Gulfstream Park—Race 14
The Xpressbet Fountain of Youth (Grade II)
1 & 1/16th Miles on Dirt for Three-Year-Olds
Analysis by Michael Patricks
Just eight weeks remain until the Kentucky Derby which means for our purposes that most thoroughbreds will begin their descent into Louisville with their penultimate prep races, one of which commences this weekend. A reminder to make plans and join us here at the Jockey Club for the 144th Run for the Roses. Turf club tables go on sale beginning Thursday, April 5th. Call 707-524-6340 or visit http://www.sonomacountyfair.com/race-track.php for further details.
Headlining the three-year-old crop is Chad Brown’s Good Magic. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner shows up as a solid 7/5 morning line favorite in a fairly deep and talented field in the Fountain of Youth. Let’s kick their tires a bit and see what we’ve got on our hands for Saturday’s main event.
1-He Takes Charge 20/1 ML– Connections paid $625,000 for the son of Tapit. He’s been a late bloomer in terms of figuring it all out. Five tries were needed to garner the proverbial diploma. He did win at today’s distance and on this surface most recently but even though he’s trained by one of the best in the business in Mark Casse, this is an uphill climb for sure. Can he improve 20 Beyer points in just three weeks while taking on winners? I’m not flinching.
2-Free Drop Billy 9/2 ML– $200,000 purchase at auction. I was a bit hard on him in my analysis of the Holy Bull, but he stepped up and ran a good race while chasing Audible to the finish. He’s a candidate to step forward and Romans has a couple pace pressers to ensure him a decent set up. The one bad race on his resume was at Del Mar in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile so you have to think he lands somewhere on the ticket. Saez bails for Strike Power but Albarado knows him well; contender.
3-Peppered 30/1 ML– $60,000 purchase makes his 2018 bow after establishing his racing foundation in Canada. He suffered a dismal trip in his first dirt race and drew impossibly for the assignment anyway before being herded out by a loose horse on the clubhouse turn. Dam ran just one time at Ellis Park on turf in 2010 and her only other foal was a maiden special winner at Belterra Park in the slop who hit the sidelines thereafter and was later seen in $5,000 restricted claiming races without much success; must show he can cut it on dirt and at this level without “cracking”; putting the pen through him.
4-Strike Power 4/1 ML– Homebred has done little wrong in his two starts and did good work in the Swale last time while extending out an extra 330 yards in distance. He’ll be asked to do the same yet again in the Fountain of Youth and trainer Mark Hennig has put a couple maintenance drills into him to help inflate the tires. This is the dam’s third foal to race, the others with limited success to date. Even though Luis Saez stays aboard there is going to be speed coming at him from the outside and this barn is an eye-popping 0-for-31 going sprint-to-route. The 32nd time may be the charm, but I won’t be sticking my Benjamins out at 4/1; must prove it.
5-Storm Runner 15/1 ML– Rodney Dangerfield special–he was haltered for a mere $5,000 at auction in October of 2016 and debuted at Ellis Park against straight maidens last August, finishing 2nd at 159/1! The bug boy who rode him lost the stick turning for home, or he could have paid $321.20 to win on a $2 ticket. He seemed to be a less-than-stellar type on grass but picked up his feet on dirt last time out to beat the highly-regarded Mississippi here at Gulfstream. That race was quite erratically run, and the chart note of “greenly lane, lasted” is about the phrasing I would have used to describe it. I’ll be pulling for the no-collar type to beat the white collars sentimentally, but I think he’s more likely to enjoy shopping at Ross over Nordstrom; pass.
6-Good Magic 7/5 ML– Million dollar purchase captured the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar at a healthy price, knocking Bolt d’Oro off his perch as the best two-year-old in the land. This will be his fourth star on as many different surfaces but he flat out runs every time he goes out there. Good Magic also has the only triple digit routing Beyer in the field. He’s the second of three foals from his dam—his older half-bro is running against nickel claimers at Mahoning Valley, and younger half-bro is by Speightstown and has not yet raced since he is a newly-turned two-year-old. I got in the way of Chad Brown last week–I don’t feel like getting run over by that train twice in seven days, he’s the choice.
7- Gotta Go 10/1 ML– Fetched a quarter million at auction and had a productive season as a juvenile before undergoing a nightmare trip in the rodeo-like running of the Kentucky Jockey Club under the lights of Churchill Downs. That race looked like a setback for him and he was freshened subsequently. He definitely needed his comeback effort behind Strike Power last start and he figures to move forward with the added ground whereas Strike Power must prove the added distance is to his liking. I think he steps forward again and can find his way onto the ticket; longshot look.
8-Marconi 8/1 ML– Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) was an Italian inventor who essentially developed the first radio telegraphic system. He was also credited for his greatness in the 1985 classic, “We Built This City”, which was voted as the worst song of all time in 2004 by Blender magazine. In the song, the lyrics state: “Marconi plays the mamba”. So, now we know who Marconi is (or was) but what is the mamba? The band may have meant to say mambo (a Latin dance originating from Cuba) but the lyrics are mamba. Well, a mamba is a snake and perhaps one of the deadliest there is known to man and are mostly arboreal, whereas the black mamba (no, not Kobe Bryant) is largely terrestrial. So, how Marconi could have played “the mamba” or even danced the mamba with Starship on stage is totally beyond me, as he wasn’t even Latin. So, whatever it is that I have said here today ?!?!? you should just realize the positivity that handicapping cannot be more difficult than trying to synthesize this, and yet Starship used many synthesizers to escape away with millions in the bank after recording a song that several band members have detested ever recording.
Maybe the band members are the silent partners of Bridlewood Farms who own the equine specimen in partnership with Michael Tabor and decided to spend $2,000,000 of the song’s proceeds on the Tapit son. He’s had a respectable beginning to his career competing exclusively at nine furlongs, so this race will be a slight cutback in distance for him. I’ve read quotes from Todd Pletcher that this colt is still kind of figuring things out and as a result I think it’s advisable to use him on lower rungs, rather than center on him as playing the role of show stopper. Regardless however, the pace setters should hear him coming from somewhere near the back of the back for a minor award; can get a small slice.
9-Machismo 15/1 ML– $140,000 purchase by More Than Ready put it all together in start number four and at a healthy mutuel of $18.00. This is his two-turn debut and first try against winners which could be quite problematic. He’s going to knock heads early with Strike Power and should be pushed along by Promises Fulfilled to the outside, thus giving him no breather at all. The barn has had little success on the stretch out and even though it’s risky to toss out young and improving horses, I just get the feeling he’s about to be taught a real lesson in class as he attempts to climb the ladder; manos arriba by the 3/8ths.
10-Promises Fulfilled 20/1 ML– Another who came out of the Kentucky Jockey Club. He was able to get to the lead but got out badly nearing the far turn before surrendering to a third-place finish. He’s got a terrible post assignment with his style of run and might need this race off an extended absence. Irad Ortiz doesn’t do a whole lot of riding for this barn and even though his connections paid just $37,000 for him at auction, his future should be more promising and fulfilling at other venues; want to see one before investing.