There are three important Kentucky Derby prep races scheduled for Saturday. The Risen Star at Fair Grounds and the Southwest at Oaklawn Park each have there big names with Drosselmeyer and Ron The Greek in New Orleans and Conveyance and Dryfly in Hot Springs. However, I elected to handicap the other race of the three for Saturday, the Grade 2 $250,000 Fountain Of Youth at Gulfstream Park with a field of ten going 1 1/8 miles.
For some reason, I just think that Saturday is going to be #8 Eskendereya's day. While he failed miserably in his only previously graded race, a 9th in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, he did have an equally miserable trip and had his chances compromised early on at Santa Anita. He came back to win at one mile on January 7 at Gulfstream, giving him a previous win over the course. His Valentine's Day work of 5F in 1:00.3 was strong and, by the way, you get John Velazquez in the saddle. I will put #2 Buddy's Saint in the second spot for his 2010 debut. He will likely go off the favorite in this race, but it might be a bit much to ask him to go nine furlongs in his fourth lifetime start after a layoff of two and a half months. However, his win in the Grade 2 Remsen last time out at Aqueduct was at this distance and his lineage suggests he will like to go long, I just think that maybe he will be ready to do more come the Florida Derby. The runner-up in the Grade 3 Holy Bull, #5 Jackson Bend, is my third selection. I am troubled that he failed to get past Winslow Homer in the Holy Bull and he honestly has not won a race yet against the quality of opponent he will face today. There is a sterling bullet workout on February 13 of a half-mile in 47 seconds flat, but he has to win to convince me he is capable of better. Finally, I will use #10 Ice Box as a likely longshot in the Fountain Of Youth. His last two starts around two turns resulted in victories and he has already defeated several of his foes in this spot. Jersey Joe Bravo gets the call for trainer Nick Zito, who is well-represented in here since he also trains the third selection. Oh, Ice Box's last win at 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park on January 18. Sound familiar? Here is the play for the Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth:
$5 WP #8
$5 EX BOX #2+ #8
$1 TRI 2/8 with 2/8 with 5/9/10
Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections, they are merely suggestions. Tune in again next week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!