Shadwell Stables’ Mohaymen continues to impress as the top-ranked Kentucky Derby (G1) contender on the East Coast, rolling to a 2 ¼-length decision over Zulu in Saturday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park.

With the 50-point prize, Mohaymen now heads the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard that determines eligibility for the 20-horse field, increasing his total to 71 points. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Tapit colt improved his career record to 5-for-5 with regular rider Junior Alvarado. Mohaymen opened 2016 with a convincing 3 ½-length tally in the January 30 Holy Bull (G2).

The Fountain of Youth also helped foster anticipation for the Florida Derby (G1) on April 2, which will feature an exciting match-up between Mohaymen and Nyquist, the unbeaten 2-year-old champion. Nyquist will ship to Gulfstream Park for Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill, providing a rare meeting between leading contenders on the East and West Coast in the final major prep race.

Zulu took the lead entering the far turn of the Fountain of Youth and battled gamely to the wire after being overhauled by Mohaymen in the stretch, finishing a clear second in his stakes and two-turn debut. Fellowship closed late to be a well-beaten third.

The Kentucky-bred Mohaymen, a $2.2 million yearling purchase, registered his fourth graded stakes victory, completing the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:42.84.

“You can see he's not even blowing when he's coming back. He just does things different. He's a special colt,” McLaughlin said.

Rick Nichols, the U.S. racing manager for Shadwell, concurred.

“It's fantastic,” Nichols said. “It looks like he did it very easy. Junior said he was pulling him all along and kept him a little in check. He didn't want to use him a lot in the end because we still have a long way ahead.”

Photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese Photography