Kentucky Derby season is now in full swing at racetracks across the country. Gulfstream Park re-enters the spotlight on Saturday with the Grade 2 $400,000 Fountain Of Youth Stakes. The Fountain Of Youth features a field of eight going 1 1/8 miles. The two top contestants are the winner of the Grade 2 Remsen last November at Aqueduct, To Honor And Serve, and the runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf in November, Soldat. Here is the analysis:
Of course, in the never-ending pursuit of a price pick to find in any race, I am attracted to #8 Shackleford in the Fountain Of Youth at 8-1 on the morning line. He defeated a couple of the horse he will face in the Saturday race the last time he raced, which was at this distance at Gulfstream on February 5. Hopefully, Jesus Castanon will get the pace scenario he needs here with Soldat at To Honor And Serve burning each out, maybe helped to that end by Bowman's Causeway. The distance should not be a question moving forward for this Dale Romans trainee with both Storm Cat and Unbridled in the lineage. #1 Soldat is my second choice here since his last race was much more recent than To Honor And Serve. He posted a shattering Beyer Speed Figure of 103 in his 2011 debut over a sloppy track at Gulfstream on January 21. Ironically, I believe that was the race that Dialed In scratched out of because of the wet surface to run in the Grade 3 Holy Bull. Would Dialed In be such a Derby favorite right now had he faced Soldat that day? It is an interesting question. Soldat has never been worse that second in six lifetime starts. #7 To Honor And Serve will be my third selection mainly because this will be his first race since that win in the Remsen. The date of that race was November 27, so Saturday will be just one day short of three full months since his last effort. That is a long layoff since your last race, I don't care whether you are a potential superstar or not. He did post a bullet workout on February 20 at Payson Park, covering four furlongs in 48 and 1/5 seconds. I will wrap up the top four with #4 Casper's Touch. He ran second to the top pick in that race on February 5 at Saturday's distance. You will note, however, that Julien Leparoux elected to ride Bowman's Causeway instead in this race. He gets Alex Solis at the controls here, so there won't be any drop-off in rider quality for sure. I think it is worth noting that Casper's Touch started racing at Keeneland last April, which is the earliest debut of any of these horses in this field. Here is the play for the Grade 2 $400,000 Fountain Of Youth Stakes:
$5 WPS #8
$2 EX 8 with 1-2-4-7 and 1-2-4-7 with 8
Last weekend, They Are Off did hit the exacta on the Phoenix Gold Cup, so the total for the blog so far in 2011 is MINUS $13. 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!