Edited Gulfstream Release — Second in the Jan. 30 Holy Bull (G3) while making his debut on dirt, Tarantino is scheduled to remain on the Triple Crown trail for the $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) Feb. 27 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
The 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile, who was a nose away from being undefeated on turf in his first three starts, earned 4 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby (G1) in the Holy Bull and will go for considerably more points in the Fountain of Youth.
The 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth, a 50-20-10-5 qualifying points race, is the major prep for the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n Dale Farm at Xalapa March 27 at Gulfstream.
“I think we’ve got to give him a shot to qualify on his own,” trainer Rodolphe Brisset said as Tarantino schooled in the Gulfstream walking ring during Thursday’s third race. “If it doesn’t work, we’ll focus on the grass.”
Tarantino, who won his debut and lost a stakes by a nose in Southern California with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, captured a Dec. 11 optional claiming allowance on turf at Gulfstream in his first start for Brisset. He pressed the early pace in the Holy Bull and held gamely to finish second, 5 ¾ lengths behind victorious Greatest Honour and 3 ¾ lengths ahead of favored third-place finisher Prime Factor.
“Based on what I’ve been seeing the past week and a half, I think he needed the race, to be honest,” Brisset said. “I know he ran the first week in December, but I think six or seven weeks were really good timing for him. We brought him the right way for the turf and dirt, but we’re hoping he can be a couple lengths better this time.”
Tarantino, who is owned by SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Golconda Stable, Siena Farm LLC and Robert Masterson, breezed Sunday for the first time since the Holy Bull, timed in 49.45 seconds for a half-mile at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.
“He’s a cocky horse. He’s never going to breeze in 47, out in 59,” Brisset said. “He’s a 49-and-2, but the way he does it, you can see that he’s doing good.”
Brisset said he won’t alter Tarantino’s training schedule for the Fountain of Youth.
“As of now, we’re going to do the same as what we did last time. School today, breeze on Sunday and, if everything goes well, bring him here Thursday or Friday. He’s going to train here a couple days,” Brisset said.