Edward P. Evans’ 3-year-old Virginia homebred colt Quality Road broke alertly in Saturday’s $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park, took command in the upper stretch of the one-mile test and drew clear to score by 4¼ lengths over Samotowka Stables and partners’ Theregoesjojo in the longtime Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby preview.

Ridden by John R. Velazquez for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, Quality Road was making only the third start of his career in the one-turn mile test after a sensational debut at Aqueduct in late November and a runner-up effort at odds-on in an allowance race here Jan. 10. The imposing 17 hands bay paid $13 to win and was timed in 1:35:01 over the fast track.

John Oxley’s Beethoven finished third in the deep field of 10 Triple Crown hopefuls, four lengths behind the runner-up. Joseph Rausch and David Zell’s Capt. Candyman Can was another length back in fourth as the lukewarm favorite at 3.70-1.

Winning Jockey Quotes

John R. Velazquez:

“I knew we would have a lot of speed (coming in), but the trick was to settle him in there and make him relax. He was ready to run and run today. The closer we got to the finish (line) the stronger I felt we were getting. It’s always special to win (races), but when you can pull off back-to-back (stakes) it’s even more special. It was a great day.”

(Velazquez won the Canadian Turf Stakes aboard Twilight Meteor the race before.)

Winning Trainer Quote

Jimmy Jerkens:

“I was glad to see him break sharp and then settle in. He came out of his last race with a little cough, but has trained great since then. We’ve thought a lot of him from his first start. He’s got the pedigree to go on, but a one-turn mile is still basically a sprint and a lot different than going two turns. We’ll talk it over before making a decision on what’s next. I’m a New York guy so the Wood (Memorial on Apr. 4 at Aqueduct) might be one option. On the other hand, he’s trained great over the track down here (Palm Meadows) and weather isn’t likely to interrupt his schedule, so the Florida Derby is naturally a possibility. We missed the first deadline (for Triple Crown) nominations, but we’ll put it up in March. It will just cost a little more.”

Ken McPeek (Theregoesjojo, 2nd)

“We are really happy. We didn’t lay it all down for this race. He wasn’t 100% cranked and we’re excited about going forward from here. I thought he ran a great race and lost to a very good horse. And believe me, the horse that won is one very impressive horse.”

Ian Wilkes (Capt. Candyman Can, 4th)

“I thought he ran good. I wasn’t disappointed. Of course, you always hope to win a race like this, but the main thing we wanted to see was that he had the talent to keep moving forward. We will see how he comes back, evaluate him and talk to the owners.”


23:83, 45:55, 1:09:40 & 1:35:01