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Buddy's Saint exits Fountain of Youth debacle in good order
Multiple Grade 2 star BUDDY'S SAINT (Saint Liam) has emerged from his troubled ninth-place finish in Saturday's Fountain of Youth S. (G2) in good order, trainer Bruce Levine reported Sunday morning. The 9-5 favorite was slammed when entering the first turn at Gulfstream Park, and bounced around between Aikenite (Yes It's True) and the rail. Although regular jockey Jose Lezcano checked Buddy's Saint out of that dangerous spot and maneuvered him to the outside, he wound up well off the pace and never really recovered.
"He (Lezcano) said we got shut off going into the first turn, so we really had a rough trip and had trouble making up ground," Levine said. "It's a tough track to make up ground on, so we'll just throw the race out and start again.
"He came out of it good," Levine continued. "We'll give him a few days and then take him back to the track and see how he is from there.
"I won't make up my mind for a week or two to see how he's doing before deciding where he goes next."
Buddy's Saint, who was beaten a total of 22 1/4 lengths by the super-impressive Eskendereya (Giant's Causeway), threw in by far the worst effort of his brief career Saturday. The bay had never previously finished behind another horse.
Disqualified for interference in his debut score at Belmont Park last September, Buddy's Saint crushed stakes rivals by 12 lengths next time out in the Nashua S. (G2) at Aqueduct. He wrapped up his two-year-old campaign with a convincing 4 3/4-length victory in the November 28 Remsen S. (G2) at that same venue, elevating himself into the top tier of Kentucky Derby (G1) hopefuls.
Levine had planned all along for Buddy's Saint to make his sophomore debut in the Fountain of Youth, with an eye toward prepping for the Derby in the April 3 Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct.