Black Rock Thoroughbreds LLP’s Violence
, who ranks high among trainer
Todd Pletcher’s arsenal of 3-year-old Kentucky Derby (G1) and Triple
Crown prospects, takes his first steps on the ‘Derby Trail’ as the
favorite in Saturday’s $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes
(G2) at Gulfstream Park.
The Fountain of Youth is worth a total of 85 points in the ‘Road to
the Kentucky Derby Point Standings’ with 50 points to the winner, 20 to
second, 10 to third and five for fourth.
Violence drew post No. 3 and was made the 9-5 favorite.
Regular jockey Javier Castellano will be back aboard Violence facing
10 rivals in the historic 1 1/16 miles test as they team up for the
first time since they won the $750,000 CashCall Futurity (G1) at
Hollywood Park by 1 ½ lengths on Dec. 15. A $600,000 Keeneland September
yearling purchase by Medaglia d’Oro, Violence won both of his previous
starts in New York, including the Nashua Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct on Nov.
“We got him back here to Palm Meadows right after the CashCall,”
said Pletcher recently. “He’s done really well so far and everything has
gone according to plan while we’ve focused on getting him ready for the
Fountain of Youth. The main thing in choosing to run him in the
CashCall was the timing and the fact that Hollywood, although it is a
synthetic track, plays more like dirt than any of the other synthetics.”
As far as strategy in the Fountain of Youth, Pletcher said, “He’s
very tractable and can keep close to the pace if he needs to. He’s very
versatile. We’ll see how it plays out with Majestic Hussar (possibly on
lead) and how fast he goes, but he (Violence) won’t let anybody sneak
away from him too far.”
While Violence is expected to be a clear favorite in the Besilu
Stables Fountain of Youth, which horses fall in next in the wagering
appears wide-open between other top contenders, including Hardaway
Stable’s Speak Logistics; Newtown Anner Stud and partners’ Falling Sky,
Racing LLC’s He’s Had Enough, and Team Valor International’s Cerro.
Speak Logistics (12-1) is the ‘other’ 3-year-old in trainer Eddie
Plesa Jr.’s barn this season as he has Trilogy Stable and his wife
Laurie’s Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull Stakes (G3) winner
Itsmyluckyday sitting this race out while preparing for his next start
in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) here on March 30. Jockey Joel
Rosario gets aboard Speak Logistics for the first time in the Fountain
A $62,000 OBS April 2-year-old purchase by High Cotton, Speak
Logistics has solid credentials of his own as he won the $300,000 In
Reality Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder in October
before a seventh-place finish in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
(G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, although beaten only 5 ¾ lengths for it
all by Shanghai Bobby.
In one race since then, Speak Logistics finished fourth in the Sam
Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 2. “He got shut off as he
was making his move on the inside in the upper stretch. I thought he was
going to get right on through, but it closed up on him. The timing is
right for this to be his next race. We gave him five weeks on a farm in
Ocala after the Breeders’ Cup.”
Falling Sky (6-1) won the Sam Davis by a hard-fought neck in a
wire-to-wire performance after a 1 ¼ lengths allowance score going 6 ½
furlongs at Gulfstream in his previous start on Dec. 15. The son of Lion
Heart had made two previous starts, winning his debut at Churchill
Downs by four lengths on Nov. 1 and finishing fourth in the Inaugural
Stakes at Tampa Bay on Dec. 1. Jockey Jose Espinoza is named to ride
from Post Position 10.
Jockey Mario Guiterrez will be on hand from California to ride He’s
Had Enough (8-1) if he comes to South Florida for the Fountain of Youth
for trainer Doug O’Neill, who also has him entered in Saturday’s
$400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
After both races were drawn Monday, O’Neill said, “We drew post nine
in the Fountain of Youth and 12 of 15 in the Risen Star,” said O’Neill.
“Mr (Paul) Reddam is in a meeting at the moment and we’ll discuss it,
but I’d say we’re leaning toward the Fountain of Youth.”
He’s Had Enough, a roan/gray son of Tapit, finished a game second by
a head behind Shanghai Bobby as a 20-to-1 longshot in the Breeders’ Cup
Juvenile, but has disappointed in two starts since when fifth behind
Violence in the CashCall Futurity and third in the Robert B. Lewis
Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita on Feb. 2.
Jockey Joe Rocco, Jr. rides Cerro (4-1) as he turns back in distance
from an ‘a other than’ allowance victory over the track at 1 1/8 miles
on Jan. 26. The Irish-bred son of Mr. Greeley is trained by Graham
Motion and won his only start as a 2-year-old in Italy before four
starts in the U.S., beginning with a sixth-place try in the Pilgrim
Stakes (G3) on turf at Belmont Park in October.
Two other contenders to watch getting a test in the Fountain of
Youth to earn a place on the ‘Derby Trail’ are Stuart Janney III and
Phipps Stable’s Kentucky homebred Orb (12-1) with jockey John Velazquez
to ride for trainer Shug McGaughey and Joseph Witek’s Majestic Hussar
(6-1) and jockey Luis Saez in the saddle for trainer Eddie Kenneally.
Orb makes his stakes debut after a one-length ‘a other than’
allowance victory going 1 1/8 miles over the track on Jan. 26 after four
starts in New York as a 2-year-old. The son of Malibu Moon finished
third and fourth twice until a two-length maiden special score at
Aqueduct going a mile on Nov. 24 before his Gulfstream victory.
Majestic Hussar makes his first start around two turns to see if he
stays after a pair for very good sprint races at the meet. The Kentucky
homebred by Majestic Warrior won his debut at Saratoga last summer and
finished seventh in the Hopeful Stakes (G2). He came back with a good
second to Falling Sky in a Dec. 15 allowance here and followed with a 2 ½
lengths allowance tally over favored Palace Malice on Jan. 19.
Completing the field for the Fountain of Youth are Shadwell Stable’s
Elmutahid (20-1), Joe Bravo; John Oxley’s Sky Captain (10-1), Patrick
Husbands; Rose Family Stable’s Joshua’s Comprise (30-1), Edgar Prado;
and Rosa Stephany Taveras’ Sr. Quisqueyano (30-1), Carlos Olivero.