When you sign-up through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more >
Check out our predictions and odds for the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park!
C McGaughey III
I Ortiz Jr
*Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.
The champion juvenile of 2022, Forte returns for his first race as a 3-year-old when he tops a field of ten Kentucky Derby hopefuls in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, the son of Violence was a winner of 4-of-5 starts last year and concluded his championship season with a convincing victory in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland.
His Eclipse Award clinching win came on the heels of two other Grade 1 victories in the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga and the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.
Chief among his opposition in the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth will be the fourth-place finisher in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Blazing Sevens. Like Forte, the Chad Brown-trainee will be making his seasonal debut in the Fountain of Youth.
A son of Good Magic, he was twice beaten by the champion last year, but in between those defeats he rolled home an easy winner of a sloppy edition of the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes.
Recent stakes winners at Gulfstream Park, General Jim and Rocket Can, for trainers Shug McGaughey and Bill Mott respectively, are among the top challengers to the top two.
As a Kentucky Derby trail race, the $400,000 Fountain of Youth will offer qualifying points for the first Saturday in May on a scale of 50-20-15-10-5 to the first five finishers.
Certainly a deserving champion last year, the calendar has changed to 2023 and a whole new set of challenges await Forte. When last seen, he was not one of those juvenile eclipse award winners who just won the Breeders’ Cup to take home a championship.
A sharp debut winner in May, he rebounded from his only loss to win three Grade 1 races in impressive style. He won in the slop at Saratoga, he outdueled a rival to the wire, and he beat the best juvenile field assembled convincingly.
Working well for his first race in four months for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, he is strictly the one to beat on Saturday. Having said that, there will be little value to be found for a horse who has not run since his juvenile season.
I feel safe in saying this Good Magic colt was not as good as Forte last year. Having said that, he still might have been one of the best 2-year-olds in the country.
His Grade 1 win in the Champagne was very nice, and after a rough start, it’s hard to be too critical of his fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Still, he will need to prove he can beat Forte if he wants to win this and be a serious Kentucky Derby contender.
With a similar running style to the favorite it will really come down to how much he has moved forward in the last four months. If he has matured positively for trainer Chad Brown, he might just be able to turn the tables.
Drawn the rail on Saturday, this Into Mischief colt could use his tactical speed to sit a good trip right behind the early leaders, and get first jump ahead of the favorites. I’m not sure that will matter if Blazing Sevens, and especially Forte, run their race, though.
Proven to be a nice horse on both turf and dirt, he might just be a cut below the best. Still, with some solid efforts under his belt already this meet, including a sharp win in the 7-furlong Swale, he must be respected in the Fountain of Youth.
I believe his Swale win was more indicative of his ability than the Mucho Macho Man loss, where he had a tough trip. In with a chance, I will include him in the exotics.
This gray son of Into Mischief is the first of two for trainer Bill Mott. He was good in a pair of two-turn races at Churchill Downs to close out his juvenile year, and that form was flattered when the horse that beat him late last year came back to win the million-dollar Rebel last Saturday.
While the top two favorites haven’t run yet in 2023, this one has, and ran an improved race from his 2-year-old form. He turned things up a notch in winning the Grade 3 Holy Bull four weeks ago at Gulfstream Park in his seasonal debut.
It only gets tougher on Saturday, but he looks like a progressive horse who can continue to get better for his Hall of Fame trainer. With the advantage of a recent race over the track, and likely offering solid value, he is the top pick.
This chestnut son of Good Magic looked like a runner in his debut. It came five weeks ago at Gulfstream Park, and he led early and dominated down the stretch. The fast 7-furlong victory points him out as a horse to watch.
Off only that experience, he has found a difficult spot to make his stakes debut for trainer Gustavo Delgado. Maybe if this race hadn’t come up as strong, or maybe if there was no other speed in the race, he would have a big shot to win a Derby prep in his second lifetime start like Taiba last year.
Those things didn’t happen, though, so I am not ready to pick him on Saturday after only a maiden sprint.
This late-running New York-bred comes off a very nice effort for trainer Bill Mott. Sent off as a 34/1 longshot in the Holy Bull, he rallied strongly on the outside to be second best behind his stablemate.
In three lifetime races, he has now closed well in two and fizzled out in the other. His lone victory came when he came from the clouds to beat state-bred maidens in his debut.
Perhaps he was too close to the pace in the Sleepy Hollow, but he never fired in that one. Off the last, he is worthy of consideration, especially if the pace is hot.
The race favorite in the Holy Bull came up completely empty after being in good position early. Perhaps a breathing issue was to blame, but you never know for certain that any problem like that will be quickly reversed.
Off the last race, he’s impossible to like here, but if you can draw a line through it, he does have some performances to give hope. Most notably the sharp allowance win over the track two starts back where he easily beat the next out stakes winner Litigate.
There are mixed signals with this one, but even if I take the positive stance, there are too many others I like better.
This son of Shackleford disappointed last time, fading to a well beaten fourth behind Rocket Can in the Holy Bull.
He will need to show serious improvement in this one, but if you are looking for a longshot to use in the exotics, he is not without hope. With three good races over the track before the last one, it’s a possibility that he can bounce back here.
There is other speed in the race, but if the early pace is not overly contentious, he could be a type who sticks around to fill out a spot in the exotics.
The most experienced colt in the field with nine lifetime starts, this son of Lord Nelson comes in off a 7-furlong allowance win over the track.
He showed plenty of speed in that victory, and should add to the early pace on Saturday. This will be his eight attempt in a stakes race and the toughest test one yet.
While competitive in a pair of state-bred stakes, he has not been when facing open company. He looks a bit overmatched against this group.
This son of Gun Runner has only won once in seven career starts for trainer Antonio Sano. The victory did come at Gulfstream Park, but was in his fourth try against maidens.
In three subsequent starts against stakes competition, the last two of which came at Gulfstream Park, he has not been close to winning.
Last out he was beaten ten lengths by Rocket Can in the Holy Bull. I find him hard to recommend here.
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
© Rebel Penguin ApS 2023 (a subsidiary of Gaming Innovation Group Inc.)
We support responsible gambling. 21+ Only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-Gambler.
WSN.com is run by iGaming Cloud Inc (a Gaming Innovation Group Subsidiary) and is registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) under affiliate vendor ID 89744, with the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) under certificate of registration number SWR-000148, approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a gaming service provider, under certificate registration number 117656-1, possesses a Vendor Minor sports betting license from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (account number 94414163), granted a vendor registration number VR007603-20-001 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, an interim Sports Wagering Supplier license, under license number SWS 066, issued by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, a sports betting vendor registration, under registration number #100400, issued by the Director of Gaming Licensing and Investigations of the Virginia Lottery to operate in the State of Virginia, and a Vendor Registration issued by the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.
Advertising disclosure: WSN contains links to online retailers on its website. When people click on our affiliate links and make purchases, WSN earns a commission from our partners, including ESPN and various sportsbooks.