Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM
A11 - Fountain of Youth
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The first of seven consecutive weekends that feature Kentucky Derby points races is upon us as a field of 11 is set to go 1 1/16 miles in the G2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
Hidden Scroll has been installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite and will likely be an even shorter price come post time. And if there was an actual “Anthony’s Eleven” this week (I PROMISE we will have one next week) he’d be at the very top of the list.4
Trained by Bill Mott, all of the rage when it comes to Hidden Scroll is based on a lone maiden win in his debut in the slop at Gulfstream on Pegasus World Cup Day.
Under Joel Rosario, Hidden Scroll broke from the rail against a dozen rivals, went straight to the lead and improved his position at every pole. He went fast early and late, going the mile in 1:34 4/5 while hitting the wire 14 lengths ahead of his nearest rival. He’ll try two turns for the first time in here and will break from post 7.
Signalman is the lone graded stakes winner in this bunch and hasn’t missed the board in his five prior starts for trainer Ken McPeek, who upset the G2 Holy Bull a few weeks back with huge longshot Harvey Wallbanger.
As for Signalman, he’ll be making his first start since overcoming a speed biased course at Churchill in late November when he rallied along the inside to win the G2 KJC in the slop under regular rider Brian Hernandez, Jr.
Prior to the KJC score, Signalman ran a bang-up second after getting bounced around a bit on the far turn in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland before Hernandez gave him a sensational ride in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to finish third. He broke from post 13 that afternoon yet still manage to work his way into contention, beaten just a little over three lengths by undefeated juvenile Eclipse champion Game Winner. He’ll break from post 6.
Vekoma returns from a four-month, November layoff looking to stay perfect in his third start for trainer George Weaver and regular rider Manny Franco.
After breaking his maiden from just off of the pace at Belmont in early fall, where he stopped the clock for six furlongs in 1:08 4/5, Vekoma stepped up in class for the G3 Nashua on Breeders’ Cup weekend at Aqueduct.
Vekoma sat a similar trip to the one he sat in his maiden tally and the result was the same, as Franco made his move on the turn and the two hit the line nearly two lengths in front of the rest. He’ll get Lasix for the first time as he tries two turns from post 5.
Code of Honor will look to rebound from a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Mucho Macho Man over this course for trainer Shug McGaughey from post 1 under John Velazquez. These connections teamed up to win this back in 2013 with eventual Kentucky Derby winner Orb.
Velazquez was aboard for his debut score, a gate-to-wire win at Saratoga in mid-August before Eric Cancel picked up the mount in the G1 Champagne at Belmont. After a bad stumble at the start that afternoon, Code of Honor recovered nicely and closed from last to get the place money.
In the Mucho Macho Man with Velazquez back aboard, Code of Honor never seemed right. He had some trouble at the start then made a big move down the backstretch to get into contention before fading from the scene when the real running began.
Trainer Stanley Hough, fresh off of a six-year training hiatus, finds himself smack dab on the Kentucky Derby trail just six months after his return with the undefeated Global Campaign.
After breaking his maiden by almost six lengths in his debut going seven furlongs, a tough distance to handle on debut, Global Campaign stretched out nicely to take an entry level allowance/optional claimer by a little over two lengths. Both wins came over this course, with jockey Luis Saez wrapping up on his charge as the neared the finish. He’ll break from post 8.
Trainer Mark Hennig finished second in this event with Strike Power last year. This season, he’s hoping Bourbon War can get him the big prize money and the 50 Kentucky Derby points that come along with it.
Bourbon War broke his maiden in an off-the-turf race at Aqueduct going a mile then wheeled back in just 17 days to finish fourth in the G2 Remsen around two turns at nine furlongs. Last out, he won an entry level allowance/optional claimer by over two lengths after finding himself in and amongst horses on the turn before making a nice move between runners to grab the lead and draw away. Leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr, rides from post 4.
Everfast finished second in the Holy Bull at over 128-1 most recently but is winless in six tries since taking his debut going seven furlongs at Ellis Park back in August. Chris Landeros rides from post 9 for Dale Romans whose Promises Fulfilled upset this race last year.
Epic Dreamer was second to Vekoma in his debut before stretching out to break his maiden going a mile next out. He set a strong pace in the Holly Bull before tiring late to finish fourth. Tyler Gaffalione rides from post 2 for Kelly Breen.
Frosted Grace, Union’s Destiny and Gladiator King round out the Fountain of Youth field.
Prep Play of the Day
Bet $20 exacta using Hidden Scroll over Code of Honor, Bourbon War and Signalman. Total is $60. Good luck!!!!
Bankroll: minus $100
Anthony “the Big A” Stabile can be heard regularly on the Horse Racing Radio Network from 3-6PM ET on Wednesday and 3-7PM ET Thursday and Friday. Tune in on Sirius 219, XM 201 or streaming live at horseracingradio.net. He also is a contributor on NYRA-TV as the co-host of Talking Horses and a backup racetrack announcer. Follow him on Twitter @thebigastabile