Fountain of Youth and Hutcheson -- Tale of Two Pace Scenarios

Welcome back!  Let's rate this weekend's featured Derby preps.


In the Fountain of Youth, To Honor and Serve sets out to prove his eye-popping 2 year-old season was no fluke.  We know Soldat can run on the turf and on the off going, but we’ll finally get the opportunity to see how he manages a lightening fast dirt surface.  His weakest effort to date came on a “Good” track at Saratoga.  One thing is clear, these two are your pace setters in the race and if their pilots don’t panic, they’ll be able to slow the early pace down to a crawl and take the field wire-to-wire throughout. 


Now for something completely different, flip to Hutcheson Stakes and hold onto your hat!  The pace projects to be wickedly fast creating the ultimate challenge for formidable 6 furlong speedsters like Travelin Man, Royal Currier and Madman Diaries.  The extra furlong today heightens the drama of this great betting race.


Let’s break down each of the races and rate the quality of these Derby preps:


Gulfstream Park – G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes 1 1/8 dirt

Field Size = 8

Number of Graded Stakes Winners: 3

Number of Graded Stakes Placed: 3

BRIS Pace Par:  First Call = 94; Second Call = 104

Projected Pace:  First Call = 87; Second Call = 98

Energy Distribution Profile of Field: Dominated by off-the-pace and closer types

Morning Line Favorite:  To Honor and Serve (CURRENT HRN RANKING: #2)

Shutty’s Top Three Picks: Gourmet Dinner, To Honor and Serve, Soldat

Hit-the-Board Bomber Pick:  Bowman’s Causeway


Notes:  Could turn into a “paceless” affair as the “real” racing doesn’t get started until the final three furlongs.  Connections going slow with To Honor and Serve and don’t require a win here.




Gulfstream Park – G2 Hutcheson Stakes 7 furlongs dirt

Field Size = 10

Number of Graded Stakes Winners: 1

Number of Graded Stakes Placed: 1

BRIS Pace Par:  First Call = 98; Second Call = 108

Projected Pace:  First Call = 99; Second Call = 109

Energy Distribution Proflle of Field:  Early Speed Dominant (only one closer)

Morning Line Favorite: Travelin Man

Shutty’s Top Three Picks:  Black N Beauty, Manicero, Travelin Man

Hit-the-Board Bomber Pick: Leave of Absence


Notes: Field is loaded with early speed.  Four are stretching out to 7 furlongs.  With 18 races run at the 7 furlong distance at GP this meet, only 4 have been won by those coming from off the pace.


Come back to this blog Tuesday and we’ll take a look at these two preps to see if trips, biases and pace/speed rating outcomes will alter our HRN SUPER SCREENER QUALITY RATING.


Go now to HRN's 2011 Kentucky Derby Contenders Power Rankings to see how the fans are rating contenders and cast your own votes!  Kentucky Derby 2011 Contenders





About Me

Mike has been a passionate horseracing fan for over 30 years. He received his “handicapping education” through countless hours of deciphering the mystery that is embedded in every race. It was the tough beats at the window, however, that propelled him to never make the same mistake twice (well, maybe three times).

As Managing Partner of Horse Racing Nation, Mike serves as investor, business advisor, staff handicapper and developer of handicapping content.

Handicapping the Derby has always been one of Mike's favorite endeavors.  He spends weeks compiling notes, speed figures and analysis in preparation for the big race.  In 2010, his HRN pals pushed him into packaging his time-tested methods into what became the 2010 Kentucky Derby Super Screener, an e-book that became extremely popular with HRN readers and was downloaded over 3,000 times.   

In preparation for the 2011 Derby, Mike will be "Rating the Preps" each weekend on the Derby trail.  The goal will be to build a good picture for which prep races are most likely to produce the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner.   

Top Stories

“She’s a filly, but I have entertained the thought...
Instant Coffee finished on top in the Grade 2 Kent...
Defunded overcame a slow start to move into conten...
Trademark  collared pacesetter Fighter in the Win...
Seven-time winner and multiple graded-stakes place...