Greatest Honour mounted a sustained outside move under Jose Ortiz on the second turn and swept past rivals in the stretch to win the Grade 2, $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey.
It was the third straight win for Greatest Honour and adds another 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the 10 he earned for his Holy Bull (G3) win at Gulfstream four weeks ago. It also equals the feat accomplished by McGaughey's only Kentucky Derby winner, Orb, who would win the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby (G1) and go on to win the 2013 Run for the Roses.
Following the win, Greatest Honour was whittled down to 6-1 favoritism in the 2021 Kentucky Derby futures book at Circa Sports.
GREATEST HONOUR takes the Holy Bull and now the Fountain of Youth Stakes @GulfstreamPark!
Congrats to connections rider @Jose93_Ortiz, Trainer Shug McGaughey & Courtland Farms.February 27, 2021
Greatest Honour was near the rear of the 10-horse field as Drain the Clock, attempting two turns for the first time following a sharp win in the seven-furlong Swale (G3), was quick out of the blocks to seize the early lead. Drain the Clock commenced to carve fractions of 23.66, 47.18 and 1:11.51 for six furlongs with a strung-out field chasing.
Entering the second turn, Greatest Honour appeared to be toiling. Ortiz went to the crop early to get the colt untracked as Drain the Clock continued to motor on a clear lead. It took a few strides, but Greatest Honour eventually began to make up ground and in the stretch blew past the leader to win going away by 1 1/2-lengths.
Ortiz explained his trip aboard Greatest Honour, noting a bit of trouble in the early going.
“He broke good, a bit slow like he always does, and I put him in the race. I tried to be as close as I could going to the backside and I got a good path behind Prime Factor," Ortiz said. "But, when we hit the turn I bumped the horse outside of me and lost my hind end a little bit and it was very hard to get him back going.
"He’s such a big horse with such a big stride,' Ortiz continued. "At the three-eighths pole I’m trying to get him going and I got a space on the inside but I didn’t want to have to stop him again. So I decided to go wide and when he hit the clear, boom. He was there for me. Huge run.”
The final time for 1 1/16-miles on a fast track was 1:44.02.
“I’m glad we don’t have to run a mile and a sixteenth anymore,” McGaughey said. “When they’re going farther, I think we might see a little better horse.”
Drain the Clock held second to earn 20 Derby qualifying points. He was followed across the wire by Papetu (10 points) and Tarantino (5 points). Greatest Honour paid $4.00 as the even-money favorite.
Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. was pleased with Drain the Clock's first two-turn effort and did not rule out a return in the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) going 1 1/8-miles on March 27.
“He ran huge," Joseph said. "He ran like a winner. I didn’t even see the winner coming. I saw Papetu coming and he ran good. Obviously, the winner is a very good horse. We can’t be disappointed. It was his first time at the distance and he was beaten by a quality horse.”
A homebred for Courtlandt Farms, Greatest Honour is by Tapit out of the Street Cry mare Tiffany's Honor. He finished third in his first two starts, both seven-furlong sprints in New York, before finishing second by a head to Known Agenda in a 1 1/8-miles maiden race at Aqueduct in November.
Shipped to Florida, Greatest Honour would earn his diploma at Gulfstream on Dec. 26 to close out the juvenile campaign and come right back to romp by 5 3/4 lengths in the Holy Bull (G3) on Jan. 30.
“It’s very exciting," said Courtlandt Farms Donald Adam. "Being a horse that I bred and the history by which I came by him is very gratifying. I was a little concerned in this one. It looked like he wasn’t in the best position, but this will be the shortest race he runs in a long time. And the longer he goes, the better he will be.”