Early signs indicate the race will attract a deep and talented field of 3-year-olds
“He’s had two trips to Ocala (for hyperbaric treatments) with a fast workout in between,” said Ward Saturday morning moments after the son of Catienus drilled five furlongs in 1:00 flat, according to the trainer. “Everything he’s done has gone perfectly. He’s clean as a whistle. Certain things work for certain horses and handling him the way we have has worked for him for sure.”
The Fountain of Youth is shaping up as a speedy clash and Notonthesamepage’s last win came while running on the lead. That style is prominent in Ward’s thinking ahead of this next race as well as what may follow.
“I really think he’s going to be an unbelievable miler when all the dust settles,” said Ward. “This is going to be a great race for him. After we took the blinkers off him, he seemed to relax and he has raced behind horses, so we’re hoping he can adapt. But great milers, when you tell them to go, they go flat out through every jump of that mile. I think that’s what he can do.”
A big performance in the Fountain of Youth means there will be a huge push to go further down the Florida Derby (G1) and the Kentucky Derby (G1) trails.
“This is going to be a very tough race,” said Ward. “None of us really knows about the longer distances yet, so we’ll see.”
This Ones for Phil Ready to Face Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Challenge
With two big workouts under his belt, Paul Pompa Jr.’s Sunshine Millions Dash winner This Ones for Phil continues to progress toward a showdown in the $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 28.
The 3-year-old son of Untuttable posted a 1:00 2/5 five-furlong breeze Friday and was happy and playful afterward according to trainer Rick Dutrow.
“He looks like he’s fine and he’s doing good,” said Dutrow Saturday. The reigning Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) winning trainer described the gelding’s previous breeze Feb. 7 as one of the best since the horse joined his barn.
“I still would have to agree with that today. He was having some problems leading up to his last race, but since that race everything’s been good.”
This Ones for Phil pounced on the front-runners in the Sunshine Millions Dash before drawing clear to a 2 ¼-length victory. Dutrow says the pace scenario of the Fountain of Youth will suit his horse, but there are other important questions to answer in the one-turn mile contest.
“He’s got to prove he can measure up in a solid field,” he said. “We have to see how he fits with better horses. It seems like he does and he’s training like he does, especially over this track.
Dutrow sent IEAH Stables’ Arson Squad through a half-mile workout Saturday in the 6-year-old’s first breeze since a fourth-place finish in the Donn Handicap (G1) on Jan 31.
Under jockey Edgar Prado, the son of Brahms clocked four furlongs in 49 flat. Dutrow wanted to see how Arson Squad emerged from the breeze before thinking about a next start
Others Work for the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth
Samotowka Stables and partners’ Theregoesjojo breezed five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park for trainer Ken McPeek as he continues preparations for his next start in the $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) going one mile on Sat., Feb. 28.
Theregoesjojo is a son of Brahms who looked good winning an ‘a other than’ allowance race going seven furlongs here on Jan. 10 by 2¾ lengths over highly-regarded Quality Road. Theregoesjojo was making his first start since finishing fourth in the Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs on July 5, preceded by a winning debut in late May.
Another contender for the Fasig-Tipton Fountain Youth working Saturday morning was Shadwell Stable’s undefeated Taqarub, with five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 at Palm Meadows for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The son of Aldebaran has won all three of his starts at Aqueduct, most recently the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes by 8¼ lengths on Jan. 19.
Another candidate for the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth to work Friday morning was Joseph Rausch and David Zell’s Capt. Candyman Can, who went five-eighths in 1:02 at Palm Meadows for trainer Ian Wilkes.
Capt. Candyman Can is a Kentucky homebred chestnut gelding by Candy Ride and looked good winning the Hutcheson Stakes (G2) going seven furlongs over the track on Jan. 30 in his first start since a strong third to Beethoven and Giant Oak in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 29.
John Oxley’s Beethoven is on target for the Fountain of Youth and will be turning back in distance from a fourth-place finish in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) going 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 31 when he drew the far outside post position. Trained by John Ward, the son of Sky Mesa won three of five starts last year.
Also expected in the lineup for the Fountain of Youth are Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Notonthesamepage (see Saturday workout report above), Eli Gindt’s Break Water Edison, MiJak Racing Stable’s Salo Jak and Sand Dollar Stable and partners’ Jack Spratt.
Salo Jak also worked Saturday morning at his home base at Calder. Trainer by Gilberto Zerpa, the son of Graeme Hall went five furlongs in 1:02 3/5. Sale Jak finished an even fourth behind Capt. Candyman Can in the Hutcheson Stakes after getting off to a slow start.
Nominations for the Fountain of Youth and $150,000 Canadian Turf Handicap (G3) for 3-year-olds and up at one mile on turf to be run the same day, and the $150,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) for 3-year-old fillies to be run Sun., Mar. 1 close today.
Lezcano Takes Care of Business Friday
Jockey Jose Lezcano struggled the last two weeks at Gulfstream Park as he approached the 1,000 career victory milestone, but broke through Friday, reaching the milestone with the first of his three winners on the card.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux remained atop the Gulfstream standings going into Saturday with 27 victories, two more than Julien Leparoux second with 25. Lezcano’s Friday triple brought him into a tie for third with Alan Garcia with 22 each, followed by Eibar Coa fifth at 21 and John R. Velazquez sixth with 20 tallies.
Ken McPeek continues on top of the trainers’ leader board after sending out 15 winners, six more than nine-time Gulfstream champion Bill Mott, who is second with nine. Todd Pletcher is bidding for a sixth consecutive Gulfstream meet title and ranks in a tie for third with Peter Walder at eight wins each.