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Violence Best in Fountain of Youth Defeat

Yesterday’s Fountain of Youth Stakes was a thriller. We saw two horses run amazing races, both looking like very solid, potential Derby threats. Orb surprised me, as I was never a fan of his. He received a perfect pace set up, but at the end he was the horse that closed the best, and came running like a freight train. He deserves any accolades thrown his way, as does his trainer Shug McGaughey, and jockey Johnny Velasquez. But make no mistake, the best performance of the race was run by none other than Violence.
 
The very game runner-up of the Todd Pletcher barn sat just a couple lengths off a wicked fast pace. Around the turn he was asked to pick up the pace and confront the leader. With Cerro just to his outside, he made his assault on the lead. After six furlongs in 1.08.85, Violence was abreast the leader, and as they turned into the straight, he surged to a commanding lead. The story was set for the son of Medaglia D’Oro to become the Derby favorite with an outstanding first win back. But, it was not to be as Orb came at him, charging for the lead.
 
For a split second it looked like Orb would blow by Violence and win with room to spare. Violence, however caught sight of his foe and battled back, tough as nails, on the rail. He would only be beaten by half a length, in the first defeat of his four race career.
 
Despite the fact that Violence was the only horse left, from those near the pace, to run on, remember that this was only his first race back since December. Every other horse had made there seasonal bow already, many of them at this very track. Violence had never started over Gulfstream, was giving six pounds to most of his competitors, including Orb, and had a lack of race conditioning that his opponents didn’t.
 
Looking at those points, Violence’s effort was nothing short of exceptional. Even with a lack of conditioning he was the only horse from four who raced close to the pace to keep running. Even with a lack of conditioning, giving weight, and making a rapid move into a suicidal pace, he was still just beaten half a length. Cerro, who was coming off an impressive win over the Gulfstream track, moved with Violence when he made his bid for the lead, but Cerro wound up 6th, after making the same move.
 
When looking at all of the factors, one can only to one conclusion. While both horses ran incredible races, Violence ran the best. He had every reason to fold, and yet he kept running. Even when passed, he reengaged and refused to stop. Violence loses nothing in defeat; in fact he most likely ran the best race of his career yesterday. I expect him to only move forward off of this race and to reinforce my belief that he is one of the top Derby contenders on the trail.
 

 

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Older Comments about Violence Best in Fountain of Youth Defeat...

I cannot disagree with you on the strength of Violence's performance, but I will argue that his performance was not clearly better than the winner ... I think both colts ran big.
  • AnneShaw · Does anyone have any idea at what point the poor guy broke his leg? I thought he was amazing and even more so once I knew he was badly hurt. · 500 days ago
Mike, I believe the more you race/train while young the better the horse will handle racing down the road. There is no subsitute for the real thing, never. I get some horses run better off more rest, however not all are like that. I don't think that was the case of Violence's injury, meaning lack of conditioning. I think it was partially, but i also think the track and the pace had more to do with it. A horse who is lightly raced going 6f 1.08 in Feb is simply way way way too fast. Pletcher could not have forseen a pace that quick, nobody could. The only person who could have done anything at that point was the jockey, by keeping his colt farther off that pace, knowing it way too fast.
Mike in SB, I believe (someone please correct me if I am wrong) that every Triple Crown winner with the exception of Sir Barton began his three year old season in a sprint and stretched out in distance from there. Not sure why trainers have gotten away from this, and also from using well placed allowance races to bring their horses into form?
It is interesting that you said Violence might have had a lack of conditioning as a result of not racing since December, and personally I agree with you. But many of todays trainers, including Todd Pletcher, would disagree. They want as much time between races as possible. Pletcher said the reason he is running Verrazano in the Tampa Bay Derby is because it is the greatest time between races. And Shanghai Bobby, if he gets the points, will have 5 weeks between the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby. When I started following racing back in the 1980's, trainers believed in prep races and many would have run Violence in a 7 furlong Allowance race 2 weeks before the Fountain of Youth. I am not saying Violence was injured because of a lack of fitness and maybe horses running on Lasix do need longer times between races, but all the early retirements and injuries of top horses in recent years makes me wonder if maybe the old time trainers had a better way of doing things.
As a relative newcomer to US racing I cannot understand the apparent neglect of weight here when assessing performance. Violence was carrying 6lb more than Orb but was beaten half a length. Surely at level weights Violence would have prevailed relatively easily ?
  • marylandgq · I agree "Pat". It amazes me how ignorant my fellow Americans are to "wgt shifts", but it doesn't keep me up at night when I'm profitting from it. · 501 days ago
  • icyhotboo · @marylandgq, show me a tax return listing your occupation solely as a "professional gambler" and I'll give you some credibility. Until then this fel…read morelow American will regard you for what you are, simply another tout who can't pick winners and must sell losers to make ends meet. · 501 days ago
"marylandgq · I agree "Pat". It amazes me how ignorant my fellow Americans are to "wgt shifts", but it doesn't keep me up at night when I'm profitting from it." @marylandgq, show me a tax return listing your occupation solely as a "professional gambler" and I'll give you some credibility. Until then this fellow American will regard you for what you are, simply another tout who can't pick winners and must sell losers to make ends meet.
Again, LAL, the rankings are fan based.I could just about tell you that while ISAN is atop the point standings he will not get any respect at all. Orb, however might. He has now run three good races in a row and will get some notice after yesterday.
the top 2 points leaders are not even in the top 50 hopefully that changes tomorrow.
Weight could have played a role, but i think the main culprits were the pace and the conditioning. He was also moved very early. This is not a horse who establishes a clear lead before the stretch. He likes to see his competition, he has shown that once he makes the lead he will wait on horses. In this race he already had daylight between him and the field. Once Orb came up again you could see him put his head down and come on again. All in all, I'd say fast pace, early move, and conditioning were the main reasons for yesterday's beat.
Excuses, excuses. Orb was the most impressive of the Derby contenders on the day.
I agree with Laura!
thanks deadheat im new to this site. they should weed out injured horses that havent worked in 60 or more days and let in horses that have the points!!!
Not necessarily, Shirley.
Not saying both didn't run a good race. Just feel Violence had the better. Lookinatlucky, the rankings are fan based. Fans rank the horses on a scale of 1-10 and that determines where they are in the rankings.
i agree with you brian on they both ran well. how can you update the top 50 contenders 25 of them arent even contenders for real

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