5 Fast Facts for the Fountain of Youth Stakes, a Road to the Kentucky Derby prep-race.
  1. First run in 1945, the Fountain of Youth Stakes was named after the mythical fountain of youth which legend says Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon was in search of in the nearby area. Historians say the story is almost certainly false. Ponce de Leon served as Governor of Puerto Rico on three occasions.
  2. The Fountain of Youth Stakes didn’t become fully relevant to the Kentucky Derby picture until the mid-1950s. The first horse to run in the race that subsequently won the Run for the Roses was Iron Liege, who finished second to his highly-rated stablemate Gen. Duke in the Fountain of Youth. Injury prevented Gen. Duke from running in the Derby, and Iron Liege won the race from Gallant Man, Round Table, and Bold Ruler.
  3. Iron Liege was the first of 14 horses that ran in the Fountain of Youth who then went on to win the Kentucky Derby. Only five of those Derby winners won the Fountain of Youth: they were Tim Tam (1958), Kauai King (1966), Spectacular Bid (1979), Thunder Gulch (1995), and Orb (2013). The first four of those also won a second leg of the Triple Crown, though none of them took out the Triple Crown.
  4. The eight horses apart from Iron Liege who came back from defeat to win the Fountain of Youth Stakes were Carry Back (1961), Forward Pass (1968), Dust Commander (1970), Cannonade (1974), Pleasant Colony (1981), Swale (1984), Unbridled (1990), and Go For Gin (1994).
  5. Only six prep races have featured more horses that went on to win the Kentucky Derby than the Fountain of Youth Stakes. They are the Florida Derby (25), Blue Grass Stakes (23), Champagne Stakes (23), Hopeful Stakes (20), Wood Memorial (20), and Santa Anita Derby (17).

(Gunnevera winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes by Coglianese Photos)