saratoga last summer and overcame a bad start to finish a clear 2nd in the Champagne (G1) second time out. He is training well for this. THE PLAYS: #4 & #8 to win, Trifecta 1-4-5-7-8/1-4-5-7-8/6

Bourbon War Horse Racing Handicapping Past Performances 

Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven" Kentucky Derby 2019 Contenders (3-1-19)


(1) GAME WINNER (Candy Ride - Indyan Giving, by A. P. Indy)


Trainer (Bob Baffert) - Owner (Gary and Mary West)


Latest Workout: 6f from the gate in 1:13.60 (3/11) at Santa Anita Park on Feb. 25.


Comments: It has been a long time since we have seen Bob Baffert’s two-year-old champion. He went 4-for-4 as a juvenile including a trio of grade one victories (Del Mar Futurity, American Pharoah Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile). The BC Juvenile has been a productive race so far. Show finisher Signalman returned to take the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2). 5th place finisher Gunmetal Gray won the Sham Stakes (G3) in his next start, and 7th place finisher Mind Control won the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct on New Year’s Day. Well Defined finished 12th in the Juvenile and captured the Sam F. Davis (G3) on Feb. 9. He was not a next-out winner (5th in Mucho Macho Man Jan. 5) but did become the fourth Juvenile runner to win a points race. He has a strong pedigree, Derby-winning connections, class, running style versatility, and is in great shape as the current Derby points leader. He returned to the work tab Jan. 9 and is expected to have two Derby preps this year (San Felipe & SA Derby likely targets). The San Felipe is on March 9 at Santa Anita Park, and the Santa Anita Derby is on April 6.  


Derby Points (30)


(2) IMPROBABLE (City Zip - Rare Event, by A. P. Indy)


Latest Workout: 6f bullet in 1:12 (1/11) at Santa Anita Park on Feb. 25.


Trainer (Bob Baffert) - Owner (WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, SF Racing)


Comments: Bob Baffert’s unbeaten colt got better as distances increased in a trio of 2018 starts. In his final start as a 2-year-old, he was the strong favorite in the Lost Alamitos Futurity (G1) on Dec. 8, and he stalked the pace and won for fun from the inside post at a mile and a sixteenth. He really kicked it in high gear in late stretch in that race and seems to want more ground. Troubled Los Al Futurity show finisher Extra Hope was a next-out allowance winner on a wet track at Santa Anita Jan. 31. Los Al Futurity runner-up Mucho Gusto won the Robert Lewis Stakes (G3) on Feb. 2. The son of City Zip returned to the work tab Jan. 9 and the latest word is that he will take on his stablemate Game Winner in the San Felipe on March 9. Bob Baffert is known to change his mind when it comes to Derby preps, so we shall see if his two big Derby contenders face off on March 9 at Santa Anita.    


Derby Points (10)


(3) SIGNALMAN (General Quarters - Trip South, by Trippi)


Trainer (Ken McPeek) - Owner (Magdalena Racing)


Latest Workout: 5f in 1:01.75 (15/44) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 23.


Comments: This one racked up the Derby points as a juvenile with top three finishes in the Breeders’ Futurity (2nd), BC Juvenile (3rd), and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (1st). He sure was consistent last year and had his first published workout of 2019 on Jan. 26. He makes his 3-year-old bow in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 2. He has had five workouts this year (thru Feb. 23) and trainer Ken McPeek probably won’t have him fully cranked for his sophomore debut. I would like to see him finish up well and hit the board on Saturday while picking up a few more Derby points.


Derby Points (18)


 

(4) HIDDEN SCROLL (Hard Spun - Sheba Queen, by Empire Maker)


Trainer (William Mott) - Owner (Juddmonte Farms, Inc.)


Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.00 (1/3) at Payson Park on Feb. 22.


Comments: Could not have been more impressive in the fourth race at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Jan. 26. In that one mile maiden special weight affair for three-year-olds, he went straight to the front from the inside post under jockey Joel Rosario and he widened his advantage throughout.  He crossed the finish line at least fourteen lengths in front of his nearest rival High Amplitude (Chad Brown first timer), and he stopped the clock in a swift 1:34.82. He is bred to handle a route of ground and could be any kind of performer. His aforementioned debut was on a wet track and I want to see if he can run the same race on dry land. We will learn much more about him in the Fountain of Youth (G2) on March 2, and he is the morning line favorite.


 

(5) WIN WIN WIN (Hat Trick - Miss Smarty Pants, by Smarty Jones)


Trainer (Michael Trombetta) - Owner (Live Oak Plantation)


Latest Workout: 5f gate bullet in 59.20 (1/33) at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 24.


Comments: Lost for the first time after a bad start from the rail in the Heft Stakes at Laurel Park Dec. 29. He was clearly second best that day and talented winner Alwaysmining has now won three straight (2 stakes wins). Michael Trombetta’s improving colt shipped to Tampa Bay Downs and ran off the screen in the Pasco Stakes at seven panels after a slow start on Jan. 19, and he is now 3-for-4 with a 2nd in sprint races. He is targeting the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on March 9 and is training well for that engagement, and that will be his first try over a route of ground.  


(6) WAR OF WILL (War Front - Visions of Clarity, by Sadler’s Wells)


Trainer (Mark Casse) - Owner (Gary Barber)


Comments: There have been eleven Derby points races so far this year, and War of Will had two of the better looking victories in the Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2). He owns early-pressing versatility and used his speed to secure a nice spot from a difficult outside post in the Risen Star. Other than talented but immature Country House, there was not much talent behind him in those two stakes wins at Fair Grounds, and he did not run much faster than front running Rachel Alexandra (G2) winner Serengeti Empress. He is a solid early season Derby contender but I think better and faster horses will emerge in the coming weeks and months. Plus, the Fair Grounds road to the Kentucky Derby has not been productive over the years. He has already secured enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby.


Derby Points (60)


(7) COUNTRY HOUSE (Lookin At Lucky - Quake Lake, by War Chant)


Trainer (William Mott) - Owner (Shields and McFadden)


Comments: I like the progress he made in each of his four starts but he is still green. He was clearly second best to Kentucky Wildcat in his final juvenile start on 12-1-18, and that now injured foe returned to finish a good 2nd in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) on Feb. 9. In his sophomore debut at Gulfstream on Jan. 17, he overcame a terrible start and slow pace to win going away. In the Risen Star at Fair Grounds, he broke slow again and was all over the place in the stretch. He probably would have beaten War of Will if he broke better and was able to maintain a straight line in the lane, but he did well to finish 2nd despite making multiple mistakes. Look out if/when he puts it all together.


Derby Points (20)


(8) INSTAGRAND (Into Mischief - Assets of War, by Lawyer Ron)


Trainer (Jerry Hollendorfer) - Owner (OXO Equine LLC)


Latest Workout: 7f in 1:26.60 (2/2) at Santa Anita Park on Feb. 25.


Comments: He was untouchable in his first two dirt sprints last summer (both 10-length romps) including the Best Pal (G2) at Del Mar. The $1.2 million purchase has not started since 8-11-18 and that was a decision made by his owner. I am not sure how far he ultimately wants to go but he certainly showed a lot of promise as a juvenile. He was expected to make his first 3-year-old start in the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita on March 9, but will instead run in the Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct that same day. This was definitely the right move. He has not been seen in quite some time and the one turn mile in New York makes much more sense.


(9) ANOTHERTWISTAFATE (Scat Daddy - Imprecation, by First Defence)


Trainer (Blaine Wright) - Owner (Peter Redekop B. C. Ltd.)


Comments: He was excellent in the El Camino Real Derby and that victory earned him an automatic berth in the Preakness Stakes (G1). The $360k son of Scat Daddy has now won his last three all-weather routes by a combined sixteen lengths. He has a nice combination of speed and stamina and we will learn more when he tries conventional dirt in the Sunland Derby (G3) March 24.


(10) VEKOMA (Candy Ride - Mona de Momma, by Speightstown)


Trainer (George Weaver) - Owner (R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables)


Latest Workout: 5f bullet in 59.87 (1/6) at Palm Beach Downs on Feb. 23.


Comments: Showed excellent tactical speed and cruised home in both juvenile starts including a win in the Nashua (G3) at one mile Nov. 4. He was originally slated to go in the Remsen Stakes but got a break instead, and he returned to the work tab in Florida on Jan. 12. He has some route and sprint influences in his pedigree, and we will see how far he wants to go in the near future. He goes next in the Fountain of Youth, and we will learn much more about him in that event.    


 


(11) GUNMETAL GRAY (Exchange Rate - Classofsixtythree, by Include)


Trainer (Jerry Hollendorfer) - Owner (West Point Thoroughbreds and Jerry Hollendorfer)  


Latest Workout: 6f in 1:15.20 (14/23) at Santa Anita Park on March 1.


Comments: Has competed in four points races over a route of ground with a win in the Sham (G3) and runner-up finishes in the American Pharoah (G1) and Robert Lewis (G3). I thought that his Robert Lewis runner-up finish was his best race to date. He proved that he could handle a wet track that day and showed nice late interest over a speed favoring surface. I still think that he is a cut below the best at this stage but he does have some stamina and a decent late kick.


Derby Points (18)


THE NEXT NINE: (12) Code of Honor, (13) Dream Maker, (14) Extra Hope, (15) Roadster, (16) Bourbon War, (17) Mucho, (18) Spinoff, (19) Tacitus, (20) Mucho Gusto
 

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