Watch: Dennis' Moment puts in first work for Fountain of Youth

January 12, 2020 11:47am
Watch: Dennis' Moment puts in first work for Fountain of Youth
Photo: Coady Photography

One of racing’s flashiest 2-year-olds in 2019 started his 3-year-old campaign in earnest Saturday with a first breeze of 2020.

Dennis’ Moment drilled four furlongs in 50.89 seconds at Gulfstream Park in his first official work since finishing eighth Nov. 1 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

The Tiznow colt is working toward Gulfstream’s Grade 2, $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes on Feb. 29. From there, the targeted path is the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) on March 28 and then, connections hope, a spot in the 2020 Kentucky Derby starting gates five weeks later.

“I’m hoping we can stick to that plan and get him two starts,” Jason Loutsch, racing manager for owner Albaugh Family Stables, said Sunday. “Then hopefully we’re qualified.

“We haven’t lost any confidence in him. We still think he’s one of the best 3-year-olds in the country. He’s just got to prove it.”

Dennis’ Moment announced his arrival on July 27 with a 19 ¼-length rout of maiden special weight company at Ellis Park. He then coasted to an Iroquois Stakes (G3) win Sept. 14 at Churchill Downs, claiming 10 points toward that track’s May 2 showcase.

As the odds-on favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Dennis’ Moment stumbled badly out of the gates. The Dale Romans trainee lagged at the tail of the field from there and never recovered as Storm the Court pulled off a 46-1 upset at Santa Anita Park.

“When we got back from California, he went to WinStar for 30 days just to clear his mind, really,” Loutsch said. “Nothing was wrong with him. It was just getting him out of the barn and just letting him be a horse for 30 days and eat some grass.

“We flew him down to Miami around the 15th
 of December and tack walked him for a week. Then he went to the track. He didn’t miss much. He came back and he’s such an athlete that it didn’t take him long to get fit.”

Loutsch described Dennis’ Moment’s Saturday work as “a nice, easy breeze.” Six more works are in order for the colt before the Fountain of Youth, with a couple more half-mile moves before lengthening in distance.

The Fountain of Youth pays 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to its winner. Combined with the 10 points Dennis’ Moment earned in the Iroquois, a win Feb. 29 would seal a Kentucky Derby bid no matter how he runs in the Florida Derby.

“We’ve just done a lot of looking back at previous Kentucky Derby winners,” Loutsch said. “It seems like the third race, they always say, is your peak race. So we feel like if he can get qualified and go into the Kentucky Derby that he’ll be sitting on a big one.”

Albaugh Family Stables also campaigns one of the west coast’s top Derby trail contenders in Thousand Words, Bob Baffert-trained winner of the Dec. 7 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2).

The Pioneerof The Nile colt, who’s co-owned by Spendthrift Farm, went four furlongs handily Monday at Santa Anita in 47.4 seconds.

Thousand Words is gearing up for the $100,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) on Feb. 1 at Santa Anita. That race pays 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to its winner and sets the stage for the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes (G2) on March 7 and the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 4.

“Bob said there’s no need to travel right now,” Loutsch said. “The field sizes out there are so small right now, it gives you a good opportunity if you do have a quality horse there that you can get qualified. …

“It’s going to be a fun spring with (Dennis’ Moment) and Thousand Words. We’re looking forward to it and enjoying every minute. It’s not too often you get a chance to have two horses on the Derby trail.”


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