The $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) runneth over with high-profile Kentucky Derby (G1) hopefuls, making it the most eagerly anticipated event on a banner Saturday at Gulfstream Park. The 13-race card encompasses nine stakes, including the companion $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. The Fountain of Youth and Davona Dale each offer points on the 50-20-10-5 format on the respective Derby and Oaks leaderboards.
Fountain of Youth (G2) – Race 12 (5:42 p.m. ET)
Remsen (G2) winner Mo Donegal was installed as the 3-1 favorite after his fast-finishing third in the Feb. 5 Holy Bull (G3), also at this 1 1/16-mile distance. But the Todd Pletcher trainee was ruled out Wednesday. Connections were already uncertain to go forward once he drew post 12, and Daily Racing Form‘s Jay Privman reported that Mo Donegal spiked a fever.
His stablemate, unbeaten Emmanuel, figured to receive more support than his 9-2 odds imply, and he is sure to be the market mover now. A debut romper around Gulfstream’s one-turn mile, Emmanuel sailed through his two-turn practice in a Tampa Bay Downs allowance.
Simplification, a gallant runner-up in the Holy Bull after blowing the start, is pegged at 7-2. The Antonio Sano trainee will attempt to use his early speed this time, as in his stunning victory in the Mucho Macho Man S. two back. He gets a new rider in Jose Ortiz.
Rattle N Roll returns for the first time since his terrific closing rush in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. A bruised foot kept him out of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), and trainer Ken McPeek has zeroed in on this spot for a comeback. Another prominent two-year-old of 2021, Saratoga Special (G2) star High Oak, has been sidelined since his fourth in the Hopeful (G1).
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile third Giant Game, a subpar eighth in the Holy Bull, was subsequently found to have displaced his palate. The Dale Romans colt hopes to improve now that he’s had a throat procedure. Stablemate Howling Time, winner of the Street Sense S. at Churchill Downs, was last seen finishing fifth in the key Kentucky Jockey Club (G2).
In Due Time comes off a smashing local allowance win for Kelly Breen, and A. P.’s Secret likewise steps up from an entry-level allowance score over the one-turn mile. Also trying two turns are Swale (G3) runner-up Dean Delivers, Pasco S. victor Markhamian, and distant Limehouse S. third O Captain. Holy Bull fourth Galt, Songbird’s full brother, was the also-eligible in the overflow field of 13. He’ll now get in with the impending scratch of Mo Donegal.
Davona Dale (G2) – Race 6 (2:40 p.m. ET)
Girl with a Dream ranks as the 3-1 choice on the morning line. The Brad Cox filly faces a distance question going a mile, however, as her three-race winning streak consists of sprints. But the daughter of Practical Joke does own a victory over the track in the seven-furlong Forward Gal (G3).
Pletcher’s undefeated Classy Edition has to pass a similar test, following a trio of romps versus New York-breds as a juvenile. So does Myrtlewood S. victress Sweet Dani Girl, third in Churchill’s Fern Creek S. in her latest.
Outfoxed has compiled a three-stakes skein, along with routing credentials in the My Dear Girl division of the Florida Sire S. The Bill Mott trainee shortened up off the layoff and still got the job done in the Jan. 15 Gasparilla S. at Tampa.
Cocktail Moments, who rolled in her Churchill debut, was a better-than-appears third in the Untapable S. at Fair Grounds. The 2-for-2 Kathleen O. exits a tour de force over this track and one-mile trip in the Cash Run S., where Mi Negrita was a distant second.