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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


A thumbnail sketch of the 12 three-year-old colts in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park, listed in post position order with early line odds:

1- CANDY TYCOON (15-1) An impressive maiden breaker at today’s distance last out, Todd is 25% effective going from maiden allowances to winners, but this is a Grade 2. He’s done that before, too, but this is a forward runner in a race loaded with speed.

2- MAKABIM (50-1) I’m setting the Over-Under at 85-1. Next…

3- MASTERDAY (30-1) Lost to a live prospect last out who then returned to disappoint against better. Best we can say is that there are many talented South American trainers based in South Florida and Gilberto Zerpa is one of the best.

4- THE FALCON (50-1) A maiden after two starts, one of those attempts with a claiming tag. There are easier spots in the condition book.

5- DENNIS’ MOMENT (2-1) Do we get the tactical kind who dominated in the Iroquois, an effort that made him the 9-10 Juvenile favorite, or do we get the horse that beats himself? We believe he owns the most raw talent but have no idea what to expect today. Works range from great, to not so great, to Monday’s half-mile breeze in 48 -flat that resembled more of an open gallop than time trial. If that’s him on Saturday, he wins.

6- AS SEEN ON TV (9-2) Spotted Chance It experience, conditioning, surface familiarity, and the inside lane through the stretch and was beaten by a short head, weakening in the last two jumps after a protracted, classic stretch duel. Twelve days after the key-race Mucho Macho Man, he returned to breeze five-eighths in 1:00.60. He has worked virtually every seven days since. ‘TV’ is set for best now and has the stoutest pedigree in the field. One of two of the major contenders given a chance by the draw.

7- COUNTRY GRAMMAR (15-1) Chad and Javier teaming up on this last out maiden winner [NOV 11], a key event that produced three next-out winners. Owns a string of six workouts, all spaced a week apart, so he’s on schedule. The son of Tonalist cost $450K at auction, but he is turning back from the Big A’s demanding nine furlongs to Gulfstream’s speedy, first-finish line at a mile and a sixteenth. Even with these connections, early line seems right.

8- GEAR JOCKEY (20-1) TJ’s right; the Derby point system might need some tweaking. With 50 points going to the winner, that’s a Derby ticket-punching win-and-in race, so connections with three year olds will take a shot. To the rest of us, it’s race-killing parimutuel filler.

9- LIAM’S LUCKY CHARM (15-1) Gave a speed and fade effort in the longer Risen Star now turns back to a suitably shorter trip. After breaking through the gate prematurely, and racing very wide thereafter, he had no chance so the rider took care of him late. That’s why he’s back in here on short rest but the distance and competition are still huge obstacles.

10- SHOTSKI (10-1) To dismiss him out of hand is a mistake. Classy enough to win the 9-furlong Remsen at 2, he was pressured every step of the way in his 2020 return, repelled all challengers except the one who made the last, well timed run. Now he winds up here, attracts no less than Johnny, and his gate work at his home base in 48.40 was 4th fastest of 50 peers to work that week at Laurel. Spoiler alert: He might be more than one dimensional speed; on the road to find out.

11- ETE INDIEN (8-1) If he were drawn favorably, we would be entertaining thoughts of a straight bet at his early line odds, especially given a long pedigree. But he has speed on the inside and outside, and while Florent Geroux is top class, the colt has lost regular partner Luca Panici to injury. Took pressure in the 1-1/16 miles G3 Holy Bull and finished second to protem Kentucky Derby favorite, Tiz the Law. Whatever happens today, he’s a colt with bright prospects.

12- CHANCE IT (7-2) Absolutely killed by the draw but should he win, bettors will ask how could that horse pay $10? Fair question. He loves the track, loves to win, wants to beat you, and is long on guts. He’s a horse whose trainer believes he’s Grade 1 level, but Saffie Joseph admits he’s not sure where this guy’s distance future lies. Clearly, he can go this far, but can this far and maybe 50-60 feet farther than his rivals, the deepest group he ever has faced? You’ll need to pay to find out. Either way, this is a very good race horse.

THE PLAY [odds dependent]: As Seen on TV to win at 4-1 or greater. Exacta box with Dennis’ Moment. Trifecta and Superfecta sequence: 5, 6 // 5, 6, 11, 12 // 5, 6, 10, 11, 12 // 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12

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9 Responses

  1. Fourteen race card today at Gulfstream with ten of the races stake races. What think of the conditions of the stake races? Anyone aware that the owner(s) of the plodder that staggers home fifth, beaten by many lengths, will receive 3% of the purse? What ya’all gonna get if you bet on the plater that finishes fifth?

  2. Saturday morning early mussing on the Fountain of Youth:

    Dennis’ Moment? “Maybe Not”. At 2-1 Not.

    I am leaning towards taking a shot with price horse Country Grammar. He scratched out of the Remsen with a fever last fall, but today he gets another shot. Race dynamics look swift, and there should be plenty of pressure on the front end runners early. I suspect that Country Grammar could have the best late run in this race. At 15-1, I like his chances. He closes, and distance should not be an issue. I am thinking of swapping out the “Maybe Not Dennis” favorite, and exacta boxing Country Grammar with your selected (first time two turn runner) As Seen on TV. Must be the Irish in me, but I am looking for a price. Right now I’m talking myself into Country Grammar.
    “What’s the sense in being Irish if you can’t be stupid? stated Billy Conn many years back.

    “I’m going to box him. I’ll feint with my left, for every time I’ve seen Joe, a left makes him step back and blink his eyes before he can get set again…if I can hit him I think I can knock him out.” Well Billy Conn out boxed the big guy indeed. All Billy Conn had to do was stay away late, but he just couldn’t not try for the knockout. Curse of the stubborn Irish, I guess, but it was Conn on the canvas in round thirteen. Stubborn Irish cost Billy Conn the world championship.

    “Stubborn Irish” I am as well. Now there’s a great name for a plodder Wendel.

    Going with Country Grammar I am John. Thinking either Grammar, or Seen on TV have a shot at knocking out the 2-1 favorite.

    If I can have just one minute more……compelled by my heritage to share.

    Author unknown…….

    What shall I say about the Irish?
    The utterly impractical, never predictable
    Something irascible, quite inexplicable Irish.
    Strange blend of shyness, pride and conceit,
    And stubborn refusal to bow in defeat.
    He’s spoiling and ready to argue and fight,
    Yet the smile of a child fills his soul with delight.
    His eyes are the quickest to well up in tears,
    Yet his strength is the strongest to banish your fears.
    His faith is as fierce as his devotion is grand,
    And there’s no middle ground on which he will stand.
    He’s wild and he’s gentle.
    He’s good and he’s bad.
    He’s proud and he’s humble.
    He’s happy and he’s sad.
    He’s in love with the ocean, the earth and the skies.
    He’s enamored with beauty wherever it lies.
    He’s victor and victim, a star and a clod,
    But mostly he’s Irish in love with his God.

    1. Good job all around Mc D. And you were on to something with Country Grammer–think it’s misspelled purposely, who I didn’t care for at all. But he ran well, certainly caught my eye with that late flourish. Won’t dismiss him out of hand next time.

  3. Mr. Pricci: Please re-read my comment above. I don’t even know what the high-five bet is. I thought it was obvious that if you bet a plater to win and the plug staggers in 5th, ya don’t collect; but, the owner of the nag does. Dig? Seems that the racing secretary at Gulfstream is taking care of owners, trainers, and jocks by providing them with money via the conditions of the stake race, but had no interest in us bettors. Why can’t I cash a ticket if my plodder finishes fifth when I bet the nag to win?

  4. Denny: Paco, my favorite jock, has already won two races paying balloons. Doubt he can deliver with As Seen On TV, though the blue blood will be in the hunt. Gonna put a few bucks on Ete Indien to win (can I bet the plodder to come in 5th Alice?).

    1. Great selection! I have rarely seen a horse from the eleven post get to the rail so quickly. This was a mismatch. Coast to coast winner. Never in doubt. JP mentioned that “this is a cold with bright prospects.” Comment about losing Luca somewhat curious. Florent Geroux is not what I would call “chopped liver.” Again, kudos to you for finding this dominant winner in FOY.

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