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