Happy Fountain of Youth Day! 

We have entered the “Championship Series” portion of Derby preps as the Derby points are 50-20-15-10-5. A win in today’s preps will earn the winner enough points to make the Derby field. 

Aqueduct Race 9  – The Gotham – Grade III 

One Mile on the Dirt for Three Year Olds  

The Gotham occupies an interesting spot on the Derby calendar. New York has already run two nine furlong Derby preps (Remsen and Withers), but today we turn back to the flat mile.  There is a ton of early pace signed up here – but there are no obvious closers.  It’s definitely a spread race in horizontal plays.  You could easily go seven deep here. 

  1. Clear the Air: Cross entered at Turfway Park – which is where he broke his maiden two back while sprinting on the polytrack.  Last out at Turfway he ran decently going a mile and once he got himself sorted out he ran on in the final furlong. Class test, Lasix comes off. Passing.
  2. Howgreatisnate: Went four for four as a two year while sprinting for trainer Andrew Simoff. Makes his first start of his three year old season and stretches out to the flat mile.  Last start was at Parx where he won an overnight stakes without Lasix (78 Beyer).  Stalk and pounce type. Speed figs hovering around 80.  Gets the acid test. I don’t think so.
  3. Mr. Swagger: Ships in from his Parx base for Juan Avila where he has been training since breaking his maiden at the Big A going six and half. That was a key race as all three runners that have returned have hit the board with two wins and two runners have posted 93 Beyers. Blinkers go ON, Lasix comes OFF. Longshot play in a wide open affair. The Pick
  4. Uncorrelated: Chad Brown/Klaravich. Broke his maiden at first asking at the Big A going six panels over a sloppy surface. Longer should suit as he is by Arrogate and out of a Harlan’s Holiday mare. Lasix comes OFF today.  Will be over bet due to the connections. Lean against.
  5. Carmel Road: Former Baffert trainee has moved to Tim Yakteen’s barn in order to qualify for Derby points. Firing bullets at Santa Anita ahead of this and ran a strong second in the Los Al Futurity in December (83 Beyer) Won at a two turn mile last summer to break his maiden. Potential pace setter. 
  6. General Banker: Most experienced runner in the field enters here after repeat distant thirds in the Jerome and Withers Stakes.  Would need to show a new dimension to win but he’ll keep running and there is going to be pace up ahead of him. Underneath in exotics.
  7. Transect: Has won both career starts while sprinting on the polytrack at Turfway Park. By Gun Runner so the dirt breeding is there but the speed figs aren’t – and while two runners from his maiden race have come back to win, the figs are not close to what is needed. Hard to see. 
  8. Fort Warren: Former Baffert trainee has been moved to the barn of Brittany Russell to be eligible for Derby points. Broke his maiden at first asking (88 Beyer) and then was a distant third in the Grade 2 San Vincent.  Comes east and stretches out another furlong. Not convinced.
  9. Clubhouse: Placed in the Jimmy Winkfield (73 Beyer) after breaking his maiden for Pletcher. Wants to be up on the pace – and there is a lot of pace here. Needs to be much faster – is that likely to happen in eighth career start? Don’t think so.
  10. Lugan Knight: Winner of the Jerome Stakes (85 Beyer) last out he was impressive leading the field the whole way and battling Arctic Arrogance the entire length of the stretch to get the top prize. Working well at Churchill since that win. Has shown the ability to rate.  Dylan Davis stays aboard. Hits the board.
  11. Slip Mahoney: Broke his maiden going today’s flat mile six weeks ago (87 Beyer) at the Big A. He had the inside post that day, was under pressure the whole way, but still held off a deep closer in the final sixteenth. Makes the jump to stakes competition. Has been training locally.  Lasix comes OFF – but he ran well without it two back. Contender.
  12. Raise Cain: Best performance for this son of Violence was two back in the Gun Runner at Fairgrounds where he was a decent second (81 Beyer). Not fast enough.
  13. Eyeing Clover: Brad Cox ships this one in from Fairgrounds where he has trained since demolishing an N2L field six weeks ago at 1/5 (87 Beyer).  Takes the next step today against stakes company and stretches out to a mile.  Has looked great in his two career starts and the extra distance shouldn’t be an issue. Face much tougher field today. 
  14. Recruiter: Cross entered at Parx on Monday in an overnight stakes. Undefeated in four career starts including a win in the Parx Juvenile last out going seven furlongs (86 Beyer). Training forwardly at Fair Hill for Cathal Lynch in advance of this race. Faces tougher today but the figs are competitive if he can get the distance. Has won three times on an off track and there should be moisture in the track. Tough post.
  15. Radio Red: Also Eligible. Broke his maiden last out for Danny Gargan in a state bred affair going six panels. If he draws in he will face open stakes company from the far outside post. Demand a price.

Picks 3-11-10-6 


Gulfstream Park Race 14 – The Fountain of Youth – Grade II 

One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt for Three Year Olds  

Reigning Juvenile Champion Forte leads this field which also includes five runners coming out of the Holy Bull including the winner Rocket Can and runner up Shadow Dragon.  

  1. General Jim: Earned his first win on dirt last out in the Swale at seven panels (90 Beyer). Blinkers may have made the difference. Stretches to two turns on the dirt for the first time today.  By versatile sire Into Mischief and the dam was a turf sprinter who has not thrown any foals who went long.  There are reports of a minor issue this week and he may be a scratch.  Lean against. 
  2. Legacy Isle: Was the early pace in his last two starts. In the Holy Bull he was swamped in the stretch – in the shorter Mucho Macho Man he took them all the way but was DQed.  Will not get an uncontested lead today but the Blinkers OFF move may indicate a change in strategy.  Beyer tops are in the low 70s. Not today.
  3. 3. Shadow Dragon: Mott trainee filled out the exacta in the Holy Bull at 34-1 (81 Beyer). Closing style is a bit against it with the short stretch  – but he overcame that last out to finish within a length of the winner. New York bred should get pace to run into. Underneath in exotics.
  4. Forte: First start of the year for the reigning Juvenile Champion. Last year he won three Grade 1s – the Hopeful, the Breeders Futurity, and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (100 Beyer).  Might not be turned all the way as the Florida Derby is the primary goal. Should stalk the early pace.  Irad staying in the irons.  Trainer Stat: Pletcher wins at only an 11% rate (3/28) with three year olds first off a layoff between 60-180 days in dirt stakes races and has a $2 ROI of $0.76. Most likely winner. Underlay.
  5. Il Miracolo: Antonio Sano tries again with this Gun Runner offspring after being nowhere near it in the Mucho Macho Man and Holy Bull. The horse’s name translates from Italian as ‘The Miracle” and that’s pretty what would be needed for him to win here. Early pace. No thanks.
  6. Blazing Sevens: Chad Brown runner makes his first start since a decent fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (93 Beyer). That followed a nice win in the Champagne where he came with a rush in the slop at the quarter pole and then drew off (91 Beyer). Finished behind Forte twice last year but will be running late. Has this one taken a step forward in the past four months? Rosario takes the mount. Dangerous. Value play. The Pick.
  7. Mage: Won at first asking for Gustavo Delgado on the front end going seven furlongs at Gulfstream six weeks ago (89 Beyer). Will not have an uncontested lead today as he takes on stakes company and two turns for the first time. Trainer Stat: Gustavo Delgado is 1/27 in graded stakes. Know him early.
  8. Rocket Can: Winner of the Holy Bull (82 Beyer) stalked the pace and pounced in the stretch to outlast his barn mate Shadow Dragon.  Versatile runner has shown he knows how to find the wire but will need to be faster.  Should sit in the second flight behind the early speed. Hits the board.
  9. Cyclone Mischief: Dale Romans trainee failed to fire in the Holy Bull after winning his prior effort with a 90 Beyer.  But that win was with Lasix – his Beyers have not topped 80 without Lasix. Don’t see it.   
  10. Dangerous Ride: Longshot entry by Carlos David won an optional claimer going seven furlongs (75 Beyer) which was his first dirt win after a number of synthetic and turf races. Outside of a bullet workout I don’t see the attraction.  Lasix comes OFF. Not in the cards.   

Picks 6-4-8-3