Friday, February 27, 2009

The Fountain Of Youth (G2)

Gulfstream Park
The Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2)
1 Mile - Three Year Olds - $250,000

This competitive edition of The Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) features plenty of speed. But at the mile distance a speed duel will result in almost certain failure. As such, this is not a race in which I expect pure athleticism to prevail. The most important ingredient will be strategy and a horse’s ability to execute that strategy. A field with this much speed appears to set up for a closer. But everyone knows the situation and they may not be eager to send their horse. In that case the pace may not be too fast for a horse that can stretch its’ speed. Here are the two most likely scenarios.

The first is that the horse that breaks well attempts to extend that advantage immediately. This will force others to chase producing a very fast early pace, resulting in two perhaps three horses on top with daylight between them and the field. They will burn themselves out. The second is that everyone tries to get their horse to settle and they wait for the first move. I’m betting on the first type of race developing.

There are three horses that I think will cause this to happen; Taqarub, Quality Road and Notonthesamepage. These three have shown ability only when they’re on the engine. Perhaps their connections have tried to teach their charges to rate but when the gates open, I say all bets are off concerning their ability to rate and win. If they want to get to the Derby they need purse money, so patience is not an option. Notonthesamepage is the only one of this trio to have run in a race of more than 7 furlongs and he finished poorly in that attempt. It is a tall order for a colt to stretch out for the first time against this field and at this distance. It’s one turn and allows no time for a breather. I give these three little chance of hitting the board.

I’m not a believer in This One’s for Phil. The 3-1 Morning Line favorite drew the favorable outside post and Prado is up again. He obviously loves GP. His last race was one of the most talked about this spring, but I read it as an anomaly. He will have to prove to me he’s real. He’ll have to beat me.

I’m looking for a horse that can run professional fractions and still have a late turn of foot. The horse that best fits that description is Beethoven. He has proven himself up to 1 1/16th and with Calvin Borel up he isn’t likely to waste any ground. I think the race sets up well for him. The front tier should eliminate themselves; the next group will run fast fractions and Beethoven should close well. His pedigree, Sky Mesa -Moonlight Sonata (Carson City) leads me to think he’ll only get better with added distance and I’ll be looking for good things from him in the future.

Capt. Candyman Can will complete my exacta. He has already shown he can stretch his speed. He is a very consistent and classy horse. If the front tier pulls away he has the speed to track them. If he needs to rate he has shown that ability too. Since Pat Day retired there is no one better than Julien Leparoux at measuring distance. In his only two losses Capt. Candayman Can’s running lines note real issues; "tentative over shadows" and "taken up in tight late." I think he’ll probably be a little too involved in the pace to withstand Beethoven’s late run. My concern with him is his work tab. It doesn’t make me extremely confident that his wind is where it needs to be. I think he is on course to ‘peak’ another day. He has experience, class and versatility. He will run a game race.

To fill out the board I like the other son of Candy Ride(ARG) Jack Spratt. He is steadily improving and has the late running style that fits the race. I also like the progression of works since his last race. He has already shown ability on two surfaces and his works suggest dirt will be no different. He showed great improvement and talent in besting Lime Rickey and Beacon Hill Road in his last race and I think he will improve off of that effort. With any proven dirt form at all I may have picked him to pull a big upset.
  • The Picks:
    Win: Beethoven
    Place: Capt. Candyman Can
    Show: Jack Spratt

# Horse Jockey Wt. ML
1***Bee Cee Cee**********C. Valasquez*****120********30-1
2**Theregoesjojo******** K. Desormeaux***116********15-1
3**Notonthesamepage****E. Trujillo*******120********4-1
4**Take the Points*******C. Decarlo********116********10-1
5**Jack Spratt***********R. Douglas*******120********20-1
6**Rocketing Returns****J. Lezcano********116********5-1
7**Beethoven************C. Borel**********122********12-1
8**Break Water Edison***E. Coa***********122********15-1
9**Capt. Candyman Can**J. Leparoux******122********5-1
10*Taqarub**************A. Garcia*********120********6-1
11*Quality Road**********J. Velasquez******114 (L1)****8-1
12**This One’s for Phil****E. Prado**********120*******3-1

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