The Fountain Of Youth Stakes (G2) is Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
SPECTACULAR BID, BET TWICE, FORTY NINER, THUNDER GULCH and ORB are just a few of the decorated Champions of this historic Kentucky Derby prep race.
First run in 1945 and currently contested over 1 1⁄16 miles, the Fountain of Youth has been producing Derby contenders for generations.
SPECTACLAR BID (1979), THUNDER GULCH (1995), and ORB (2013) are the most recent horses to have completed the Fountain Of Youth/Kentucky Derby double.
Few Fountain of Youth Winners have been more memorable than SPECTACLAR BID. A Horse of the Year (1980) and Hall of Fame inductee, he crushed his rivals in the FOY by 8 1⁄2 lengths, with a finishing time of 1:41.20, just 0.20 off the Stakes record set by SENSITIVE PRINCE in 1978.
Beaten Fountain of Youth runners have also enjoyed strong success in the Kentucky Derby, a testament to the quality of competition the race attracts.
Kentucky Derby Winners CARRY BACK (1961), FORWARD PASS (1968), DUST COMMANDER (1970), CANNONADE (1974), PLEASANT COLONY (1981), SWALE (1984), UNBRIDALED (1990), and GO FOR GIN (1994) all came up short at Gulfstream before reaching the Winner’s circle on the first Saturday in May.
Even though the Fountain of Youth has produced just one Kentucky Derby Winner during the first two decades of the 21st century, the race still remains deeply relevant as a steppingstone toward the Triple Crown.
Derby runners-up ICE BOX (2010), GOOD MAGIC (2018), and CODE OF HONOR (2019) all ran in the Fountain of Youth, as did Preakness (G1) Winner SHACKLEFORD and Belmont Stakes (G1) Champions JAZIL (2006) and UNION RAGS (2012).
As part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series, the Fountain of Youth awards 50 Derby qualification points to the Winner, which pretty-much assures the Victor a spot in the gate for the Run For The Roses.