The $400,000 Grade 2 – Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes will be a hotly contested Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race. This week’s article will be a bit shorter because I ran out of time, but I spent more time handicapping this race than any other Derby prep this season. A lot of this depends on how the Gulfstream Park track is running tomorrow and I can’t predict that, so I will just go with straight handicapping angles and hope I get this right.
I think there are two clear favorites as long as the track isn’t playing to a super speed favoring bias. Practical Joke trained by Chad Brown, ridden by Jose Ortiz will sit well off the pace and take one serious run for it late. He won the Champagne back in October at Belmont going a mile and then came back in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and ran a solid third at odds of nearly 8-1. What is a bit unusual for this one is the fact that this is his first start as a three year old and it’s March. He has taken a full four months off and most of these have been tuned up a bit prior to this. Even so, this horse is fast, Chad Brown is great with these moves (100% shipping from Santa Anita to Gulfstream). He is a solid 50% putting Jose Ortiz in the irons. He is my second choice for the win simply because of the conditioning factor
The other runner which is no surprise to be a top pick is Irish War Cry. Trained by the well known grass trainer Graham Motion. He will be ridden by top notch jockey Joel Rosario who when teaming up with Motion in the past year is 67%. He has never been beat, his pace numbers have improved with every start. His last race, the Grade 2 – Holy Bull was in my opinion one of the most impressive three year old debuts on the Derby trail this year. He was ridden out late and looked like a champ doing it. I can’t pick anyone else in this spot. Irish War Cry is the horse to beat. He is sired by Curlin and out of Irish Sovereign. He was bred and is owned by Isabelle de Tomaso and you can count on the fact she will be rooting for her horse at the furlong marker, he should be closing like a freight train.
Sorry boys – This race looks as chalky as chalky gets.
$25 WIN: #8
$15 EXACTA: #8 with #6
$5 EXACTA: #6 with #8