Derby Dollars Contest Analysis: Pace Makes The Race In Fountain Of Youth

The goal of the Derby Dollars Contest, sponsored by and the Paulick Report, is to score points as if wagering to win, place and show. $2,500 in cash prizes are on the line in this really fun and exciting contest. There are 17 races in the contest, including the Kentucky Derby. In the first eight races of the contest, scoring is based on a mythical $2 to win, place and show wager. This week’s race is the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park and scoring will be based on a mythical $2 win, place and show wager on whichever horse you select in the race.

Fountain of Youth Stakes contenders and analysis:
The pace scenario in this year’s Fountain of Youth will dictate its outcome. Strike Power has earned both of his wins while leading from start to finish and is stretching out from a sprint to a route, as is Machismo, who nearly led from start to finish in his 11 length win over the track last month. Promises Fulfilled not only led from start to finish when winning his first two starts but with the outside 10 post it will be incumbent on jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. to push his horse from the beginning to get good position and not go wide on the first turn. All three horses have run just over 45 seconds to the half-mile mark in front and there is no reason for them to run any differently in this race. It will only take two of the three to contest the pace on faster than average fractions and that could easily mean they will get tired late and set up the horses who are relaxed off the pace from the opening of the gate.

Main contenders:

Storm Runner is a perfect two-for-two in two-turn dirt races, the most recent of the pair at Gulfstream Park four weeks ago. That win came at the distance of the Fountain of Youth and also showed a very mature horse that understands what his job is. Storm Runner rallied nicely from fourth early, to second with about three-quarters of a mile to go, before drawing off by three lengths with an eighth of a mile to go. He did get a bit tired late to prevail by a head at the end but considering that was only his second race following two months off it was to be expected. The 111 Equibase Speed Figure Storm Runner earned in that victory was stakes quality, as it was equal to the figure Strike Power earned winning the Swale Stakes and slightly better than the 109 figure Good Magic earned winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last November. With improving to do in his third start off the layoff and with a very sharp workout coming into the race (fourth best of 39 on the day), Storm Runner can post the upset to win this year’s Fountain of Youth Stakes.

It is always a tough task for any horse to return from many months off in a two-turn race and run at peak form, but Good Magic may do just that. Good Magic raced just three times in 2017. He finished second in his debut in a maiden race at 6 1/2 furlongs in August, then he lead late before coming up a half-length short of winning the Champagne Stakes. Good Magic then posted the 11 to 1 upset in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with a fairly dominant effort to win by 4 1/4 lengths. Trainer Chad Brown is very adept at getting horses ready to run this far off a layoff and off workouts alone, as Stats Race Lens tells us he is 13 for 39 in the past two years with horses coming back from 61 to 180 days in a dirt route. With workouts every six to seven days since returning to training in January, Good Magic has every right to run as well as, or better than, when earning a 109 n the Juvenile.

Except for a ninth place effort in the Juvenile last fall, Free Drop Billy has done nothing wrong, finishing first or second in all five races. After missing by a neck in the Hopeful Stakes with a 94 figure last September, Free Drop Billy won the Breeders’ Futurity easily by four lengths in October. Rested three months after his poor Juvenile effort one month later, Free Drop Billy returned to finish second of nine in the Holy Bull Stakes last month and even though the 89 figure from that effort pales in comparison to the 109 Good Magic earned in the Juvenile and the 111 Storm Runner earned last month, we can always expect big improvement by some horses early in their three year old seasons. As such, Free Drop Billy is another contender to win this race.

Secondary contenders:
Gotta Go is a horse I will be sure to consider at least for any exotic wagers made as he should benefit from the contested early pace. He closed for second in the Swale, a race in which Strike Power controlled the tempo in front, a scenario unlikely to be repeated in this situation. Improving off his 105 figure from that effort gives Gotta Go a chance to be in the mix to be sure. Similarly, Marconi rallied from last of five to third in the Withers Stakes last month, his first start of the year. That effort earned him a career- best figure but it was 90 and far afield of what it will take to win this race. However, Marconi is trained by Todd Pletcher and won a 1 1/8-mile race in only the second start of his career so expect big improvement second off the layoff for this half-brother to 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man. Another horse with a chance to be part of the exacta or trifecta may be He Takes Charge, who like Storm Runner is a recent winner at Gulfstream Park at the distance of the Fountain of Youth. The 99 figure earned is decent enough and he too can benefit from the likely contested early pace scenario.

The rest: As previously mentioned, Strike Power is a very talented colt coming off a stakes win with one of the top figures (111) in the field. However, it appears the pace scenario conspires against him as he tries two turns for the first time. Machismo (98 last race figure) dominated by 11 lengths in a sprint over the track when breaking his maiden last month and it may be a lot to ask him to step up to this level while trying two turns at the same time. Promises Fulfilled earned a 90 figure last fall in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, his first try around two turns, after a 94 figure effort at seven furlongs. He may have a bright future but his outside post and the fact he has early speed may work against his chances to succeed. Peppered earned an 86 figure when second in the Grey Stakes last October before a 12th of 14 finish in his first race on conventional dirt in the Juvenile.

My Derby Dollars contest play in the San Felipe Stakes will be Storm Runner

The Derby Dollars Contest is free to play and offers $2,500 in cash prizes. Sign up now!

The post Derby Dollars Contest Analysis: Pace Makes The Race In Fountain Of Youth appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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