Fountain Of Youth Trends

The Fountain Of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park is an important stop on the Road To The Kentucky Derby.

The 1 1/16-mile race with a storied history has long ranked as one of the most important Triple Crown preps.

Thirteen horses have used the Fountain of Youth as a springboard to success on the first Saturday in May.

Can the rich history of the Fountain of Youth help identify the most likely Winner of the 2023 edition? Don’t see why not.

Any Running Style Can Prevail: Tactical speed is generally an asset in U.S. dirt racing, but that isn’t always the case in the Fountain Of Youth. Since 2010 (when the race resumed a two-turn configuration after one year with a one-turn setup), the FOY has seen six Winners race on or near the lead, three more settle in midfield, and three rally from the back half of the pack.

That is to say, speed horses don’t necessarily have an advantage in the Fountain of Youth. Even with an abbreviated run down the homestretch (1 1/16-mile races at Gulfstream end a sixteenth of a mile before the regular finish line), late runners have a decent chance to steal first prize.

Don’t Rely Too Heavily On The Favorite: The Fountain of Youth annually attracts some of the most popular horses on the Derby trail, but these fan favorites don’t always land in the Winner’s Circle. Four betting choices (SIMPLIFICATION, GREATEST HONOUR, SOLDAT, and MOHAYMEN) have prevailed in the last 13 editions of the FOY, generating a respectable 31% Win rate.

Other side of the coin- the favorite has been defeated 69% of the time. That isn’t to say you should look for huge longshots in the Fountain of Youth. Eleven of the last 13 Winners started at 5-1 or less, with PROMISES FULFILLED (18-1) delivering the only truly significant upset. But you shouldn’t assume a heavy favorite is unbeatable; more often than not, the hype horses come up short.

Shippers Rarely Get Their Picture Taken: 11 of the last 13 Fountain of Youth Winners prepped with a run at Gulfstream in January or February. It’s tough to beat the locals in the Fountain of Youth. Familiarity with the track is a positive for FOY contenders.

The two runners to defy this trend were UNION RAGS and PROMISES FULFILLED. Neither of which had run since November, but both had completed their pre-Fountain of Youth training in Florida.

Bet On Jose Ortiz: Jockey Jose Ortiz has had much success in the Fountain of Youth. From five mounts, he’s recorded two Wins (in 2021 and 2022), two 2nds, and one 3rd. One of his runner-up finishes came aboard UPSTART, who crossed the finish line in 1st place before getting disqualified to 2nd place.

In other words, Ortiz boasts a 40% Win rate and a 100% in-the-money rate when riding in the Fountain of Youth. That’s a rock-solid record, so whoever he’s aboard don’t leave them off your ticket.

Favor Proven Graded Stakes Performers: It’s tough for Maiden and Allowance Winners to step up in class for the Fountain of Youth. Since 2010, 11 out of 13 FOY Winners boasted previous Graded Stakes experience. The only anomaly to this trend was Allowance Winner ITSAKNOCKOUT– did so because Graded Stakes Winner UPSTART was disqualified from the Victory.

That said, future Kentucky Derby Winner ORB was the only horse without Graded Stakes experience to Win the Fountain of Youth since 2010, a testament to the quality of horse he was.

So get out the Past Performances and see which of the horses entered for Saturday, checks the most boxes in the Fountain Of Youth historic profile.

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