Saturday is the Grade 2, $400,000 dollar Fountain Of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The race offers 50-20-10-5 points toward the 2020 Kentucky Derby, and has attracted a field of 12.
Here then is the Daily Racing Blog analysis of the entrants along with official Morning Line odds.
1. CANDY TYCOON [ML 15-1] Trainer: Todd Pletcher. Jockey: Manny Franco. This colt always worked well last summer at Saratoga but never put it together until recently. His improved effort to break his Maiden on January 25th is notable, in that it came over this surface at the same 1 1/16-mile distance.
2. MAKABIM [ML 50-1] Trainer: Daniel Hurtak. Jockey: Junior Alvarado. Derby fever is alive and well. Given this closer’s only two Wins came in low-level claiming races, it is hard to endorse him. He could only manage a half-length Win in a $16,000 level claimer.
3. MASTERDAY [ML 30-1] Trainer: Gilberto Zerpa. Jockey: Cristian Torres. His runner-up finish to NY TRAFFIC in a local optional claimer at least lends some credibility. But he still lost by 6 ¾ lengths, and the horses surrounding him in the losing group were not top-notch. While there is room for this horse to progress, the waters in this spot look too deep.
4. THE FALCON [ML 50-1] Trainer: Anthony Quartarolo. Jockey: Marcos Meneses. His connections are shooting for the stars here. This closer finished 3rd in a Churchill Downs Maiden claiming sprint and 2nd over synthetic in a Turfway Park Maiden special weight. At least the latter race came around two turns.
5. DENNIS’ MOMENT [ML 2-1] Trainer: Dale Romans. Jockey: Flavien Prat. The expected favorite brings many questions and concerns. Last July, he broke his Maiden impressively, but the romp came at Ellis Park after setting a slow pace against a weak field. He took a shot at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and stumbled at the start. But he lagged at the back and never showed any desire to pass a horse. It’s always a bad idea to accept a low price on a horse coming off a layoff with questions surrounding his reputation.
6. AS SEEN ON TV [ML 9-2] Trainer: Kelly Breen. Jockey: Paco Lopez. He did almost everything right in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes, only losing by a head back on January 4th to CHANCE IT. While CHANCE IT drew poorly this time, AS SEEN ON TV has an ideal post.
7. COUNTRY GRAMMAR [ML 15-1] Trainer: Chad Brown. Jockey: Javier Castellano. His Maiden Win at Aqueduct by 3 ¼ lengths is notable, as the runner-up PORTOS returned to break his Maiden by 10 ¾ lengths and then finish a closing 3rd in the Withers Stakes (G3). The New York group of 3-year-olds is not strong in quality, though, and the presence of Brown as his trainer hurts the overall value.
8. GEAR JOCKEY [ML 20-1] Trainer: George Arnold. Jockey: Julien Leparoux. Here is another Maiden taking a shot at this Derby prep race. In fairness, he finished 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Endorsing a Maiden to Win this race is a stretch, but he could get a piece with the right riding tactics.
9. LIAM’S LUCKY CHARM [ML 15-1] Trainer: Ralph Nicks. Jockey: Edgard Zayas. This guy beat CHANCE IT last August in the Florida Sire Affirmed Stakes. That race feels like a long time ago, however, and it came over seven furlongs. In his most recent start at nine furlongs, he folded to 10th in the second division of the Risen Star Stakes despite chasing a modest pace.
10. SHOTSKI [ML 10-1] Trainer: Jeremiah O’Dwyer. Jockey: John Velazquez. The New York-group of 3-year-old horses is weak, raising some questions about class. Even though he Won the Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct last November. He returned in the Withers Stakes (G3), but he let the inexperienced MAX PLAYER mow him down.
11. ETE INDIEN [ML 8-1] Trainer: Patrick Biancone. Jockey: Florent Geroux. This speedy customer only lost by three lengths to TIZ THE LAW in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3). He did set the pace and only surrendered grudgingly in the stretch. TIZ THE LAW is considered the best 3-year-old in the country by many handicappers, and ETE INDIEN did not lose to him by a huge margin. But this Post Position is awful for his style, as he will need to get used early.
12. CHANCE IT [ML 7-2] Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr. Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione. The Mucho Macho Man Stakes Winner is working up a storm in the mornings. This is an awful Post Position for him, as he probably cannot clear in time before the turn. Despite breaking from this spot he will probably still be the second betting choice behind DENNIS’ MOMENT. Wouldn’t be surprised if he scratched and looks for a better spot down the Derby road.
Conclusion: With AS SEEN ON TV drawing Post 6, he is the choice here to upset DENNIS’ MOMENT. At the start, Paco Lopez can see how the break unfolds and ride accordingly.
AS SEEN ON TV displays the right talent and class, as shown in his game battle with CHANCE IT in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes.
He will also offer the right value, with most of the money expected to fall toward DENNIS’ MOMENT and CHANCE IT.
The play: Trifecta key using the #6 on top of the 1-5-8-11-12. Another Value play if the 6 gets bet down is to use the #11 ETE INDIEN on top of the Trifecta key with the 1-5-6-8-12. We’ll also play an Exacta box using the #6 and 11 with Win bets on both.
Best of luck no matter how you play it.