Equibase Analysis: Irish War Cry Puts Perfect Record On The Line In G2 Fountain Of Youth

The 75th running of the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes is the second race in the Kentucky Derby Championship Series offering 50 all-important points to the winner that will most like be enough to enter the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby in 63 days. Coming off an eye-catching three and three-quarter length victory in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes at the same distance over the track four weeks ago, Irish War Cry appears to be very tough once again. His biggest threat may be Holy Bull runner-up Gunnevera, who won the Grade 2 Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes in November. Practical Joke won a pair of graded stakes last summer and fall, the Hopeful Stakes and the Champagne Stakes, before a third place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and is returning from four months on the sidelines. Grade 2 Swale Stakes runner-up Three Rules stretches back out to the distance of his win in the Florida Sire In Reality Stakes win last October, while Huracan Americo makes his United States debut off a visually impressive win in the Group 1 Derby Nacional Stakes in Peru. Made You Look is an interesting contender as he is a multiple graded stakes winner on turf, most recently in the Grade 3 Dania Beach Stakes in January, trying dirt for the first time in his seventh career start.

Main contenders:

Irish War Cry led from start to finish last month in the Holy Bull Stakes, the third race of his career and first around two turns. He doesn't need the lead to win, however, as demonstrated by his ninth to first rally in his debut last fall. Not only did Irish War Cry win the Holy Bull, he did so in “ridden out” fashion, a comment used by chart callers to imply a horse was not being asked for his best. Improving to a career best and field high 110 Equibase Speed Figure and with expected improvement in his third start and second route off a layoff, Irish War Cry is the one to beat in this year's Fountain of Youth Stakes.

Gunnevera appeared to make up no ground in the last eighth of a mile in the Holy Bull, and that is certainly the case as the winner was just as strong entering the stretch as he was passing the wire. However, that doesn't tell the whole story as Gunnevera had to steady on the rail just before a quarter of a mile to go, causing him to lose momentum. When jockey Javier Castellano angled Gunnevera out on the turn, the colt accelerated pretty quickly to go from fourth to second although there was little chance of catching the winner. Gunnevera won the Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes before the Holy Bull with a career best 105 figure, rather easily and with a big burst of speed to go from ninth to first before entering the stretch. As such, if Castellano can have Gunnevera in the clear on the turn and get the colt to issue that kind of challenge to Irish War Cry, he may be able to turn the tables on his nemesis and win the race.

Huracan Americo is a Florida-bred colt who has run twice to date, both starts in Peru. In his debut running six and one-half furlongs, Huracan Americo finished fourth of nine. Stretched out to a mile and one-half and placed in the top race for three year olds in that country, the Derby Nacional, Huracan Americo finished with a flourish to win going away. Now, there's no telling the quality of the horses he faced in that race, but as a horse bred to run all day as a son of 2010 Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer, I would be kicking myself if I did not consider Huracan Americo a contender in the Fountain of Youth.

About some others: Beasley earned a stakes quality 106 figure when second at the distance over the track last month and continues to improve so he may be a factor in the exacta at least. Practical Joke won the first three starts of his career (85, 97, then 101 figures) including two graded stakes before a third place effort in his first try around two turns in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. If he's ready to run off a four month layoff he must be respected as a contender. Lookin for Eight goes around two turns for the first time off a pair of seven furlong sprints, the most recent an easy three length win with a 100 figure. Purchased privately since the win, he is bred to run well at the distance but the post could prove problematic with the first turn coming up very quickly, necessitating jockey Leparoux to ask the colt for speed to get good position or taking him far back so as not to lose a lot of ground going wide. Made You Look earned a 98 figure winning the Dania Beach Stakes on turf in January and tries dirt for the very first time in his seventh career start, raising a lot of question marks.

The rest of the field, with their best representative Equibase Speed Figures, is Quinientos (99), Talk Logistics (88), Takaful (88) and Three Rules.

My Selections:
Irish War Cry
Huracan Americo

The post Equibase Analysis: Irish War Cry Puts Perfect Record On The Line In G2 Fountain Of Youth appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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