Hallandale Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) – Upstart, winner of the Holy Bull
Stakes, has been made the 8-5 morning line favorite for Saturday’s $400,000
Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Part of the Kentucky Derby points system, winning the Fountain of Youth is
worth 50 points toward a place in the Run for the Roses on May 2. The 1 1/16-
mile stakes is the final local prep for Gulfstream’s Florida Derby on March
Trained by Richard Violette, Upstart will be reunited with his regular jockey
Jose Ortiz on Saturday and start from post 7 in the eight-horse field.
Upstart, owned by Ralph Evans, pulled away down stretch to capture last
month’s Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park, posting a 5 1/2-length win over
Frosted while making his 3-year-old debut.
“He was a little tired for a day and a half, but after that he rebounded
quickly,” said Violette. “He’s been training really well.
“It’s pretty cool. We’ve had a nice long run with him. He’s shown his quality
since last summer. We’ve been riding the wave for a long time. It’s wonderful.
You wish you had more horses like Upstart, but it’s also because horses like
Upstart are so few and far between that we appreciate him even more.”
Upstart has won three of five starts for $701,880. He won his first two
starts, including the Funny Cide Stakes, at Saratoga and was second in
Belmont Park’s Champagne Stakes. He finished third in the Breeders’ Cup
Juvenile on Nov. 1.
Holy Bull runner-up Frosted is the 5-2 second pick and will break from the
favorite’s immediate inside with Irad Ortiz Jr., Jose’s brother, riding.
“The race shape and the one hole didn’t help us any. It wasn’t terrible, but
it just didn’t help us that day,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said about the
Owned by Godolphin Racing, Frosted has just one win but four seconds in five
starts for $227,400.
“He’s improving all the time. We were second best in the Holy Bull and
hopefully we’re not second best in the Fountain of Youth,” McLaughlin said.
“Our horse is a big strong horse and every race he seems to be getting better
and better. He can handle the racing well, so we’re excited to bring him back
The 4-1 third choice is undefeated Itsaknockout, trained by Todd Pletcher, who
will be ridden by Luis Saez from post 5. Owned by Starlight Racing, Saturday’s
start will the colt’s first in a stakes after winning his debut in December
and an allowance on Jan. 4.
“Pretty much everything has gone according to plan since his allowance win,”
Pletcher said of Itsaknockout. “We were hoping (to see a performance like
that), based on the way he trained. We thought he would run well. It was every
bit as good as we’d hoped for.
“I think he’s developed well physically. He’s done well mentally. He’s always
been a straightforward horse. He’s gotten a little bit bigger and stronger.
He’s actually gained weight since his last race. He’s a pretty easy horse to
train. He does whatever you ask him to do. He’s push button to that point.
This will be the class test that will kind of define where he is. I’m not
concerned about the distance at all.”
Here is the field for the Fountain of Youth from the rail out: Juan and Bina,
Javier Castellano, 20-1; Bluegrass Singer, Paco Lopez, 8-1; Frammento, John
Velazquez, 30-1; Gorgeous Bird, Joel Rosario, 6-1; Itsaknockout, Luis Saez,
4-1; Frosted, Irad Ortiz Jr., 5-2; Upstart, Jose Ortiz, 8-5 and Danny Boy,
Corey Lanerie. 15-1.
Post time for the Fountain of Youth will be approximately 5:30 p.m. ET.