LaPenta and Jacks or Better Farm’s Jackson Bend and Kingfield Stable’s Buddy’s
Saint rank high on most lists of leading Kentucky Derby (G1) prospects
currently and will meet for the first time in Saturday’s $250,000 Fasig-Tipton
Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park in the deepest field of
3-year-olds assembled anywhere in the nation at this point in the season.
edition of the Fountain of Youth at 1 1/8 miles will headline an outstanding
afternoon of racing at Gulfstream that also will include renewals of the
$150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs, $150,000
Canadian Turf Stakes (G3) for older horses at one mile on turf and the $100,000
Honey Fox Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares at one mile on turf.
Jeremy Rose gets a return call on Jackson Bend for trainer Nick Zito in the
Fountain of Youth after a good showing when they teamed up to finish a game
second in the one-mile Holy Bull Stakes (G3) on Jan. 23. The race marked his
first start of the season following a majority interest purchase by LaPenta
Bend is a chestnut colt by Hear No Evil bred in Florida
by Fred Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm. He was the leading 2-year-old developed
and raced at Calder last year winning five straight after a runner-up debut for
trainer Stanley Gold. The year was topped-off with a dramatic 2 ¾ lengths
victory in the $400,000 In Reality Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes
going 1 1/16 miles after stumbling and nearly losing his rider at the start.
Jackson Bend has a race over the track under his belt, Buddy’s Saint will be
making his first appearance since an impressive 4 ¾ lengths victory in the
nine-furlong Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct on Nov. 28 for trainer Bruce
Levine. Jockey Jose Lezcano rode the Saint Liam colt in all three of his
juvenile starts and retains the mount
Saint was a $100,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase who finished first
by a head in his career debut on Sept. 26 at Belmont
going 6 ½ furlongs after ultimately being disqualified to second. Levine jumped
him up to make his second start in the one-mile Nashua Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct
on Nov. 7 while still technically a maiden. He responded with a 12-length romp,
three weeks prior to the Remsen.
Jackson Bend and Buddy’s Saint will likely attract the most support in the
field of 10, there will also be backers for Flying Zee Stable’s Pulsion, Mike
Smith; and trainer Todd Pletcher’s duo of Zayat Stable’s Eskendereya, John. R.
Velazquez; and Dogwood Farm’s Aikenite, Alan Garcia
also will be making his first appearance of the year for trainer Patrick
Biancone. The $250,000 OBS March 2-year-old purchase was last seen finishing
11th of 13 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 7 with a
very rough trip in the first turn.
established his credentials finishing a game second in the Norfolk Stakes (G1)
at Santa Anita the month before behind Lookin at Lucky. Pulsion was to have had
an allowance tune-up for the Fountain of Youth last month, but was scratched
with a slight cough. He has posted several sharp workouts since then, including
five-eighths in 59 3/5 over the track Tuesday morning.
is a $250,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Giant’s Causeway who
looked good winning a one-mile allowance test over the track going wire-to-wire
on Jan. 7 in his first outing since finishing ninth in the Breeders’ Cup
Juvenile. He had won the ‘off the turf’ Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont
in October going a mile by 7 ¼ lengths in his previous start.
has plenty of stakes experience, finishing third in the Hopeful (G1) at
Saratoga, second in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland and a good fifth
in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, beaten only 2 ½ lengths. However, the $225,000
OBS February 2-year-old purchase by Yes It’s True will look to improve on a
rather dull sixth-place try in the Holy Bull behind Winslow Homer and Jackson
LaPenta also will be represented by Ice Box to be ridden by Joe Bravo. The
$125,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Pulpit won a hard-fought
victory in an allowance on Jan. 18 after breaking his maiden going two turns at
the Meadowlands on Oct. 30 after three tries in one-turn races at Saratoga and
the field for the Fountain of Youth are Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Pleasant Prince,
Julien Leparoux; Casa Farm’s Prince William I Am, Paco Lopez; Kisber Dark Horse
Stable’s Positive Split, Edgar Prado; and Michael Bruder and Frank Jones, Jr.’s
Lost Aptitude, Rajiv Maragh.