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Friday, March 04, 2005

Fountain of Youth

- The 1 1/8 mile distance of tomorrow’s G2 Fountain of Youth at the newly configured Gulfstream Park is fast turning into a bit of a farce and could be a big problem for the track. The starting gate is located so close to the turn that it places the outside horses at a disadvantage that seems to be worse than at other tracks. This was the reaction of one trainer who drew poorly for the race: "I wanted to puke," Violette said of getting post 10 for Dearest Mon. [Louisville Courier-Journal] He may scratch. According to the same article, Todd Pletcher indicated that he may have scratched Bandini in favor of the Louisiana Derby if he had drawn too far outside, and the 8 post he drew is on the cusp I suppose. No indication that he’ll scratch, especially since Kansas City Boy is expected to withdraw because, as I mentioned yesterday, his trainer Ken McPeek feels that he doesn’t settle well on the inside.

That’s too bad, because this is a horse that I may have backed tomorrow and who is starting to interest me; I’m looking forward to his next race, possibly in the La Derby, and will take a closer look at him then. Assuming he does scratch, the race will likely be of little betting interest to me, but it’s a big test for the two favorites, High Fly (Atticus) and Bandini (Fusaichi Pegasus). As I’ve mentioned ad nauseum, High Fly had an awful trip from the 8 post at this distance and was 3 wide on both turns in the Holy Bull, finishing third. While some have written that the race was a bounce, to 95, from his 100 Beyer romp in the Aventura, I’m not so sure that that bounce won’t come tomorrow, and he’ll definitely be an underlay, especially with the switch to the Zito barn. The scratch of Kansas City Boy is a break for Bandini, not only to move him a slot towards the rail, but it eliminates some potential speed inside of him. His rider John Velasquez will no doubt be gunning for the lead from the gate, and may have only the rail horse B.B. Best (Yes It’s True) to contend with. It’s his first stakes try, but as Byron King notes in the Form, his mere presence in the Fountain of Youth suggests that his owners and trainer Todd Pletcher view him as a top-flight 3-year-old. Such an assessment from winning connections commands respect. [Daily Racing Form (sub)] Plus, the way Pletcher is going of late (30% winners at Gulfstream), I ain't looking to beat him. If you must, Papi Chullo (Comeonmom), still a maiden, ran second to Going Wild in the Sham, getting an inside trip, and finishing within a length as the winner tired in the stretch. His 98 Beyer stamps him as legit even though he hasn’t won yet. Defer (Danzig) has gotten a fair amount of hype, but let me know when he breaks 80 on his figs.

- Interesting column by Avalyn Hunter in Bloodhorse in which she examines whether the sire sons of Storm Cat are all they’re cracked up to be (what exactly does that expression mean, anyway?). She takes a close look at a bunch of his sons, and concludes that it seems fair to say that at this time, the future of Storm Cat's male line is not as certain as sheer numbers might indicate. [Bloodhorse]