Another spot in the Kentucky Derby will be filled Saturday, as full field of twelve 3-year-olds clash in the $400,000 dollar, Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The Winning horse will earn 50 qualifying points toward the Run For The Roses, which will assure him of one of the 20 spots in the starting gate.
The contest is listed as race 12 on a card of 13 with a scheduled Post Time of 5:45. Here then, is a look at the field.
1. MARKHAMIAN [ML 20-1] Jockey: Marcos Menses. Trainer: Juan Avila. He ships over from Tampa Bay Downs after Winning the seven-furlong Pasco Stakes. He’s never been around two turns but speed and an inside post are assets over this track and he has both of them. Hard to picture him winning, but maybe he can hang on and figure in the Superfecta at a big price.
2. SIMPLIFICATION [ML 5-2] Jockey: Jose Ortiz. Trainer: Antonio Sano. Don’t not leave him out of your exotics from this inside post. He’s turned in strong efforts both on the lead and coming off the pace, which means Ortiz will have some options with him. He was 2nd in the Holy Bull Stakes at this distance, and two stellar speed figures over the track label him as a top contender.
3. HOWLING TIME [ML 15-1] Jockey: Joe Talamo. Trainer: Dale Romans. He started his career auspiciously enough with a pair of Wins, then closed out his juvenile campaign lugging home 5th in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He doesn’t seem to be a frontrunner, so perhaps a return to his closing tactics might work out better for him. He’s been working out swiftly for his 3-year-old debut and merits some consideration.
4. IN DUE TIME [ML 6-1] Jockey: Paco Lopez. Trainer: Kelly Breen. He stepped up with a really big Allowance Win here, last time out. If he can duplicate that effort, he’ll be a force here. But there’s also a chance he might bounce off it and regress a little bit.
5. DEAN DELIVERS [ML 15-1] Jockey: Miguel Vasquez. Trainer: Michael Yates. He was 2nd in the Swales Stakes at seven furlongs last out and in fact has finished 2nd in his prior three starts. He’ll be part of the early pace scenario, thinking maybe he doesn’t want to go this long.
6. RATTLE N ROLL [ML 8-1] Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr. Trainer: Ken McPeek. His Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity Win at Keeneland stamped him as a top 2-year-old but then he missed the Breeders’ Cup. He’s trying to play catch up here after not racing since early October. He’s surely a threat, but some of McPeek’s other 3-year-olds have run like they needed a race when they’ve debuted so far this winter, and he may follow suit.
7. A. P.’S SECRET [ML 15-1] Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione. Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr. He’s on the upswing but will be tested for class while making his Stakes debut. Seems a notch slower than the top contenders and would need to take a big step forward to upend this field. That could happen, but others seem more capable in this spot.
8. EMMANUEL [ML 3-1] Jockey: Luis Saez. Trainer: Todd Pletcher. He’s coming off an Allowance Win at Tampa, which is a path Pletcher has used before with some of his best 3-year-olds- such as 2017 Kentucky Derby Winner ALWAYS DREAMING. This will be a true test for EMMANUEL but he seems to have the right combination of speed and stamina to be a main threat in this field. Should see a big effort out of him.
9. HIGH OAK [ML 8-1] Jockey: Junior Alvarado. Trainer: Bill Mott. He exploded on the scene with a smashing Win in the Saratoga Special Stakes last summer but then finished 4th on a wet track in the Hopeful Stakes and headed to the sidelines with an ankle problem. If he can serve up an encore of his effort in his Stakes Win at the Spa, he will be very tough to beat.
10. GIANT GAME [ML 15-1] Jockey: Corey Lanerie. Trainer: Dale Romans. After a 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he was viewed as a promising Triple Crown prospect. That failed to happen when he lost his 3-year-old debut in the Holy Bull by 24 lengths. He should improve off that weak try but an outside post and a short stretch figure to work against him.
11. O CAPTAIN [ML 30-1] Jockey: Javier Castellano. Trainer: Gustavo Delgado. He was a closing 3rd in the Limehouse Stakes and may want more distance than the six furlongs of that race. Yet he will need a vastly improved effort and great trip to make any waves here.
12. MO DONEGAL (SCRATCHED)
13. GALT [ML 15-1] Jockey: Joel Rosario. Trainer: Bill Mott. He has the pedigree to be a sentimental choice as the little full brother to the Champion filly SONGBIRD. He showed early speed in the Holy Bull when he was 4th and that’s not really his game. Unfortunately from this post, he will need to break quickly and be forwardly placed early. But if anyone can work out a good trip it’s Eclipse Award Winning Jockey Joel Rosario.
SUMMARY: #2 SIMPLIFICATION broke poorly last time in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) and made a nice recovery to finish 2nd. Two starts ago he led from gate to wire in the local Mucho Macho Man Stakes. If he breaks better this time, and given his speed, SIMPLIFICATION could return to the Winner’s Circle.
#8 EMMANUEL has shown exciting raw talent in his two starts. He broke his Maiden locally by 6 ¾ lengths before Winning an optional Claiming race at Tampa Bay Downs by 4 ½ lengths in late January in an effortless manner.
Theses two expected favorites SIMPLIFICATION and EMMANUEL can Win, but their respective Morning Line odds will likely will get even shorter by Post Time. So, as we often do here at the Daily Racing Blog– we’re tossing the chalk.
For our longshot we’re looking at #3 HOWLING TIME. He Won the first two starts of his career, including the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs by 3 ¼ lengths. You can toss the poor effort in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) in his last out.
HOWLING TIME shows three bullet workouts on his tab for his return race, including a blazing local four-furlong spin in 46.65 on February 19th. It was the fastest time out of 103 horses for the same distance that morning.
HOWLING TIME has decent shot at Winning and should offer Value with double-digit odds.
THE PLAY: We’ll play a Trifecta key using the #3 HOWLING TIME on top, using #2 SIMPLIFICATION, #6 RATTLE N ROLL, #8 EMMANUEL, #9 HIGH OAK, and #10 GIANT GAME underneath.
We’ll also place Win bets on #3, #6, #9, and 10.
Best of luck no matter how you play it.