The Fountain Of Youth Stakes (KYD) (Grade 2)- $400.000 Purse
GP- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
March 3, 2017
This Saturday, we will have a full field of twelve going to the gate for the Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth. This is a prestigious race to win, and not only for the 50 KYD points which are available for the race winner. It’s the fifteenth time the race has been run, and last year we saw Made To Sin take home the trophy for John Henry. He hasn’t won since, but that does buck the trend of how other past winners of the race have fared. 2006 winner Dark Crown finished first or second in all three of the TC races later that year. As well as winning the Haskell, then the Travers, and eventually, the BC Classic as part of an amazing career, overall, that he would have. 2014 winner Niagra didn’t win any of the TC races, but had a great three year old season that ended in winning the BC Classic. Most of the past winners have seen their careers fall somewhere in between these two extremes. Now, let’s take a run through the field.
#1- Walkin Broomstick (Smokey Stover, ridden by R J Albarado)- After a couple of strong runs that were against countrymates, this ON-bred would head to the Grade 3 Lewis Stakes last month at SA, and would lead for a while before being unable to hold off the challenges of most of his rivals in the stretch. Prior to that, he had success running more in the middle of the pack then on the lead, so it is probable that we are not going to see him be as aggressive early here. His post could also be blamed in that race too, and he will not be able to use that as an excuse for this race. Everything is good about the work times, so no reason to think he can’t contend.
#2- Lucky Phooey (LionKing Stables, ridden by J R Leparoux)- Nice to see my last, and likely final, KYD runner producing a foal that is on the prep race circuit. He’s probably a longshot here, but he has my support anyway! Lucky Phooey has as many career wins as Phooeys Ideal in his career (I say that in a ‘pick on myself’ tone, so don’t take offense), but came on strong in the Lewis Stakes last month, blowing by Walkin Broomstick and others to finish third in that race. He’s trending upward, which is good to see.
#3- Blindfold (Mb Stables, ridden by J Talamo)- The trainer looks to prove to everyone that he can win a major race with just one horse in the field, and to show that if ridiculous entry rules ever were made in races like this, he’d still have a formidable entry. That’s exactly what Blindfold is in this field, having won three out of four including an impressive looking victory last month in the Grade 2 Holy Bull, where he topped the likes of Gumshoe and Mistress Seeker along the way. He can get it done regardless of tactic, it appears. He’ll do it with a new jockey, though, as J Talamo gets the call here over regular rider P Lopez.
#4- Broken Tap (Barcelona Farms, ridden by D Van Dyke)- This talented FL-bred spent much of his two year old season running in the FL Sire Stakes races, which are always tough to win, and he had a high level of success in them. The Fager saw him run second, and do so to Edge of Chai, a top two year old who “may” be leveling off now. He was then second in the Affirmed, to No Chill, who is also very active on the TC trail, running last week in the Southwest and having some traffic issues. In the In Reality, he picked up the win, turning the tables on No Chill. Ran second in the Lecomte in January, which is his last start. This is a very important race for him here.
#5- Lane Frost (Sanny Village, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- After showing promise as a two year old, and winning the $100.000 Kittens Joy in January, Sanny Village opened up his wallet in showing his belief in Lane Frost’s potential, as he paid $210.000 to attain him. Three weeks ago, he hit the track for the first time in his new silks, and was flying in the stretch to get up for second in the Grade 3 Davis Stakes at TAM. As I look back at the recap of that race, I reminded how impressed I was at that charge, which was also done to the far outside. I am pretty confident that Sanny will take information that he learned there, and make Lane Frost better here, and with that, he’s my pick to win this race.
#6- Badge (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by L H Colon)- This colt looks to make his sire proud and win the Fountain Of Youth, just like he did. If so, it would probably be done as a longshot. Badge has run well in this career, and has three second place finishes in three ungraded stakes, with the main one being his last effort, the Smarty Jones. He’s only won once, though, and he looks like he is going to have to get a little better to have a shot here. It’s been almost two full months, so there has been time for that to happen. Take a shot if the odds climb.
#7- Bandito (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by J J Castellano)- After breaking his maiden in his 6th start, by annihilating a field at GG, Bandito followed it up nicely with a win in the $100.000 Display Stakes at WO. That potential is what put him on the TC trail, but so far he has struggled to get a positive result. At the Grade 3 Jerome on New Years Day, he was a complete non-factor, but he was able to show some improvement and collect a 4th place check at the Grade 3 Withers. He was never a threat to winner, Dream Controlled, however. He loves to come from behind, and in some cases, way behind.
#8- Denomination (Fractious, ridden by R Bejarano)- Last month, Denomination ran in the seven furlong San Vicente, and finished second, to a horse named Jerry Bien, who is a pretty impressive contender that is emerging in this division. Denomination did his best work coming from off the pace, and had a good ride in the stretch that day. He didn’t win, but showed a lit of heart in getting up for second. I have a lot of confidence now as he stretches out over a mile for the first time, and think he’s going to like it. I find him very appealing in this field, and will not be surprised at all if he gets the win.
#9- Mistress Seeker (Aer Stables, ridden by F Pennington)- After finishing sixth in the BC Juvenile, Mistress Seeker has struggled to get a good finish. There could be reasons for that, but when the last three results are: 8th, 8th, and 7th, and beaten a combined eleven lengths, its pretty clear that this horse also seeks a jolt back in the right direction. I wish I could see a more recent public mile work, to see if he is improving in the morning, or if his career is starting to stagnate. The potential is there, and he cannot be ruled out, but on current form, you kind of have to look elsewhere.
#10- Tallmadge (Oquinn Farm, ridden by J R Velazquez)- The trainer paid a big price for this colt, picking him up for $200.000 from Sccj Stables in November. Eleven days after the sale, Tallmadge stepped up and was sharp in the DED Jackpot, finishing third. That’s a race that represented his first graded opportunity. After about two months of rest, he was unable to follow that up in the Smarty Jones at OP, being a non-factor and finishing 7th. It’s been six weeks, and the trainer has a lot on the line with this one, he has to have improved since the Smarty Jones to have a shot here.
#11- Performance Artist (Estero Farms, ridden by J K Court)- This Stars And Bars gelding takes on graded company for the first time, but that really is just a technicality. He comes out of the Smarty Jones as well, and ran a respectable third, only a length behind Badge. That was his first race for trainer Estero Farms, who bought him in private sales in December for $150.000. He has already been the subject of three private sales transactions, so hopefully he has finally found a home now.
#12- Lafsim (Alydar Stables, ridden by A A Gallardo)- Starting on the outside where it is always difficult to win, we have a recent addition to Alydar Stables. Almost immediately after finishing second in an optional claimer last month, he was acquired from Gdp Inc for $90.000. This is his first race since then, and it’s a step up. There’s a couple third place runs in small ungraded stakes, but nothing more, and he’s never gone more then six furlongs. Unfortunately, if that was not enough of an obstacle, it’s become very tough to win from this post as of late.