"He came directly from Hollywood Park to Palm Meadows right after he won the CashCall Futurity and we sort of, at that time, decided that we felt the Fountain of Youth was a good starting point for him," said Pletcher in a national conference call earlier this week. "We freshened him up a little bit with this race in mind and we've been very fortunate that everything's gone exactly according to plan up to this point."
Falling Sky, winner of the Grade III Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 2, will try to increase his winning streak to three. He held on to keep a neck in front of Dynamic Sky to win his first attempt at a route distance last out and will need to show improvement if he hopes to grab the win here.
He's Had Enough, from the same connections that brought us Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another, exits a third place finish in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes Feb. 2. The Doug O'Neil trainee has also appeared in three Grade I events, but has not yet shown the dominance his connections saw at this time last year with I'll Have Another. However, maybe He’s Had Enough can pull some Derby karma from his stable pony Lava Man, the retired champion who also accompanied I'll Have Another on his Kentucky Derby journey.
A newcomer worthy of mention is the Irish-bred Cerro. Trainer Graham Motion and owner Team Valor International, who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom, send out this son of Mr. Greely. Cerro was a winner last out in a $75,000 optional claimer for non-winners of more than one, and has shown steady improvement. Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps owns a piece of this colt with Team Valor, so maybe he can help him navigate the waters in the Fountain of Youth.
The remainder of the field includes Shug McGaughey’s Orb, Holy Bull fourth-place finisher Joshua’s Comprise, Eddie Kenneally’s Majestic Hussar, maiden winner Elmutahid, Mark Casse’s Sky Captain, Sam F. Davis fourth-place finisher Speak Logistics, and Gulfstream Park Derby runner-up Sr. Quisqueyano.
The race is the 11th on Gulfstream’s Saturday card with a scheduled post time of 5:35 p.m. It can be seen on HRTV and TVG. Free PPs for both the Fountain of Youth and Risen Star stakes are provided by Brisnet.
Photo: Courtesy Gulfstream Park/Jessica Hansen