Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
Trainer Pat Byrne confirmed that Almost Famous
will make his next
start in the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at
Gulfstream Park on February 22.
Owned by Charles and Maribeth Sandford, the son of Unbridled's Song
finished a game fourth in his 2014 debut, the $400,000 Miller Lite Holy
Bull Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream on January 25. Almost Famous had been out
of action for nearly three months prior to the Holy Bull, and was
forwardly placed throughout before tiring a bit late. He was beaten just
over a length for second in the 8 1/2-furlong Holy Bull.
"He ran big in the Holy Bull," Byrne said. "We were really happy with
his race because he showed a lot of guts. He ran hard down the
backside, didn't catch a breather, and I didn't have him fully cranked
for the race."
Almost Famous, a $500,000 purchase as a
2-year-old in training, had a four-furlong breeze in 49 seconds at Palm
Meadows last Saturday.
"It was a maintenance work, a nice half-mile, and I'm really happy
with him," Byrne said. "We came out of the race in good shape, he looks
strong and we're hoping to move forward."
Almost Famous has been a pace factor in each of his four starts to
date, but Byrne believes his charge is amenable to different
"He doesn't have to be on the lead, he just found himself in that
position (in the Holy Bull)," Byrne commented. "He's ready to go and we
look forward to bringing him back and trying them again. Depending on
the pace scenario, he can sit off of it."
Jockey Calvin Borel, who has ridden a trio of Kentucky Derby winners, will be back in the saddle next Saturday.
"Calvin is coming back to ride him in the Fountain of Youth," Byrne
said. "He's a great rider and we're happy to have him back
The Fountain of Youth will offer Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a
50-20-10-5 basis. The mile-and-a-sixteenth event is expected to attract
Conquest Titan, the runner-up in the Holy Bull; highly regarded
allowance winners Commissioner and Top Billing; and Hutcheson Stakes
(G3) hero Wildcat Red.
"It will be a plenty salty race," Byrne said.