2020 Fountain of Youth Stakes Cheat Sheet

Racing
Code of Honor (second from right, green jockey cap) takes command at the top of the stretch en route to winning the 2019 Fountain of Youth Stakes. (Tim Sullivan/Coglianese Photo)

Saturday’s $400,000, Grade 2 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park is a crucial prep on the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, offering qualifying points to the top four finishers on a 50-20-10-5 scale that are accrued to reserve a spot in the Churchill Downs starting gate on May 2.

The 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth has produced 13 Kentucky Derby winners through the years, and the 74th edition on Saturday holds additional intrigue as it will mark the first 2020 start for Dennis’ Moment, who emerged late last summer as one of the leading future-book contenders for this year’s Derby but has not raced since the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in early November.

The Fountain of Youth will be televised on FS2 during Saturday’s “America’s Day at the Races” broadcast presented by America’s Best Racing and produced by FOX Sports and NYRA, and it will also be shown live on TVG. For more information, click here.

Read on for information about all 12 contenders for the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes.


Bob Coglianese/Gulfstream Park

1. Candy Tycoon (15-1)

Jockey: Manny Franco

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Owner: Mathis Stable

Career record: 5 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $58,600

Earnings per start: $11,720

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 95

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 0

Pedigree: Twirling Candy – Liberty’s Lyric, by Unbridled’s Song

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Pacesetter

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Breaking from the rail, this colt will most likely be hustled out early to contest what should be a fast pace in the Fountain of Youth with several other speed horses who are more accomplished. He enters off of a maiden win coming on Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park, where he was challenged early on the lead but drew off impressively to win the 1 1/16-mile race by four lengths. In his four starts before that win, he ran no worse than fourth and nearly won a one-mile race at Gulfstream in December, where he was ran down by subsequent Sam F. Davis Stakes distant fourth-place finisher Tiz Rye Time at odds of 1-4. This colt may finally be tapping into his considerable potential, but he’ll be facing a big challenge in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth stepping up from the maiden ranks to a Grade 2. Todd Pletcher has won this race three times: 2007 with Scat Daddy; 2010 with Eskendereya; and 2015 with Itsaknockout. Jockey Manny Franco finished third in last year's Fountain of Youth on Vekoma.


2. Makabim (50-1)

Jockey: Junior Alvarado

Trainer: Daniel Hurtak

Owner: Daniel Hurtak

Career record: 7 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $29,862

Earnings per start: $4,266

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 76

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 0

Pedigree: Tapizar – Smart Typical, by Kodiak Kowboy

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This colt joins fellow longshot The Falcon as the only pure closers in the Fountain of Youth, and it’s hard to see a scenario where he could make any impression on the race based on his prior form. He scored his first win in his third start, back in October at Gulfstream Park West in a maiden claiming race, and since then has remained in the claiming ranks, winning his second to most recent start at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 31 and then running a well-beaten fifth in a starter stakes race restricted to claiming horses at Gulfstream on Feb. 17. His top Equibase Speed Figure of 76 is roughly 30 points lower than the figures of several Fountain of Youth starters, and even though there projects to be a solid pace in Saturday’s event, this son of Tapizar simply has not shown the ability to compete at this level. He does get the services of jockey Junior Alvarado, who is off to a good start in 2020 and won the 2016 Fountain of Youth aboard Mohaymen.


3. Masterday (30-1)

Jockey: Cristian Torres

Trainer: Gilberto Zerpa

Owner: Gelfenstein Farm

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

Career earnings: $32,440

Earnings per start: $10,813

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 73

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 0

Pedigree: New Year’s Day – Ferdie’s Gal, by Fast Ferdie

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Lightly-raced Masterday faces a huge class hike in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth but has been keeping good company through his first three starts. He won first out back in November at Gulfstream Park West and, after a poor seventh-place effort in a Gulfstream Park allowance optional claiming race won by Ete Indien where he was steadied in the backstretch, came back to run a decent second behind Ny Traffic in his first route race, a 1 1/16-mile allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream on Jan. 11. Masterday showed some grit in that race, holding off the third-place finisher by a head, and the effort was flattered when Ny Traffic subsequently finished third in the second division of the Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford at Fair Grounds. His Equibase Speed Figures are well below what will be needed to win the Fountain of Youth Stakes, but this colt’s overall form and his running style make him a more attractive option than most of the other huge-odds horses on Saturday to spice up trifecta and superfecta tickets.


4. The Falcon (50-1)

Jockey: Marcos Meneses

Trainer: Anthony Quartarolo

Owners: Ron Paolucci Racing and Ashley Quartarolo

Career record: 2 starts – 0 win – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $8,100

Earnings per start: $4,050

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 69

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 0

Pedigree: Union Rags – Penumbra, by Malibu Moon

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The good: this son of 2013 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags is one of only two pure closers in the Fountain of Youth field along with Makabim. The bad: he’s still a maiden, having come up short in his only two races against suspect competition, and his Equibase Speed Figures are a good 30-40 points below his foes in Saturday’s race. He did finish within a length of winning both of his starts – a neck back in third in a Churchill Downs maiden claiming race last November and, more recently, second by three-quarters of a length in a Turfway Park one-mile maiden race on a synthetic track – but he’ll face a humongous class test on Saturday. In the most likely scenario, The Falcon will trail the field most of the way before possibly – possibly – passing a couple of tired contenders in the stretch to finish fifth or sixth. This colt’s pedigree is decent for two-turn races despite him being only a $60,000 purchase as a 2-year-old in training, but honestly, based on his prior form he would be a much better fit in the March 14 Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway, which also offers up Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top finishers.


Eclipse Sportswire

5. Dennis’ Moment (2-1)

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Trainer: Dale Romans

Owner: Albaugh Family Stables

Career record: 4 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $167,800

Earnings per start: $41,950

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 106

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 10

Pedigree: Tiznow – Transplendid, by Elusive Quality

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This colt has rated high on the 2020 Kentucky Derby future-bet books ever since he posted back-to-back impressive wins in Kentucky last summer and early fall. The first came at Ellis Park, where he romped by 19 ¼ lengths in a seven-furlong maiden race, and he then posted a professional score in the very first Kentucky Derby points race, the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs, going 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 14. Those two efforts made him the favorite in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at odds of 9-10, but Dennis’ Moment stumbled badly at the start and trailed the field throughout as his jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. kept him safe. Trainer Dale Romans has been very patient with his stable star since then, and by all indications the colt is ready to make a strong return in the Fountain of Youth. Ortiz will be riding in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, but his new jockey, Flavien Prat, has a reputation for patient handling, and that should suit this talented son of Tiznow very well as he’ll most likely sit in a stalking spot through the backstretch while Shotski, Chance It, Ete Indien, and As Seen on Tv compete for the lead. Dennis’ Moment does not have to win the Fountain of Youth to keep his status among the top tier of Kentucky Derby contenders, but he does need to run well in his comeback to set him up for his final pre-Derby start. Romans won the 2018 Fountain of Youth with Promises Fulfilled.


Bob Coglianese/Gulfstream Park

6. As Seen on Tv (9-2)

Jockey: Paco Lopez

Trainer: Kelly Breen

Owner: Screen Door Stables

Career record: 4 starts – 2 wins – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $108,205

Earnings per start: $27,051

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 101

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 0

Pedigree: Lookin At Lucky – Untamed Passion, by Pulpit

Color: Bay

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: As Seen on Tv has fired every time through his four-race career, finishing no worse than second and showing the ability to fight in the stretch after pressing a solid pace. He finished a head behind Chance It in his most recent start, the one-turn mile Mucho Macho Stakes at Gulfstream on Jan. 4, and was 2 ¼ lengths clear of Sole Volante, who subsequently scored an impressive win in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs to jump on the Kentucky Derby trail. This Florida-bred colt has the pedigree to handle a route of ground, but so far his best two races have come at six and 6 ½ furlongs, and he’ll be extending an extra sixteenth of a mile on Saturday. It will be interesting to see if Paco Lopez will keep his horse engaged with what looks on paper to be another hot pace in the Fountain of Youth or moves As Seen on Tv back a bit to reserve his energy for the stretch drive. He’ll need to improve his top Equibase Speed Figure at a distance he’s never tried before come Saturday, but he is a definite threat to hit the board in a competitive race.


Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo

7. Country Grammer (15-1)

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Trainer: Chad Brown

Owner: Paul Pompa Jr.

Career record: 2 starts – 1 win – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $43,000

Earnings per start: $21,500

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 95

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 0

Pedigree: Tonalist – Arabian Song, by Forestry

Color: Bay

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Lost in the hubbub over Dennis’ Moment’s return in the Fountain of Youth is the appearance of this colt, who also has not raced since last November. He was last seen on the track taking a 1 1/8-mile maiden special weight at Aqueduct by 3 ¼ lengths on Nov. 11, which was his second career start following a fourth-place finish in October at Belmont Park going one mile. He was under consideration for the Remsen Stakes in December at Aqueduct (won by Shotski) after that win, according to Daily Racing Form, but Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown instead had him sent to Florida, where he’s been working steadily at Payson Park Training Center for his 3-year-old return. Country Grammer notched a 95 Equibase Speed Figure in his Aqueduct win, and while it’s asking a lot for a lightly-raced maiden winner to come back off of nearly three months off and win a Grade 2 race, this son of Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist has already won at 1 1/8 miles and has a solid stamina pedigree on his dam’s side as well. He’s an attractive longshot play in the Fountain of Youth at morning line odds of 15-1 – not just for Nelly fans – and gets one of the best in the business in Javier Castellano to take the reins and work out a good stalking trip behind the speed horses. Hall of Famer Castellano won this race in 2017 aboard Gunnevera.


Eclipse Sportswire

8. Gear Jockey (20-1)

Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Trainer: Rusty Arnold

Owner: Calumet Farm

Career record: 5 starts – 0 wins – 1 second – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $134,075

Earnings per start: $26,815

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 97

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 0

Pedigree: Twirling Candy – Switching Gears, by Tapit

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Gear Jockey, still a maiden after five starts, will need to show a level of ability far beyond his current dirt form to have any chance at hitting the board in the Fountain of Youth. His three best races – his second, third, and fourth starts to date – have come on turf, and he’s tired badly in both of his dirt tries. That includes his most recent start, a one-turn mile maiden at Gulfstream on Dec. 28, where he veered out at the start, made a bid for the lead heading into the turn, but then faded to check in fifth, beaten by 6 ½ lengths. Prior to that, he posted a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Presented by Coolmore America at Santa Anita at odds of 67.50-1, and was only a neck behind the runner-up. Building on that point, Gear Jockey possesses a good pedigree for distance, but it’s primarily turf bloodlines. He’s been training well at Palm Meadows since his Dec. 28 start for Rusty Arnold but still figures to be up against it Saturday when facing Dennis’ Moment, Chance It, and company, and he’d be a far more logical fit as a big favorite in a turf maiden race. Julien Leparoux won the 2012 Fountain of Youth aboard eventual Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags.


Nicole Thomas/Coglianese Photo

9. Liam’s Lucky Charm (15-1)

Jockey: Edgard Zayas

Trainer: Ralph Nicks

Owner: Stonehedge

Career record: 7 starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $338,800

Earnings per start: $48,400

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 104

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 0

Pedigree: Khozan – P. S. I Love You, by Stormy Atlantic

Color: Bay

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This multiple stakes winner faces a stiff distance challenge in the Fountain of Youth, and he’s shown no evidence so far through a nicely-developing career that he can handle it. His most recent three starts make it clear: Liam’s Lucky Charm ran 10 ¾ lengths behind Chance It in the 1 1/16-mile FTBOA Florida Sire In Reality Stakes at Gulfstream in September; returned after a nearly four-month break to romp in the seven-furlong Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 18; and then was stretched back out to two turns in the second division of the Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford at Fair Grounds on Feb. 15 and threw in the towel after six furlongs, finishing 10th of 11. In his defense, he did break through the gate prior to the start of the Risen Star, which is a valid enough excuse for his connections to give him one more try in a Derby points race back at his home track, where he’s two-for-five and has finished in the top three every time. Overall, though, it would be a big surprise to see Liam’s Lucky Charm in the Fountain of Youth winner’s circle given that there are several other horses with comparable early speed who have already shown the ability to carry it beyond a mile. A better bet is that this talented colt’s future success will be achieved in the sprint division.


Eclipse Sportswire

10. Shotski (10-1)

Jockey: John Velazquez

Trainer: Jeremiah O’Dwyer

Owners: Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Pantofel Stable, and Howling Pigeon Farms

Career record: 5 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $217,222

Earnings per start: $43,444

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 98

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 14

Pedigree: Blame – She Cat, by Bluegrass Cat

Color: Bay

Running style: Pacesetter

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This northern invader is a bit of a wild card in Saturday’s race as he shares the same front-running style as contenders Chance It, Ete Indien, and As Seen on Tv but does not have their local experience. He does sport a graded stakes win on his résumé, posting a diminishing half-length win over Ajaaweed (who recently finished a distant third in the Sam F. Davis Stakes) in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on Dec. 7. He returned to make his first start at 3 at the same track and distance on Feb. 1 in the Withers Stakes, where he set a contested pace and held the lead until midstretch before yielding to Max Player. Shotski paired Equibase Speed Figures of 98 in both of those races, and he’ll have to run faster in the Fountain of Youth to overcome horses such as Chance It and Ete Indien, both of whom have posted much higher figures in two-turn races at Gulfstream. On the other hand, he’s got a good stamina pedigree and has already won at a distance longer than Saturday’s race and, aside from his career debut on turf at Kentucky Downs, he’s competed well in every start. Look for Shotski to be among the front rank of horses through the backstretch, perhaps even setting the pace under John Velazquez, and he could manage to hang around long enough to spice up trifecta and superfecta tickets at the finish. Hall of Famer Velazquez has won this race five times, including last year aboard Code of Honor. His other wins: eventual Kentucky Derby winner Orb (2013); Eskendereya (2010); Quality Road (2009); and Scat Daddy (2007).


Lauren King/Coglianese Photo

11. Ete Indien (8-1)

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Trainer: Patrick Biancone

Owners: Linda Shanahan, Sanford Bacon, Dream With Me Stable, Horse France America, D P Racing, and Patrick Biancone Racing

Career record: 4 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $97,556

Earnings per start: $24,389

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 113

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 4

Pedigree: Summer Front – East India, by Mizzen Mast

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Pacesetter

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This colt has blossomed since making the surface switch from turf to dirt two starts back, and projects to be one of the main pace factors in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth. After winning his career debut on grass at Gulfstream and then finishing eighth in a Grade 3 turf race at Keeneland in October, Ete Indien returned to win a one-mile allowance-optional claiming race at Gulfstream in late December on the main track and then posted a runner-up effort behind current top Kentucky Derby contender Tiz the Law in the Holy Bull Stakes on Feb. 1. He was 11 ½ lengths clear of third-place Toledo in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull and posted a career-best 113 Equibase Speed Figure. A repeat of that performance puts him right back in win contention on Saturday, although he’s certain to have some company on the front end as jockey Florent Geroux tries to work out a good trip from an outside post. Ete Indien has a turf pedigree but with plenty of back class for distance and should not be overlooked.


Lauren King/Coglianese Photo

12. Chance It (7-2)

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.

Owner: Shooting Star Thoroughbreds

Career record: 6 starts – 4 wins – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $444,910

Earnings per start: $74,152

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 110

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 0

Pedigree: Currency Swap – Vagabon Diva, by Pleasantly Perfect

Color: Bay

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Without question, he’s the “horse for the course” entrant in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth Stakes, and despite having a sprinter’s pedigree he looms as the main threat to spoil Dennis’ Moment’s return to the races. Chance It’s impressive career record listed above has all occurred on Gulfstream Park’s main track, including a 7 ¼-length score in the 1 1/16-mile FTBOA Florida Sire In Reality Stakes two starts back in his only route race to date. He ventured out of state-bred competition in his most recent start, the one-turn mile Mucho Macho Man Stakes on Jan. 4, and posted a game head win over Fountain of Youth foe As Seen on Tv after a heated stretch duel, with subsequent Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Sole Volante checking in third. Chance It does not have the flashy pedigree or connections of Dennis’ Moment, but he is definitely fit and looks ready to fire on Saturday coming off a series of sharp workouts at Gulfstream. Saffie Joseph Jr. is having a breakout meet at this track, ranking fourth in both wins and earnings on a list that includes Bob Baffert’s single Gulfstream starter, Pegasus World Cup winner Mucho Gusto, at the top. Chance It will definitely be a pace factor in the Fountain of Youth, although breaking from the far outside post will require jockey Tyler Gaffalione to hustle him out early and try to move in and save ground before hitting Gulfstream's first turn. If that happens and Chance It can resist getting caught up in a speed duel, he'll be right in the front rank of horses turning for home.

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