2019 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes Cheat Sheet

Racing
Signalman, Hidden Scroll, and Vekoma (left to right) are three top contenders for the March 2 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. (Coady Photography/Eclipse Sportswire/Adam Coglianese-NYRA)

The road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve rolls into Gulfstream Park in South Florida this week for the Grade 2, $400,000 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes on March 2.

There are eleven 3-year-olds entered for the 1 1/16-mile race, which serves as a local prep for the $1 million, Grade 1 Xpressbet Florida Derby on March 30. Post time is set for 5:32 p.m. Eastern.

Five Fountain of Youth winners went on to prevail in the Kentucky Derby – most recently Orb in 2013 – and a total of 13 horses who ran in the race went on to win the first jewel of the Triple Crown.

Want a FREE $10 BET on the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes?  Check out Xpressbet.com and sign up for an online betting account using promo code CHEATSHEET. That way, once you get to know the Fountain of Youth horses in this handy Cheat Sheet, you can stop by Xpressbet.com and place your bets on Saturday, March 2.  Plus, take advantage of Xpressbet’s MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE on the race. Bet your horse to Win and get your cash back, up to $10, if they finish 2nd or 3rd. So no matter if you pick Signalman, Hidden Scroll, or someone else, your best bet is with Xpressbet.

Read on for a closer look at this year’s Fountain of Youth contenders:


1. Code of Honor (6-1)

Jockey: John Velazquez

Trainer: Shug McGaughey

Owner: W. S. Farish

Career record: 3 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $151,700

Earnings per start: $50,567

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 102

Pedigree: Noble Mission – Reunited, by Dixie Union

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Stalker/Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez teamed to win this race in 2013 with Orb, who went on to win the Kentucky Derby. McGaughey will be looking for his second Fountain of Youth win and Velazquez his fifth with Code of Honor, who showed much promise at 2 with a debut win and a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes. Code of Honor was scratched from the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile because of a fever and his 3-year-old bow was uninspiring – fourth, beaten by 7 ¾ lengths in the Jan. 5 Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream – which makes this colt from the first crop of Noble Mission a bit of a mystery. McGaughey is pleased with the way Code of Honor is training for the Fountain of Youth and there should be sufficient pace to set up his late-running style. Owner William S. Farish won the Fountain of Youth in partnership with Lil’s Lad in 1998. Grade 3 winner Reunited, by Dixie Union, is Code of Honor’s dam (mother).

Bet Code of Honor in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes


2. Epic Dreamer (20-1)

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Trainer: Kelly Breen

Owner: Epic Racing

Career record: 4 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $73,050

Earnings per start: $18,263

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 100

Pedigree: Orb – Dixie Crisp, by Dixieland Band

Color: Dark Bay or Brown

Running style: Pacesetter/Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Epic Dreamer set a strong pace in the Grade 2 Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull Stakes on Feb. 2 and led in early stretch before fading to finish fourth, 2 ¼ lengths behind winner Harvey Wallbanger. He is unplaced in two tries against stakes competition, but he put forth an improved performance in the Holy Bull and that race could serve as a stamina builder. On the other hand, he figures to face significantly more pressure early with several other speedy types in this field. By 2013 Fountain of Youth and Kentucky Derby winner Orb, Epic Dreamer is a half-brother (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to a pair of stakes winners. Jockey Javier Castellano won the Fountain of Youth in 2017 aboard Gunnevera.

Bet Epic Dreamer in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes


SV Photography

3. Gladiator King (50-1)

Jockey: Jorge Solorzano

Trainer: Jaime Mejia

Owner: Thoroughbred Champions Training Center

Career record: 10 starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $104,500

Earnings per start: $10,450

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 96

Pedigree: Curlin – Golden Dawn, by Hennessy

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Pacesetter/Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Two of Gladiator King’s three victories have come in turf sprints – and he ran third, beaten by a length, going five-eighths of a mile last weekend in the Texas Glitter Stakes on the grass at Gulfstream. He also won the three-quarter-mile Inaugural Stakes on a sloppy main track in December at Tampa Bay Downs and earned a career-best 96 Equibase Speed Figure. So far, Gladiator King has showed little in two tries stretching out around two turns. He faded to finish sixth of seven, beaten by 34 ¼ lengths, in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes on Dec. 1 and was last of nine in the Grade 2 Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull Stakes, beaten by 28 ¼ lengths, on Feb. 2. Gladiator King gets a dose of stamina from sire (father) Curlin, a two-time Horse of the Year, but both his dam (mother) and grandam (maternal grandmother) were stakes-winning sprinters.

Bet Gladiator King in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes


4. Bourbon War (10-1)

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Trainer: Mark Hennig

Owners: Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable

Career record: 3 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $79,900

Earnings per start: $26,400

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 107

Pedigree: Tapit – My Conquestadory, by Artie Schiller

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Bourbon War dazzled in his season debut on Jan. 18 at Gulfstream Park. He closed from off the pace and surged clear to a 2 ¼-length score at the same track and distance as Saturday’s Fountain of Youth. Bourbon War showed promise at 2 with a debut win and a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes, but the 107 Equibase Speed Figure he earned in his first start in 2019 showed he had taken a significant step forward. The Fountain of Youth will be his most difficult test to date, but Bourbon War has trained steadily for this race and has the services of Eclipse Award-winning rider Irad Ortiz Jr., who won this race last year with Promises Fulfilled. He also boasts an elite pedigree: by leading sire Tapit out of Grade 1 winner My Conquestadory, by Artie Schiller.

Bet Bourbon War in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes


5. Vekoma (7-2)

Jockey: Manny Franco

Trainer: George Weaver

Owners: R. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables

Career record: 2 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $151,250

Earnings per start: $75,625

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 110

Pedigree: Candy Ride – Mona De Momma, by Speightstown

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Vekoma is one of several highly regarded 3-year-olds returning from a layoff in the Fountain of Youth, and you could make a compelling argument that he is the most exciting. Last seen winning the one-mile Grade 3 Nashua Stakes on Nov. 4 at Aqueduct, Vekoma earned a 110 Equibase Speed Figure, a 99 Beyer Speed Figure, and a 101 Brisnet figure for that victory, which was his second in as many starts. Vekoma has six published workouts since Jan. 12, including five-eighths of a mile in :59.87 on Feb. 23, which was the fastest of six at that distance at Palm Beach Downs. Vekoma is by 2003 Pacific Classic winner Candy Ride, sire of 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner, and his dam (mother) is Grade 1 winner Mona De Momma, by Speightstown.

Bet Vekoma in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes


6. Signalman (9-2)

Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

Trainer: Ken McPeek

Owners: Tommie M. Lewis, David A. Bernsen, and Magdalena Racing (Sherri McPeek)

Career record: 5 starts – 2 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $448,990

Earnings per start: $89,798

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 95

Pedigree: General Quarters – Trip South, by Trippi

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker/Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The Fountain of Youth marks the long-awaited return of Signalman, who has not raced since winning the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Nov. 24. Prior to that, the General Quarters colt had closed from 12th to finish third in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and finished second in the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity. I’m not sold on the Kentucky Jockey Club as an especially strong Kentucky Derby prep race – Plus Que Parfait, who finished second by a neck, is unplaced in two starts this year, and third-place finisher Limonite ran fifth in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes presented by Lamarque Ford in his season debut – but Signalman has been very consistent to date in his career. From a speed-figure perspective (career-best 95 Equibase Speed Figure), he’ll need to take a step forward to win the Fountain of Youth. With only five published workouts this year, Signalman might also need this race from a fitness perspective.

Bet Signalman in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes


7. Hidden Scroll (9-5)

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: Bill Mott

Owner: Juddmonte Farms

Career record: 1 start – 1 win – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $31,800

Earnings per start: $31,800

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 115

Pedigree: Hard Spun – Sheba Queen, by Empire Maker

Color: Bay

Running style: Pacesetter

Notable achievements and interesting facts: News of Hidden Scroll’s debut victory on Jan. 26 at Gulfstream spread like wildfire across social media and racing fans and prognosticators scrambled to catch a replay of the second coming of Citation. All kidding aside, the race was incredibly impressive visually and even more so from a speed-figure perspective as Hidden Scroll earned a 115 Equibase Speed Figure, an eye-catching 104 Beyer Speed Figure, and a 102 Brisnet speed figure. Because his debut came on a sloppy racetrack and he was permitted to set an uncontested pace, there is reason to be skeptical. Many will undoubtedly try to beat the probable favorite making his stakes debut, but very few 3-year-olds in this crop have run really fast and Hidden Scroll is one of them. Hidden Scroll is trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott and is a homebred of the elite Juddmonte Farms breeding operation. Hidden Scroll is by Grade 1 winner Hard Spun (second in the 2007 Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic) and his grandam (maternal grandmother) is Group 1 winner Etoile Montante, by Miswaki.

Bet Hidden Scroll in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes


Bob Coglianese/Gulfstream Park

8. Global Campaign (10-1)

Jockey: Luis Saez

Trainer: Stanley M. Hough

Owners: Sagamore Farm and WinStar Farm

Career record: 2 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $52,200

Earnings per start: $26,100

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 99

Pedigree: Curlin – Globe Trot, by A.P. Indy

Color: Bay

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Unbeaten in two starts, Global Campaign turned heads with a 2 ¼-length allowance victory at this track and distance on Feb. 2. He improved his Equibase Speed Figure by a point from his career debut in January, essentially pairing his figure and offering hope that he can take a step forward in the Fountain of Youth under jockey Luis Saez, who won the Fountain of Youth in 2014 on Wildcat Red and again in 2015 aboard Itsaknockout. This will be a significant class test for Global Campaign, but he was much the best in each of his first two races and coasted to victory so he looks ready for the challenge. By two-time Horse of the Year Curlin out of the A.P. Indy mare Globe Trot, Global Campaign is a half-brother (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to multiple Grade 1 winner Bolt d’Oro and Grade 2-placed stakes winner Sonic Mule.

Bet Global Campaign in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes


9. Everfast (20-1)

Jockey: Chris Landeros

Trainer: Dale Romans

Owner: Calumet Farm

Career record: 7 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $109,885

Earnings per start: $15,698

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 102

Pedigree: Take Charge Indy – Awesome Surprise, by Awesome Again

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: After three previous duds in stakes competition, Everfast came to life in the Grade 2 Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull Stakes when he finished second by a length behind Harvey Wallbanger at 128.70-1 odds (not a typo). Prior to that race, he had only finished in the top three once in five races after winning his career debut in August 2018 at Ellis Park. So, is the real Everfast the one that ran second in the Holy Bull or the one that was beaten by 51 ¼ lengths at 146.50-1 odds in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and ran eighth by 12 lengths in the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity? I’m leaning toward somewhere in between, but sometimes things just click for a developing racehorse and the 102 Equibase Speed Figure earned in his last start was a new career top. Everfast’s dam (mother), Awesome Surprise, by Awesome Again, is a full sister (same dam [mother], same sire [father]) to 2004 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Wilko. Trainer Dale Romans won this race a year ago with Promises Fulfilled, while owner Calumet Farm (under different ownership) won the Fountain of Youth in 1957, 1958, and 1961.

Bet Everfast in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes


10. Frosted Grace (30-1)

Jockey: Jonathan Gonzales

Trainer: Kathy Ritvo

Owners: Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and William Branch 

Career record: 5 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $42,325

Earnings per start: $8,465

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 92

Pedigree: Mark Valeski – Class, by Thunder Gulch

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker/Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Riding a promising three-start stretch that included a win and a runner-up finish by a neck in an allowance race going a mile at Gulfstream Park, Frosted Grace made his stakes debut in the Grade 3 Swale Stakes on Feb. 2 and finished fifth. The pace was blistering in the Swale and forced Frosted Grace to drop back a farther than usual, so expect him to be nearer to the front when stretching out to 1 1/16 miles for the Fountain of Youth. Based upon Equibase Speed Figures, Frosted Grace would need to take a big step forward in the Fountain of Youth to finish in the top three. Frosted Grace is from the first crop of Grade 2 winner Mark Valeski out of Grade 3-placed stakes winner Class, by Thunder Gulch.

Bet Frosted Grace in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes


11. Union’s Destiny (30-1)

Jockey: Leonel Reyes

Trainer: Juan Carlos Avila

Owner: Los Samanes

Career record: 3 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $39,750

Earnings per start: $13,250

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 99

Pedigree: Union Rags – Ms Anna Destiny, by Anabaa

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker/Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Union’s Destiny is stepping up in class and stretching out in distance for the Fountain of Youth Stakes. After winning his second career start in August at Gulfstream Park by 5 ¼ lengths, the Union Rags colt passed a couple of horses to finish third in the one-mile Smooth Air Stakes on Dec. 8 in his final start at 2. Union’s Destiny has not raced since earning a career-top 99 Equibase Speed Figure in the Smooth Air, but he has been working steadily since late December and would need to take only a minor step forward to challenge for the top three in his graded stakes debut. Union’s Destiny is by 2012 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags out of multiple stakes-winning sprinter Ms Anna Destiny, by Anabaa.

Bet Union’s Destiny in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes

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