Just who will sip from the Fountain of Youth?
The legend of a spring that supposedly restores the vitality and vigor of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters may be a myth, but the horse race Saturday at Gulfstream Park, near Miami, is quite real.
All eyes will be on Kentucky Derby aspirant Hidden Scroll. He’s the precocious 3-year-old son of Hard Spun who was last seen in January leaving maiden company far behind in 14 length win on a very wet Gulfstream track.
That was on Pegasus World Cup day January 26. The Bill Mott student was quickly grabbing most of the headlines away from Pegasus winner City of Light, now at stud in Kentucky.
The $400,000 Fountain of Youth is a 50-20-10-5 race on the Kentucky Derby points schedule. The 1 1/16 mile event is part of a stakes-laden, 14-race card at Gulfstream. The Fountain of Youth serves as a local tune-up for the $1 million Florida Derby on March 30. Post time for the big race is expected at 5:32 p.m. ET.
Hidden Scroll Morning Line Favorite
Hidden Scroll is tabbed as the 9/5 morning line favorite.
Here’s the full field in post position order, trainer, jockey, weight and morning line odds:
- Code of Honor (Shug McGaughey, John Velazquez, 116), 6/1
- Epic Dreamer (Kelly Breen, Tyler Gaffalione, 116), 20/1
- Gladiator King (Jaime Mejia, Jorge Solorzano, 120), 50/1
- Bourbon War (Mark Hennig, Irad Ortiz Jr., 116), 10/1
- Vekoma (George Weaver, Manuel Franco, 122), 7/2
- Signalman (Ken McPeek, Brian Hernandez Jr., 122), 9/2
- Hidden Scroll (Bill Mott, Joel Rosario, 116), 9/5
- Global Campaign (Stanley Hough, Luis Saez, 116), 10/1
- Everfast (Dale Romans, Chris Landeros, 116), 20/1
- Frosted Grace (Kathy Ritvo, Jonathan Gonzales, 116), 30/1
- Union’s Destiny (Juan Carlos Avila, Leonel Reyes, 116), 30/1
Important Kentucky Derby Feeder Race
Thirteen Fountain of Youth runners are in the record book as Kentucky Derby winners. Five of those won both races. The last is Orb, the 2013 Fountain of Youth and Derby winner. His conditioner, Shug McGaughey, has Code of Honor in this, the 74thedition of one of the Florida’s most historic races.
It’s the time of the year when Derby hopefuls are seeking to move to the head of this year’s three-year-old class. One of those is Hidden Scroll. Others, such as the highly touted Maximus Mischief have moved aside. He’s now shelved with a minor injury placing him on the shoulder of the road to Louisville and Kentucky Derby glory, the first Saturday in May – this year May 4.
Some race fans are remaining skeptical of Hidden Scroll’s bravura maiden performance. That’s because an exceedingly wet racing surface, like the one he enjoyed in January, tends to move some horses significantly up and others drastically down – some runners love it and some hate it.
All 11 Fountain of Youth entrants will now be class tested on an expected fast track in the deepest field yet of Derby contenders.
Key Challengers Trying to Read Hidden Scroll
Among them are:
Signalman – he’s the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes winner last fall and making his 3-year-old debut for trainer Ken McPeek. McPeek also trains Holy Bull winner Harvey Wallbanger who’s absent here and will be training up to the Florida Derby.
Vekoma – this is the very promising unbeaten Nashua Stakes winner in November for trainer George Weaver. He’s a perfect 2 for 2 and is also making his initial 2019 start, his first try at two turns. He shares his odd name with a roller coaster manufacturer.
Code of Honor – a highly regarded contender who has yet to live up to his reputation. He was last seen in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream on Jan. 5 where he reported home fourth. Since then, however, he’s posted a series of outstanding workouts and may finally show his true ability in response to his stepped-up conditioning program.