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Algorithms, Discreet Dancer work for FoY
Trainer Todd Pletcher's team for Sunday's Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, the unbeaten duo of Algorithms and Discreet Dancer, turned in their final major exercise on Monday morning at Palm Meadows.
Algorithms was timed an easy half-mile in :49, while Discreet Dancer breezed five furlongs in a bullet 1:00 1/5, best of 10 moves at the distance on the fast main track. Both colts will be stretching out to two turns for the first time in the Fountain of Youth.
Starlight Racing's Algorithms has won all three of his starts, most recently the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes on January 29. In that one-turn mile event at Gulfstream Park, he handed Breeders' Cup Juvenile-winning champion Hansen his first loss by five lengths. Algorithms, a son of Bernardini, was purchased for $170,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
E. Paul Robsham Stables' homebred Discreet Dancer has won his only two starts, both at Gulfstream. The Discreet Cat colt began with a track record performance on December 3, romping by 9 3/4 lengths while zipping 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02 1/5. Discreet Dancer came back to win a one-mile allowance on January 7 by 5 1/2 lengths.
Leading Gulfstream rider Javier Castellano has ridden both colts in all of their starts, but will be aboard Algorithms Sunday. Castellano was also the regular rider for Fountain of Youth rival Union Rags, but decided to give up the mount to stay with Algorithms. The Michael Matz-trained Union Rags will now be piloted by Julien Leparoux, and John Velazquez takes over on Discreet Dancer.
In other Fountain of Youth news, Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito revealed that Casual Trick will get a chance to redeem himself in Sunday's 1 1/16-mile contest. Robert LaPenta's colt was a big disappointment to his connections and fans when retiring to eighth of nine as the favorite in a very deep allowance race at Gulfstream Park on January 29 won by El Padrino, the favorite for Saturday's Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds.
"He worked good (Saturday) morning (going five furlongs in 1:00 2/5) and we're going to give him a chance," Zito said Saturday afternoon.
"I want to think he just didn't like the off track (rated good) the last time and just throw that race out. He had shown enough to be favored, so we'll take a shot. We know it's a tough spot. (Corey) Nakatani will ride him."
A son of Bernardini purchased for $425,000 at Keeneland September, Casual Trick built up an instant following after an impressive maiden score at Churchill Downs going a mile on November 18 in his second start after a fifth-place debut at Saratoga.
Casual Trick came back with a big effort to finish a game second by a half-length in the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year's Day going 1 1/16 miles in his first try around two turns, a race won by the more seasoned Reveron before the disappointing performance last out.
Jacks or Better Farm's homebred Fort Loudon, fourth in the Holy Bull, will try Algorithms again in the Fountain of Youth. His three-year-old filly stablemate Awesome Belle will line up for Saturday's Grade 2 Davona Dale.
"We know both races will be tough," trainer Stanley Gold said Sunday, "But we're here (at Calder) and don't like to ship around. I thought Fort Loudon ran a good race off the layoff to finish fourth in the Holy Bull. He only got beat 1 1/2 lengths for second by Hansen and a length for third by My Adonis, and both of them are going to the Gotham (Grade 3 at Aqueduct on March 3), so we don't have to worry about them.
"I'd rather run Awesome Belle in a 'two other than' allowance, but that race just doesn't go, so we're here and she's going to run. Despite her last race (eighth in the January 22 Sweetest Chant on turf), I still think she'll prove to be best on turf later on."
Both by Awesome of Course, Fort Loudon and Awesome Belle captured the Florida Stallion Stakes finales in the In Reality and My Dear Girl divisions, respectively, on October 15 at Calder. The pair then tried the Breeders' Cup without success. Fort Loudon got a wide trip finishing seventh behind Hansen and Union Rags in the Juvenile, beaten nine lengths, and Awesome Belle never threatened breaking from post 14 and checking in 12th in Juvenile Fillies.