by Gulfstream Park Press Release
February 27, 2019
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Hidden Scroll, an impressive winner of his lone career start Jan. 26, drew Post 7 and was installed as the 9-5 program favorite for Saturday’s $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
The 73rd running of the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth for 3-year-olds, the final step on the road to the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 30, attracted a field of 11 sophomores. It is carded 13th on a blockbuster 14-race program featuring nine graded-stakes worth $1.65 million in purses.
First race post time Saturday is 11:30 a.m. Post time for the Fountain of Youth is set for 5:32 p.m.
Hidden Scroll, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, made his career debut on the undercard of the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Championship Invitational at Gulfstream, going gate to wire to win the one-mile maiden special weight by 14 lengths in 1:34.82 over a sloppy, sealed track.
To be ridden by Joel Rosario, Hidden Scroll will carry 116 pounds, six fewer than co-topweights Vekoma and Signalman. R. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables’ Vekoma, undefeated in two starts including the Nashua (G3) last out, is second choice on the morning line at 7-2. Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) winner Signalman is third choice at 9-2.
Here is the field for the Fountain of Youth, with post positions and odds:
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Saturday’s $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) will pit experience against potential Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where graded-stakes winner Signalman will make his 2019 debut in a talent-rich field of 11 3-year-olds that will include several less accomplished but nevertheless brilliant contenders. The Fountain of Youth, the key prep for the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 30, will headline a 14-race program with nine graded stakes, including the $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) for 3-year-old fillies, featuring the 2019 debut of Jaywalk, the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner who won the Eclipse Award as 2-year-old filly champion of 2018. Signalman’s body of work during his juvenile season is beyond compare among his Fountain of Youth rivals. Owned by Tommie M. Lewis, David A. Bernsen, LLC and Magdalena Racing, the 3-year-old son of General Quarters concluded his 2018 campaign with a victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs at the Fountain of Youth distance of 1 1/16 miles, three weeks after closing from 12th to finish third in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at the home of the Kentucky Derby (G1). Multi-race guaranteed pools will be offered for the Late Pick 4 (Races 11-14), Late Pick 5 (Races 10-14) and 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 9-14). The Late Pick 4 will be guaranteed for $750,000, as will the Rainbow 6 pool if the popular jackpot wager is not solved by Saturday. The Late Pick 5 pool will be guaranteed at $500,000. The Fountain of Youth has been carded as Race 13 (Post time- 5:32 p.m.). “I think my colt, Signalman, is certainly the most experienced at the highest level. He’s already beaten some of them that are running back in there and there are other ones that are unknown quantities,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. “But you got to get them ready and bring them over there and get the job done. I’m pretty confident going over there, but we’ll find out Saturday.” Signalman finished a late-closing second in his May 17 five-furlong debut at Churchill behind Sir Truebadour, who went on to win the Bashford Manor (G3) two races later. Signalman returned to capture a seven-furlong maiden special weight race at Saratoga Sept. 1 before finishing second in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland, taking third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and winning the Kentucky Jockey Club. “In his first race he was second going five furlongs at Churchill. For a big horse, that is a lot to overcome. He’s been a nice horse from the beginning. When he broke his maiden at Saratoga, we knew we were on to something,” McPeek said. “Since then, since we’ve stretched him out, he’s done everything right.” Brian Hernandez Jr. has the return mount aboard Signalman. The least experienced and perhaps most exciting Fountain of Youth entrant is Juddmonte Farms, Inc.’s Hidden Scroll, a dazzling debut winner at Gulfstream Park Jan. 26. Hidden Scroll caught the bettors by surprise when he registered a 14-length front-running victory at 8-1 odds, but trainer Bill Mott was only surprised by how utterly dominant the homebred son of Hard Spun proved to be while running a mile over a sloppy track in 1:34.82. “It was a surprise he won as easily as he did, but I think we were excited and high on him going into the race,” Mott said. “I don’t think it was any surprise to us that he won, but the way he won in the fashion that he won was a bit of a surprise and awesome, to put it mildly.” Joel Rosario has the return mount aboard Hidden Scroll. If Hidden Scroll’s stakes debut is the most anticipated among the least experienced Fountain of Youth entrants, Global Campaign’s entry into stakes competition may well be the second-most awaited. Owned by Sagamore Farm LLC and WinStar Farm LLC, the son of Curlin has produced two brilliant victories to launch his career during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet. The Kentucky-bred colt debuted with a 5 ¾ lengths at seven furlongs Jan. 5 before taking a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance by 2 ¼ lengths a month later. “I don't know how many are going to be in there, but I would like to get a decent post, and I don't want to run on a sloppy racetrack but I would like to run here if we could,” trainer Stanley Hough said. “He'll definitely be prepared to run if that's what we decide to do.” Regular rider Luis Saez has the call. Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable’s Bourbon Lane also registered an eye-opening performance at Gulfstream Park in his most recent start. The son of Tapit captured a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance Jan. 18 by a going-away 2 ¼ lengths in 1:43.54. The Mark Hennig-trained colt previously won his Nov. 14 debut at Aqueduct over next-out winner Moretti by 2 ¼ lengths. He returned to finish a wide fourth under Irad Ortiz Jr. in the Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct Dec. 1. “He has a competitive nature. But also he has a good mind. Since he ran that first time, it’s like he’s just waiting for the rider to tell him what to do next,” Hennig said. “I think Irad rode him that way. If you go back, he gave him a little extra education in the Remsen, which benefited us in the last race.” Hennig is hopeful Bourbon War will make good strides on the Road to the Triple Crown in the Fountain of Youth, which offers qualifying points (50-20-10-1) for the May 4 Kentucky Derby. “We’d like to see another move forward and pick up some points in the process. That would be the goal,” Hennig said. Ortiz has the mount. R. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables’ Vekoma is among of the most inexperienced Fountain of Youth participants, but the undefeated son of Candy Ride will bring graded-stakes credentials into Saturday’s race. Trained by George Weaver, the Kentucky-bred colt captured the mile Nashua (G3) at Aqueduct despite a less-than-clean start in only his second career race Nov. 4. Vekoma debuted Sept. 23 at Belmont Park with a sharp 1 ¼-length triumph over next-out winners Epic Dreamer and Mihos, running six furlongs in a swift 1:08.93. “This looks like a contentious race with some good horses in there. I guess we’re going to find out where we stand,” Weaver said. “We’ve had a little time off, now we’re ready to get back in action. Vekoma will make his first start around two turns Saturday. “We have to ask him the question. It’s that time of year. He’s a very talented horse and we need to find out whether we’ll be headed to the Derby,” Weaver said. “He’s a good colt. If he can get a mile and a sixteenth, we’ll take on a mile and an eighth and see how he does that.” Manuel Franco has the return mount. Grade 1 stakes-placed Code of Honor will seek to rebound from a disappointing effort in the Jan. 5 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Saturday. W.S. Farish’s homebred son of Noble Mission had a troubled start before turning in a flat fourth in the mile Mucho Macho Man. “I thought maybe he needed the race. He’s never been a really big-statured horse, so I never trained him hard. I just made up my mind that I was going to get into him and see if he could take it physically. So far, he has,” said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, who saddled Orb for a victory the 2013 Fountain of Youth on his way to triumphs in the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby (G1). “I think he’s had a good two months.” Code of Honor had raced twice previously, registering a front-running victory at six furlongs in his Aug. 18 debut at Saratoga and recovering from a stumbling start to finish second in the mile Champagne (G1) at Belmont Oct. 6. McGaughey awarded the return mount to Hall of Famer John Velazquez. Calumet Farm’s Everfast will seek to improve on a second-place finish in the Feb. 2 Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Saturday. The Dale Romans-trained colt made a late surge after stalking the pace to finish just a length behind Harvey Wallbanger at 1 1/16 miles. The son of 2012 Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy took bettors by surprise, going to post for his seventh career start at 128-1 “He surprised me. He surprised me that he lost. That was the only surprise that I saw. I was disappointed coming out of it,” said Romans, who saddled Promises Fulfilled for an 18-1 upset victory in last year’s Fountain of Youth. “I thought he would win. He just seems good. He acts like he’s better than the races beforehand and I thought he’d run a big race, and he did.” Everfast, who will once again be ridden by Chris Landeros, had finished off the board in his three previous graded-stakes starts in the Bashford Manor, Breeders’ Futurity and Kentucky Jockey Club. Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and William Branch’s Frosted Grace will stretch out around two turns for the first time in the Fountain of Youth. The son of Mark Valeski broke a step slowly from his rail post position and finished fifth in the Feb. 2 Swale (G3) at seven furlongs. Epic Dreamer, who finished second behind Vekoma in his debut and tired while finishing fourth in the Holy Bull; Gladiator King, a six-furlong stakes winner at Tampa Bay Downs four starts back; and Union Destiny, who finished third in the Dec, 8 Smooth Air; round out the field.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby heats up in South Florida this Saturday with the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes, a key stepping stone on the path to the Xpressbet Florida Derby and the Triple Crown. Among the contenders for this year’s Xpressbet Fountain of Youth are impressive maiden winner Hidden Scroll, G2 winner Signalman and recent allowance winners Bourbon War and Global Campaign. Get to know the contenders below and find out which entrants I think are contenders…and which are just pretenders. But first, a note from the Promotions Department… Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes Money-Back Guarantee We’re offering our famous Money-Back Guarantee on 23 key Kentucky Derby prep races, including the Grade 2 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth. Bet your horse to Win and get your cash back, up to $10, if they finish 2nd or 3rd. Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes Money-Back Guarantee Xpressbet Fountain of Youth 3 Million Point Split We’re offering our popular 1 Million Point Split on the Early Pick 4 (Races 2 – 5), Middle Pick 4 (Races 7 – 10) and $750K Guaranteed Late Pick 4 (Races 11 – 14). Hit one (or all three) to Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points for each bet. Xpressbet Fountain of Youth 3 Million Point Split And now, back to the horses…. 1. CODE OF HONOR (6/1) Pedigree: Noble Mission (GB) x Reunited, by Dixie UnionOwner: W.S. FarishTrainer: Shug McGaugheyJockey: John Velazquez Last Race: 4th, beaten 7 3/4-lengths, in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ Points: 4 (#22 on list)Workouts: February 25 He broke his maiden going wire-to-wire at Saratoga in August and overcame a bad stumble at the start of the G1 Champagne to finish 2nd. Despite a ‘bumped start’ designation in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes on January 5 he got away relatively well that day and was just slow into stride and came up flat down the lane. It’s hard to find an excuse for that race, but it was his first off a 91-day layoff and Shug isn’t the type to have him fully cranked. Getting the feeling that maybe that maiden race in New York wasn’t terribly strong (five of the eight who finished behind him are still maidens) and the depth of the Champagne can also be questioned. Verdict: Can’t toss him completely but he doesn’t look like a major candidate here, especially on the win end. PRETENDER. 2. EPIC DREAMER (20/1) Pedigree: Orb x Dixie Crisp, by Dixieland BandOwner: Epic Racing, LLCTrainer: Kelly BreenJockey: Tyler Gaffalione‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ Points: 1 (#46 on list)Last Race: 4th, beaten 2 1/4-lengths in the G2 Holy Bull StakesOne of two entrants in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth sired by another FOY winner (the other being Union’s Destiny), this son of ’13 winner Orb employs an opposite running style of his sire. While Orb was a deep closer that burst onto the scene late in races, Epic Dreamer does his best running up front. He took the field in the G2 Holy Bull to the head of the lane and succumbed late to a number of challengers. Unfortunately, this race is full of speed horses and if he couldn’t hold off the late runners that day, I can’t expect him to withstand an early barrage and late barrage Saturday.Verdict: Know his name down the line but for Saturday he’s a PRETENDER.3. GLADIATOR KING (50/1) Pedigree: Curlin x Golden Dawn, by HennessyOwner: Thoroughbred Champions Training CenterTrainer: Jaime MejiaJockey: Jorge SolorzanoLast Race: 3rd, beaten 1-length, in the Texas Glitter Stakes‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ Points: 0A late (and unusual) addition to the field, Gladiator King is blessed with one attribute – speed. He’s made the front in a number of turf sprints and can cut sub-:22 fractions if need be. That won’t get the job done on Saturday, but he’ll have an impact on the race. Note the rider is winless in the US, with 11 starts combined between 2016 and 2019.Verdict: PRETENDER, but he may upset the apple cart for a few of his rivals.4. BOURBON WAR (10/1) Pedigree: Tapit x My Conquestadory, by Artie Schiller Owner: Bourbon Lane Stable & Lake Star StableTrainer: Mark HennigJockey: Irad Oritz Jr. Last Race: 1st by 2 1/4-lengths in a Gulfstream Park Allowance Race‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ Points: 1 (#47 on list)Workouts: February 22 | February 8 He sandwiched victories around a disappointing 4th in the G2 Remsen but in his defense it’s tough to close into a race where the field goes slow early/fast late. He’ll get a better setup in the FOY and his allowance win here on January 18 should’ve tightened the screws and knocked off any rust. It’s a vote of confidence that Irad Ortiz picked him over Epic Dreamer. From a weight perspective he gets in on the cheap (116 pounds, compared to 122 for Signalman and Vekoma) and the expected race shape should hit his closing kick right between the eyes. Verdict: Major CONTENDER and very likely to finish in the Top 2 or 3. 5. VEKOMA (7/2) Pedigree: Candy Ride (ARG) x Mona de Momma, by Speightstown Owner: R.A. Hill Stable & Gatsas Stables Trainer: George Weaver Jockey: Manny Franco Last Race: 1st by 1 3/4-lengths in the G3 Nashua Stakes ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ Points: 0Workouts: February 16 He’s a perfect 2-for-2 in his career and I was very impressed by his stalk-and-pounce score over Network Effect and Call Paul in the G3 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct in November. He’s got plenty to overcome here – first two-turn race, first start in three months and first race outside of New York – but he seems to have what it takes to handle that. He appeared to be much the best when working in company with stakes-winning older horse Breaking Lucky and you have to believe he’ll be ready to roll on Saturday if they have any hopes of racing in the Kentucky Derby.Verdict: He’s a major CONTENDER.6. SIGNALMAN (9/2) Pedigree: General Quarters x Trip South, by Trippi Owner: Magdalena Racing Stable, Tommie Lewis & David Bernsen Trainer: Ken McPeekJockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.Last Race: 1st by a neck in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ Points: 18 (#5 on list) Workouts: February 23 | February 16 | February 9He overcame an impossible post (#13) to finish 3rd in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, beaten just 3 1/2-lenths by champion Game Winner. He came out of that race to win the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes by a neck. Only cause for concern is the second place finishers that day, Plus Que Parfait, has since finished 5th and 13th in a pair of Fair Grounds preps. Since he already has a nice basis of Kentucky Derby Points he doesn’t need to be fully cranked for this and I won’t be surprised if we see a bigger jump forward from him prior to his next race. Verdict: He’s never run a clunker yet and hard to believe this would be his first. He’s a CONTENDER but I’ll use him more underneath than on top. 7. HIDDEN SCROLL (9/5) Pedigree: Hard Spun x Sheba Queen, by Empire MakerOwner: Juddmonte Farms Inc.Trainer: Bill MottJockey: Joel RosarioLast Race: 1st by 14-lengths in a Gulfstream Park Maiden Race‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ Points: 0Workouts: February 22 He looked as good as a horse can when he broke his maiden by 14-lengths in the slop on Pegasus World Cup Day and that he earned a 104 Beyer Speed Figure in the process puts him in Justify stratosphere. It’s tough to knock a performance like that (and I certainly won’t try) but he did take advantage of what appeared to be a speed-favoring strip that day and the field he was in against may not have been strong. Joel Rosario rides in from California to keep the mount and he looks like the type of horse that will be able to rate if needed. And I expect that to be the plan on Saturday. He’s going to be a short price and it’s a big step up from a one-turn MSW to a two-turn G2 but the sky appears to be the limit.Verdict: He’s not a stone cold since but he’s clearly a CONTENDER.8. GLOBAL CAMPAIGN (10/1) Pedigree: Curlin x Globe Trot, by A.P. IndyOwner: Sagamore Farm LLC & WinStar Farm LLCTrainer: Stanley HoughJockey: Luis SaezLast Race: 1st by 2 1/4-lengths in a Gulfstream Park Allowance Race‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ Points: 0Workouts: February 24 He and Code of Honor are the toughest two horses for me to figure out in this race. Both have serious credentials and will take money, but neither is without their questions. Global Campaign won a first-level allowance race on February 9 under wraps in his first try around two-turns but I don’t like that his Beyer dropped eight points from his one-turn debut and visually he was slowing down late. Was that a product of him getting tired or of him being wrapped up by Luis Saez? And that race was only three weeks ago, so can he bounce back here? He’s another speed horse and he’s drawn outside of Epic Dreamer, Gladiator King and Hidden Scroll so Luis Saez will have to work hard to carve out a trip.Verdict: He’s a good horse in a race loaded with good horses but I’m going to mark him as a PRETENDER this time because I don’t see him finishing in the Top 3.9. EVERFAST (20/1) Pedigree: Take Charge Indy x Awesome Surprise, by Awesome AgainOwner: Calumet FarmTrainer: Dale RomansJockey: Chris LanderosLast Race: 2nd beaten 1-length in the G2 Holy Bull Stakes‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ Points: 4 (#25) Workouts: February 23 His last race was far and away the best of his career and he looked strong throughout the G2 Holy Bull. He was 128/1 that day and came within a length of winning. Kinda crazy. He won’t be that price again but, as a handicapper, it’s tough to accept that race was the ‘new normal’ for him. After all, he’d been beaten 12 1/2-lengths and 51 1/4-lengths in two prior starts. His Beyer that day (83) was the first time he went above 70. Problem is, this field just looks deeper than the Holy Bull and, even if he runs back to that race, he may not finish in the Top 4 or 5.Verdict: I don’t think he’ll replicate his last race, making him a PRETENDER here.10. FROSTED GRACE (30/1) Pedigree: Mark Valeski x Class, by Thunder GulchOwner: Reeves Thoroughbred Racing & William BranchTrainer: Kathy RitvoJockey: Jonathan GonzalesLast Race: 5th beaten 3 3/4-lengths in the G3 Swale Stakes‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ Points: 0He’s a nice horse, but he looks more like an allowance type than a G2 runner. He performed decently in the G3 Swale against the likes of Call Paul and Topper T but he still finished 5th that day. The connections couldn’t get his regular rider Paco Lopez (he’s out on suspension) and the outside draw in this two-turn race appears to be the nail in the coffin.Verdict: Seems like everything is stacked against him. PRETENDER.11. UNION’S DESTINY (30/1) Pedigree: Union Rags x Ms Anna Destiny, by AnabaaOwner: Los Samanes, LLCTrainer: Juan AvilaJockey: Leonel ReyesLast Race: 3rd beaten 3-lengths in the Smooth Air Stakes‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ Points: 0Like the case with Frosted Grace, everything seems to be stacked against him. His outside post is a difficulty that only an exceptional horse could overcome and he’s not quite that. He ran a solid race in the Smooth Air on December 8, especially considering that was off a 4-month layoff. You’d expect him to move forward from there but he missed some time in December and has been off nearly three months since that start. With another post and maybe some more seasoning you could argue he belongs, but this field is too deep for that conversation.Verdict: PRETENDER. I won’t be shocked if he goes on and wins something at some point (not necessarily a graded race) but the cards are stacked against him here. My Top 4 Picks1. Bourbon War2. Hidden Scroll3. Vekoma4. Signalman