Following a week of minimal action on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, the Championship Series returns Saturday with all eyes focused on the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (Grade II) at Gulfstream Park.

    The 73rd renewal of the Fountain of Youth – the second of 16 Championship Series races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve – will award 85 points to the Top 4 finishers: 50 to first, 20 to second, 10 to third and 5 to fourth.

    Impressive debut winner Hidden Scroll is the 9-5 favorite in the field of 11 that also attracted stakes winners Vekoma and Signalman.

    The 1 1/16-mile race goes as Race 13 at Gulfstream Park with a scheduled post time of 5:32 p.m. (all times Eastern).

    On Friday, trainer Aidan O’Brien has a pair of Triple Crown nominees – favored Western Australia (IRE) and second-choice Van Beethoven – entered in the Patton at Ireland’s Dundalk, which offers 20-8-4-2 points on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby.

    Later Friday afternoon, a pair of first-level allowances could produce starters in next-round preps. Mucho is odds-on in a six-furlong sprint at Gulfstream. Roadster, Dessman and Nolo Contesto are entered to race one mile at Santa Anita.        There’s only one race this week on Road to the Kentucky Oaks. Champion 2-year-old filly Jaywalk is the 2-5 favorite in the Gulfstream Park’s Grade II, $200,000 Davona Dale (Race 12 at 5:01 p.m.).

    The 145th runnings of the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles and $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) for 3-year-olds at 1 ¼ miles will be staged at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. in nine weeks on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4, respectively. – Darren Rogers

HIDDEN SCROLL 9-5 FAVORITE IN 11-HORSE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH Hidden Scroll crushed maiden rivals when making his first start five weeks ago and the exciting 3-year-old colt will look to join the Kentucky Derby picture in Saturday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth (Grade II) at Gulfstream Park.

    A Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier, the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth awards a total of 85 points to the top four finishers (50-20-10-5 scale) and Hidden Scroll has been tabbed as the 9-5 morning line favorite against 10 rivals.

    A Juddmonte Farms homebred, Hidden Scroll was overlooked at 8-1 when opening his career in a one-mile maiden special weight on the Jan. 26 Pegasus World Cup undercard at Gulfstream. The Bill Mott-trained colt showed speed from the start, widening his advantage at every point of call, and drew off spectacularly to a 14-length decision. Hidden Scroll registered a field-best 102 BRIS Speed rating and Joel Rosario retains the mount on the son of 2007 Kentucky Derby runner-up Hard Spun.

    Vekoma will make his first attempt in a Kentucky Derby qualifier. The promising Candy Ride colt won both starts last year, including a 1 ¾-length victory in the Nashua (GIII) at Aqueduct in November, and will open his 3-year-old campaign with first-time Lasix. George Weaver trains from R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables and regular rider Manny Franco will be in from New York for the assignment.

    Signalman showed an affinity for Churchill Downs last fall, recording a rallying third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) and a victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII), and makes his anticipated 3-year-old bow Saturday. A $32,000 yearling purchase, Signalman has already earned nearly $450,000 for his connections and is conditioned by Kenny McPeek. Brian Hernandez Jr. guides the early 9-2 third choice.

    Bourbon War returns to stakes company following a sharp 2 ¼-length allowance triumph last month. Leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr. will be up for Mark Hennig. Global Campaign will make his initial stakes appearance after a pair of comfortable wins at Gulfstream, showing good speed defeating maiden special weight and entry-level allowance foes. He’s trained by Stanley Hough and has the services of Luis Saez.

    Everfast merits consideration following a runner-up effort in the Feb. 2 Holy Bull (GII) at 128-1 odds. Chris Landeros has the call for Dale Romans. Code of Honor, runner-up in the Champagne (GII) two back, will seek to rebound after finishing fourth as the favorite in the Jan. 5 Mucho Macho Man. John Velazquez rides for Kentucky Derby winner Shug McGaughey. Holy Bull fourth-placer Epic Dreamer is also part of the mix.

    Expected longshots Frosted Grace, Gladiator King and Union’s Destiny complete the field. – James Scully, TwinSpires.com

 

BALLYDOYLE CONTIGENT TOPS FRIDAY’S PATTON STAKES – With three races remaining on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby, Friday’s Patton Stakes at Dundalk Stadium in Ireland could serve as a major key prep for a trio of Aiden O’Brien trainees that were entered in the one-mile race.

     Carded as Race 6 with a scheduled post time of 2:45 p.m. EST, the eight-horse field is led by Group I-placed, and Triple Crown nominated, Western Australia who is owned by arguably the industry’s most notable partnership of Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor. The Irish-bred son of Australia previously finished third in the Oct. 27 Vertem Trophy (GI).

     Joining Western Australia in the field is stablemate Van Beethoven – a possible contender for the March 30 UAE Derby (GII). Van Beethoven, who also is Triple Crown nominated, won the Railway Stakes (GII) last summer at the Curragh. The son of Scat Daddy will be ridden by O’Brien’s go-to rider Ryan Moore.

     Also entered in the race from O’Brien’s yard is maiden winner Albuquerque (IRE). The colt by Galileo also is nominated to the UAE Derby.

     Last year, the Patton Stakes was won by Kentucky Derby contender Mendelssohn prior to his runaway UAE Derby victory.
     For more information on the Patton Stakes, visit: http://bit.ly/2EiH2il. – Kevin Kerstein

CHAMPION JAYWALK RETURNS FOR 3-YEAR-OLD DEBUT IN SATURDAY’S DAVONA DALE – Champion Jaywalk is set to make her 3-year-old debut at Gulfstream Park on Saturday against six rivals in the $200,000 Davona Dale (Grade II) – a Road to the Kentucky Oaks Championship Series race.

    Jaywalk, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) in November at Churchill Downs, was made the heavy 2-5 morning line favorite in the one-mile race. Owned by D J Stable and Cash is King LLC and trained by John Servis, Jaywalk has won four races in a row including the Grade I Frizette Stakes in early October at Belmont Park.

    The Davona Dale, carded as Race 12 with a scheduled post time of 5:01 p.m. EST, will award points to the May 3 Longines Kentucky Oaks to the Top 4 finishers in the race on a 50-20-10-5 scale. – Kevin Kerstein

UPCOMING ROAD TO THE DERBY RACES

 

Date         Race                                        Track           Top 4 Points

March 1    Patton*                                     Dundalk       20-8-4-2

March 2    Fountain of Youth                     GP               50-20-10-5

March 6    Road to the Kentucky Derby*     Kempton      20-8-4-2

March 9    Gotham                                   Aqu              50-20-10-5

March 9    San Felipe                                 SA                50-20-10-5

March 9    Tampa Bay Derby                      Tam             50-20-10-5

March 9    Jeff Ruby Steaks                        TP                20-8-4-2

March 16  Rebel                                       OP               50-20-10-5

March 23  Louisiana Derby                        FG               100-40-20-10

March 24  Sunland Derby                          Sun               50-20-10-5

March 30  UAE Derby                              Meydan        100-40-20-10

March 30  Florida Derby                            GP               100-40-20-10

March 31  Fukuryu#                                  Nakyama      40-16-8-4

April 6      Wood Memorial                        Aqu              100-40-20-10

April 6      Blue Grass                                Kee              100-40-20-10

April 6      Santa Anita Derby                      SA                100-40-20-10

April 11    Cardinal Condition*                   Chelmsford   30-12-6-3

April 13    Arkansas Derby                         OP               100-40-20-10

April 13    Lexington                                 Kee              20-8-4-2

# Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby

* European Road to the Kentucky Derby

 

ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY TOP 25

#      Horse                              Trainer                                    Points

1.      War of Will                       Mark Casse                                 60

2.      Game Winner                   Bob Baffert                                 30

3.      Country House                  Bill Mott                                     20

4.      Knicks Go                        Ben Colebrook                            18

5.      Signalman                         Kenny McPeek                            18

6.      Gunmetal Gray                 Jerry Hollendorfer                        18

7.      Long Range Toddy            Steve Asmussen                           16

8.      Mucho Gusto                    Bob Baffert                                 14

9.      Tax                                   Danny Gargan                            12

10.   Super Steed                       Larry Jones                                 10

11.   Mind Control                    Gregg Sacco                                10

12.   Improbable                       Bob Baffert                                 10

13.   Harvey Wallbanger             Kenny McPeek                            10

14.   Well Defined                     Kathy O’Connell                         10

15.   Gray Attempt                    Jinks Fires                                   10

16.   Anothertwistoffate             Blaine Wright                              10

17.   Roiland                            Tom Amoss                                10

18.   Hog Creek Hustle              Vickie Foley                                  9

19.   Sueno                               Keith Desormeaux                         8

20.   Our Braintrust                   Mark Casse                                   6

21.   Code of Honor                  Shug McGaughey                          4

22.   Bankit                              Steve Asmussen                             4

23.   Everfast                            Dale Romans                                4

24.   Not That Brady                 Rudy Rodriguez                             4

25.   Plus Que Parfait                Brendan Walsh                              4

PAST PERFORMANCES & HISTORY

Brinset.com Triple Crown Past Performances

https://bit.ly/2RFfFUk

 Brisnet.com Patton Stakes Past Performances

http://bit.ly/2EDiz8A

 Brisnet.com Fountain of Youth Past Performances

http://bit.ly/2SA5JvM

 Fountain of Youth Stakes History

https://bit.ly/2EwuBk7

 Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboards

http://bit.ly/1NkdWAX

SPOTLIGHT HORSE: GAME WINNER

 

·      The Champion Juvenile of 2018, Game Winner, is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in next Saturday’s San Felipe (Grade II) at Santa Anita. The talented colt, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert and owned by his longtime clients Gary and Mary West, is undefeated through four starts including a trio of Grade I victories in the Del Mar Futurity, American Pharoah and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

·      Owner information: Gary and Mary West are one of the most iconic couples in horse racing. The Wests have been married for 50 years and live in San Diego, Calif. The couple started the telecommunications company West Corp. in 1986. The company, which was founded in Omaha, Neb., eventually became public in 2013 and had a valuation of $5.2 billion. The Wests began their involvement in horse racing in 1980 with trainer Ben Glass. The Wests’ stable began to expand in the early 1990s and they had their first Kentucky Derby starter, Rockamundo, in 1993. The Wests have campaigned multiple Grade I winners including Book Review, New Year’s Day, Power Broker and West Coast.

·      Trainer information: Hall of Famer Bob Baffert is a five-time Kentucky Derby (GI) and two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer. Baffert, 66, grew up in Arizona on a cattle ranch where he began grooming and galloping horses for his father. Baffert became a jockey in 1971 but couldn’t maintain his riding weight. Baffert owns four Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Trainer (1997-99 and 2015) and 196 Grade I victories. Baffert’s Kentucky Derby winners are Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (’98), War Emblem (2002), American Pharoah (’15) and Justify (’18). – Kevin Kerstein

THE RUNDOWN

PATTON STAKES

Friday, March 1, $85,154 3yo, 1 M (Polytrack), Dundalk (R6), Top 4 Points: 20-8-4-2. 2:45 p.m. ET. TV: TVG.

  # Horse                       Jockey                      Trainer                    ML

1.   Van Beethoven          Donnacha O’Brien     Aidan O’Brien             9-2

2.   +Albuquerque (IRE)    Seamie Heffernan      Aidan O’Brien           12-1

3.   +Barys (GB)              Edward Greatrex       Archie Wilson             5-1

4.   +Colfer Me (IRE)       Shane Foley              Joseph O’Brien            8-1

5.   +Manjeer (IRE)         Ross Coakley            John Oxx                  15-1

6.   +Numerian (IRE)       Wayne Lordan           Joseph O’Brien          10-1

7.   +Playa Del Puente (IRE)  Ronan Whelan          Michael Halford          5-1

8.   Western Australia (IRE)   Ryan Moore              Aidan O’Brien             3-2

 

FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH (GII)

Saturday, March 2, $400,000, 3yo, 1 1/18 M, Gulfstream Park (R13), Top 4 Points: 50-20-10-5. 5:32 p.m. ET. TV: TVG, Fox Sports 2.

  # Horse                       Jockey                      Trainer                    ML

1.  Code of Honor          John Velazquez         Shug McGaughey III    6-1

2.  Epic Dreamer            Tyler Gaffalione        Kelly Breen               20-1

3.  +Gladiator King        Jorge Solorzano         Jamie Mejia               50-1

4.  Bourbon War             Irad Ortiz Jr.             Mark Hennig             10-1

5.  Vekoma                    Manny Franco           George Weaver           7-2

6.  Signalman                 Brian Hernandez Jr.    Kenny McPeek            9-2

7.  Hidden Scroll             Joel Rosario              Bill Mott                     9-5

8.  Global Campaign       Luis Saez                   Stan Hough               10-1

9.  Everfast                    Chris Landeros          Dale Romans            20-1

10. Frosted Grace            Jonathan Gonzales     Kathy Ritvo              30-1

11. Union’s Destiny         Leonel Reyes             Juan Avila                 30-1

 

+ Not Triple Crown nominated

 

DAVONA DALE (GII)

Saturday, March 2, $200,000, 3yo Fillies, 1 M, Gulfstream Park (R12), Top 4 Points: 50-20-10-5. 5:01 p.m. ET. TV: TVG, Fox Sports 2

  # Horse                       Jockey                      Trainer                    ML

  1. Jaywalk                     Joel Rosario              John Servis                 2-5

  2. Cookie Dough           Jeffrey Sanchez          Stanley Gold             20-1

  3. Another Time            Irad Ortiz Jr.             Barbara Minshall        30-1

  4. Jeltrin                       Leonel Reyes             Alexis Delgado          30-1

  5. Champagne Anyone   Chris Landeros          Ian Wilkes                  6-1

  6. Bold Script                Jose Ortiz                 Stuart Simon             12-1

  7. High Regard              Javier Castellano        Vicki Oliver                9-2

DERBY DETAIL

REMSEN STAKES WINNER MAXIMUS MISCHIEF OFF TRIPLE CROWN TRAIL – Promising Remsen Stakes (Grade II) winner Maximus Mischief has been removed from the Triple Crown trail following a soft tissue injury to his right front leg following a workout on Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park.

     Maximus Mischief will be given time off at Eisaman Equine near Ocala, Fla., according to trainer Butch Reid. – Kevin Kerstein

 

VELAZQUEZ FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH DOMINANCE – Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez could pass Jerry Bailey for the most wins by a jockey in the Fountain of Youth (Grade II) with a victory by Code of Honor.

     Velazquez and Bailey are both tied with four victories through 73 runnings of the 1 1/16-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series race. Velazquez won the Fountain of Youth in 2007, ’09-10 and ’13 while fellow Hall of Famer Bailey, now retired and an analyst with NBC, won the race in 1980, ’98 and 2004-05. – Kevin Kerstein

DERBY WINNERS PRODUCED FROM THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH – There have been 13 Kentucky Derby winners who have exited the Fountain of Youth – most recently Orb in 2013.

     Other Derby winners who took part the Fountain of Youth prior to their Derby victories: Thunder Gulch (1995), Go for Gin (’94), Unbridled (’90), Swale (’84), Pleasant Colony (’81), Spectacular Bid (’79), Cannonade (’74), Dust Commander (’70), Forward Pass (’68), Kauai King (’66), Carry Back (’61) and Tim Tam (’58).

     For more details and a full list of prep races and Kentucky Derby winners, visit: https://bit.ly/2TlxXyI. – Kevin Kerstein

ANOTHERTWISTAFATE EYES SUNLAND DERBY – El Camino Real Derby winner Anothertwistafate will attempt to transfer his synthetic form to the dirt in the March 24 Sunland Derby (Grade II), according to his trainer Blaine Wright.

     The colt by Scat Daddy has romped in three of four lifetime starts by a combined 16 lengths. Anothertwistafate’s lone dirt start was his debut on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita where he had an enigmatic ninth-place effort. – Kevin Kerstein

 

DESSMAN, NOLO CONTESTO, ROADSTER DUEL IN FRIDAY ALLOWANCE AT SANTA ANITA – Friday afternoon’s featured race at Santa Anita features highly-touted Triple Crown nominees Dessman, Nolo Contesto and Roadster in a one-mile allowance event that, perhaps, could be used as a prep race for the Santa Anita Derby (Grade I).

     Roadster, the 7-5 morning line favorite for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, dazzled in his maiden-breaking performance in July at Santa Anita. Following his third-place effort behind eventual champion and stablemate Game Winner in the Del Mar Futurity, Roadster received a 60-day layoff. Friday would mark his first start in nearly six months.

     Also entered in the race is Roadster’s stablemate Dessman (9-5) who recently finished second to Sparky Ville in the seven-furlong San Vicente (GII). Friday’s race would be the first start around two turns for the son of Union Rags.

     Another major contender in the race is maiden winner Nolo Contesto for trainer John Sadler. The Pioneerof the Nile colt defeated next out maiden winner Omaha Beach by a half-length. Omaha Beach could be a contender in the March 16 Rebel (GII) or March 24 Sunland Derby (GII).

     The allowance race is carded as Race 8 of 9 at Santa Anita with a scheduled post time of 7:53 p.m. EST. – Kevin Kerstein

HOPEFUL RUNNER-UP MUCHO RETURNS IN FRIDAY ALLOWANCE AT GULFSTREAM – Promising colt Mucho, arguably one of the most impressive maiden winners over the summer at Saratoga and the runner-up in the Hopeful Stakes (Grade I), is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in a six-furlong allowance race Friday at Gulfstream Park.

     Owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider and trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Mucho won his second-career start by 9 ¾ lengths and finished three-quarters of a length behind Mind Control in the Hopeful.                

     Friday’s first-level allowance, which drew a field of five, is carded as Race 2 with a scheduled post time of 1:05 p.m. EST. – Kevin Kerstein

 

WEDNESDAY’S ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY CONDITION STAKES EXPECTED TO FEATURE TRIPLE CROWN NOMINEES SPANISH MISSION, BLENHEIM PALACE – The European Kentucky Derby will be in the spotlight Wednesday for the Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes at Kempton where Triple Crown nominees Spanish Mission and Blenheim Palace are expected to headline the one-mile race that will award 20-8-4-2 points to the Top 4 finishers.

     Spanish Mission, owned in partnership by Kentucky Derby-winning owners Team Valor International along with Erle Mack, won a Class 3 conditions stakes Nov. 10 at Chelmsford City for trainer David Simcock. Jockey Jamie Spencer is expected to pick up the mount on the son of Noble Mission (GB).

     Also pre-entered in the race is UAE Derby (GII) nominee Blenheim Palace (IRE) for Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith. The regally-bred colt by Galileo (IRE) is 0-3 in his career.

     Entries will be finalized Tuesday and can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/2EE1pYH. – Kevin Kerstein

ROAD TO DERBY VIDEO SERIES

 

·         Episode 7: A Big Race for an Intimate Track

        http://bit.ly/RTKDEP7

·         Episode 6: A Potential Super Star

https://bit.ly/2SUlYYC

·         Episode 5: Follow Trainer Kelly Breen as he Trains Son of Orb

        https://bit.ly/2SwgeF3  

·         Episode 4 :Kenny McPeek – The Underdog Trainer

        https://bit.ly/2tl1fyM

·         Episode 3: Breeders’ Cup Battle Produces Early Derby Favorite

        https://bit.ly/2UZkWrY R

·         Episode 2: A Twist in the Road at Keeneland

        https://bit.ly/2DBL05h

·         Episode 1: Neuroscience to the Iroquois Stakes

        https://bit.ly/2SR398P

TAKING SHAPE

 The possible fields for Kentucky Derby Championship Series races are fluid as horsemen vie for points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve.” Below are known horses mentioned to be under consideration for each race based on published news reports and other sources.  

 GOTHAM (GIII)

Saturday, March 9, $300,000, 3yo, 1 M, Aqueduct, Ozone, N.Y., Top 4 Points: 50-20-10-5.

                                                                      Brisnet.com       Run

Horse (Points)               Trainer                    Prime Power      Style

Known Likely Starters:

Instagrand (0)                  Jerry Hollendorfer      136.2                   E 6

Tikhvin Flew (0)              Steve Asmussen         135.3                   E 6

Not That Brady (4)           Rudy Rodriguez         135.1                   E 8

Knicks Go (18)                Ben Colebrook          134.3                   E 7

Haikal (0)                        Kiaran McLaughlin    132.7                   S 3

Mind Control (10)            Gregg Sacco              132.1                   E/P 5

 

Known Possible Starters:

Mr. Ankeny (0)                 Dale Romans            126.9                   E 7

TAMPA BAY DERBY (GII)

Saturday, March 9, $400,000, 3yo, 1 1/16 M, Tampa Bay Downs, Oldsmar, Fla., Top 4 Points: 50-20-10-5.

                                                                      Brisnet.com       Run

Horse (Points)               Trainer                    Prime Power      Style

Known Likely Starters:

Dream Maker (0)             Mark Casse               129.4                   P 4

Known Possible Starters:

Well Defined (10)             Kathy O’Connell       136.5                   E 6

Admire (0)                      Dale Romans            129.0                   E/P 5

SAN FELIPE (GII)

Saturday, March 9, $500,000, 3yo, 1 1/16 M, Santa Anita, Arcadia, Calif., Top 4 Points: 50-20-10-5.

                                                                      Brisnet.com       Run

Horse (Points)               Trainer                    Prime Power      Style

Known Likely Starters:

Game Winner (30)           Bob Baffert               153.8                   E/P 4

Improbable (10)               Bob Baffert               144.9                   E/P 7

Extra Hope (0)                 Richard Mandella       133.3                   E/P 6

Gunmetal Gray (18)         Jerry Hollendorfer      128.5                   P 0

 

Known Possible Starters:

Mucho Gusto (14)            Bob Baffert               136.4                   E/P 7

Omaha Beach (0)             Richard Mandella       135.0                   E/P 7

 

JEFF RUBY STEAKS (GIII)

Saturday, March 9, $200,000, 3yo, 1 1/8 M (Polytrack), Turfway Park, Florence, Ky., Top 4 Points: 20-8-4-2.

                                                                      Brisnet.com       Run

Horse (Points)               Trainer                    Prime Power      Style

Known Possible Starters:

Somelikeithotbrown (0)     Mike Maker               133.4                   E/P 7

Five Star General (0)         Arnaud Delacour       128.3                   E 5

Skywire (0)                      Mark Casse               126.2                   P 2

Counter Offer (0)             Ian Wilkes                121.0                   P 0

Dabo (0)                         Dale Romans            120.0                   S 0

Moonster (0)                   Dale Romans            119.2                   P 4

Speed App (0)                  D. Wayne Lukas        115.9                   S 2


REBEL (GII)

Saturday, March 16, $1 million, 3yo, 1 1/16 M, Oaklawn Park, Hot Springs, Ark., Top 4 Points: 50-20-10-5.

                                                                      Brisnet.com       Run

Horse (Points)               Trainer                    Prime Power      Style

Known Likely Starters:

Galilean (0)                     Jerry Hollendorfer      140.5                   E 8

Super Steed (10)               Larry Jones               130.9                   S 2

 

Known Possible Starters:

Mucho Gusto (14)            Bob Baffert               136.4                   E/P 7

Gray Attempt (10)            Jinks Fires                 132.9                   E 8

Six Shooter (2)                 Paul Holthus             130.7                   P 3

Admire (0)                      Dale Romans            129.0                   E/P 5

TWINSPIRES.COM LOUISIANA DERBY (GII)

Saturday, March 23, $1 million, 3yo, 1 1/8 M, Fair Grounds, New Orleans, La., Top 4 Points: 100-40-20-10.

                                                                      Brisnet.com       Run

Horse (Points)               Trainer                    Prime Power      Style

Known Likely Starters:

War of Will (60)               Mark Casse               145.0                   E/P 7

Country House (20)          Bill Mott                   130.9                   S 2

Hog Creek Hustle (9)        Vickie Foley              130.2                   S 2

 

Known Possible Starters:

Roiland (10)                    Tom Amoss              129.3                   P 0

SUNLAND DERBY (GII)

Sunday, March 24, $800,000, 3yo, 1 1/8 M, Sunland Park, Hobbs, N.M., Top 4 Points: 50-20-10-5.

                                                                      Brisnet.com       Run

Horse (Points)               Trainer                    Prime Power      Style

Known Likely Starters:

Anothertwistafate (10)      Blaine Wright            137.2                   E 8

+Hustle Up (0)                 Todd Fincher            137.0                   E 8

 

Known Possible Starters:

Mucho Gusto (14)            Bob Baffert               136.4                   E/P 7

 

UAE DERBY (GII)

Saturday, March 30, $2.5 million, 3yo, 1 3/16 M, Meydan Racecourse, Dubai, Top 4 Points: 100-40-20-10.

 

Horse (Points)               Trainer                                                       

Known Possible Starters:

+Estihdaaf (0)                 Saeed bin Suroor

+Golden Jaguar (0)          Ahmad bin Harmash 

+Moshaher (0)                Doug Watson

+Red Cactus (0)               Bent Olsen

Tone Broke (0)                Steve Asmussen

Superior (0)                     Ahmad bin Harmash

Walking Thunder (0)        Ahmad bin Harmash

 

FLORIDA DERBY (GI)

Saturday, March 30, $1 million, 3yo, 1 1/8 M, Gulfstream Park, Hallandale Beach, Fla., Top 4 Points: 100-40-20-10.

                                                                      Brisnet.com       Run

Horse (Points)               Trainer                    Prime Power      Style

Known Likely Starters:

Harvey Wallbanger (10)     Kenny McPeek          129.0                   S 0

 

WOOD MEMORIAL (GII)

Saturday, April 6, $750,000, 3yo, 1 1/8 M, Aqueduct, Ozone, N.Y., Top 4 Points: 100-40-20-10.

                                                                      Brisnet.com       Run

Horse (Points)               Trainer                    Prime Power      Style

Known Possible Starters:

Tax (12)                          Danny Gargan           137.8                   E/P 7

BLUE GRASS (GII)

Saturday, April 6, $1 million, 3yo, 1 1/8 M, Keeneland, Lexington, Ky., Top 4 Points: 100-40-20-10.

SANTA ANITA DERBY (GI)

Saturday, April 6, $1 million, 3yo, 1 1/8 M, Santa Anita, Arcadia, Calif., Top 4 Points: 100-40-20-10.

 

ARKANSAS DERBY (GI)

Saturday, April 13, $1 million, 3yo, 1 1/8 M, Oaklawn Park, Hot Springs, Ark., Top 4 Points: 100-40-20-10.

 

LEXINGTON (GIII)

Saturday, April 13, $200,000, 3yo, 1 1/16 M, Keeneland, Lexington, Ky., Top 4 Points: 20-8-4-2.

SCULLY’S KENTUCKY DERBY REPORT

Many stakes-winning juveniles have waited until March to open their 3-year-old campaigns and a growing sense of anticipation surrounds the next two weekends as major Kentucky Derby prospects will return in the Fountain of Youth (GII) at Gulfstream and San Felipe (GII) at Santa Anita.

    Saturday’s Fountain of Youth is up first and features the reappearance of Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) winner Signalman and unbeaten Grade III victor Vekoma. On March 9, Bob Baffert will bring back top-ranked contenders Game Winner and Improbable in a star-studded San Felipe that is also expected to have Instagrand.

    Baffert likes to ship and typically splits up his top Kentucky Derby contenders at this time of year. And that’s why it was so surprising to learn he planned to run the Grade I-winning stablemates against each other in the San Felipe. I assumed Baffert would send one (most likely Improbable) to Oaklawn Park for the $1 million Rebel (GII) on March 16, the same race 2-year-old champions and eventual classic winners American Pharoah and Lookin at Lucky launched their stellar 3-year-old campaigns, and the recent decision made me wonder whether Baffert lacks confidence in either individual.

    This barn loves the Oaklawn route, with the five-time Kentucky Derby-winning conditioner winning six of the 23 qualifying races since the inception of the points system in 2013 and a record six editions of the Rebel, but Baffert’s been conspicuously absent from the first two Arkansas qualifiers this year (Smarty Jones and Southwest). Robert B. Lewis (GIII) winner Mucho Gusto has been the only trainee to make an impact in a 2019 points race and remains under consideration for the Rebel, but he’s certainly not held in the same esteem as a Game Winner or Improbable presently.

    Baffert had options with Dessman and Roadster and elected to enter them in an entry-level allowance at Santa Anita Friday. The one-mile event has also attracted Nolo Contesto, a smart maiden winner who was scratched from the Feb. 2 Lewis due to sloppy conditions, and it arguably came up tougher than most of the Kentucky Derby qualifiers so far this year.

    But with only seven weekends of prep races remaining in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, Friday’s allowance participants will have little margin for error as they attempt to qualify.

Preview

Signalman brings the best credentials into the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth. A rallying third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), the Kenny McPeek-trained colt exits a neck victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. He showed good tactical speed overcoming a tricky rail post in a 14-horse field last time and Brian Hernandez will be up on the hard-trying son of General Quarters.

     The 2017 edition of the Kentucky Jockey Club produced six stakes winners the following winter/spring (Enticed, Promises Fulfilled, Reride, Quip, Bravazo and Diamond King), but the 13 rivals Signalman defeated have combined to produce an ignominious 0-for-16 record since the late November race.

    Vekoma posted a pair of convincing wins last fall, including the one-mile Nashua (GIII) at Aqueduct, and the Candy Ride colt shows a five-furlong bullet work in preparation for George Weaver. Other runners with stakes experience include Everfast, runner-up at 128-1 odds in the Feb. 2 Holy Bull (GII); and Bourbon War, who will return to stakes company off a strong allowance win on Jan. 18.

    Global Campaign, a son of Curlin and half-brother to multiple Grade I winner Bolt d’Oro, will make his stakes debut following a pair of comfortable maiden and allowance wins at Gulfstream. And Hidden Scroll will compete for favoritism following a superb 14-length debut maiden win on the Pegasus World Cup undercard.

    Hidden Scroll will have doubters – the Hard Spun colt led wire to wire over a sloppy track at a one-turn mile – but I came away impressed by how the well-bred colt toyed with the competition, traveling wide most of the way after showing speed from the innermost post. I remember how Big Brown came out of nowhere in March 2008, winning an off-the-turf allowance by 12 ¾ lengths at a one-turn mile in his first start since taking a turf maiden race at Saratoga, and registered a 102 BRIS Speed rating.

    Hidden Scroll also netted a 102 Speed figure, a number that stands out among Kentucky Derby hopefuls this year, and I’m tabbing the Bill Mott trainee on Saturday.

Other 3-year-olds of Interest

 Here are some 3-year-olds from last week who could be headed to a Kentucky Derby qualifier:

Gulfstream Park

     Maximum Security made short work of five starter allowance foes on Feb. 20, showing speed from the break and drawing away sharply to an 18 ¼-length decision, and the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) on March 30 is next for the exciting sophomore. “It’s all Maximum Security in a powerhouse run” is how track announcer Pete Aiello described it and it’s been a rapid ascent for Maximum Security, who was available for a $16,000 maiden claiming tag about two months earlier. Owner/breeder Gary and Mary West and trainer Jason Servis were fortunate the bay colt wasn’t haltered from his Dec. 20 debut performance, a 9 ¾-length win at Gulfstream, and Maximum Security followed with a 6 ½-length triumph over starter allowance foes at six furlongs a month later. He improved to three-for-three while stretching out to seven panels in this spot and his BRIS Speed ratings have risen nicely (94-96-100). Two turns remains a question mark but he’s bred for added ground. From the first crop of champion 2-year-old New Year’s Day, a son of Street Cry, Maximum Security hails from Lil Indy, a daughter of the A.P. Indy stallion Anasheed and a half-sister to two-time Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner Flat Out. Maximum Security has posted a pair of wire-to-wire victories and the up-and-comer displayed good tractability winning his second start from just off the pace.

    In the Loop determinedly graduated at first asking, turning back a challenge from 8-5 favorite Where Lays Paradise to prevail by a neck in a six-furlong maiden special weight on Feb. 23. The chestnut colt was hustled from the gate by leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr. but didn’t make the front, tracking in second before offering a bid on the far turn. He emerged with a short lead in upper stretch but Where Paradise Lays loomed a serious threat as he advanced to even terms with a sixteenth of a mile remaining. In the Loop gamely proved best, with the next three finishers spread out behind the top two, and earned a solid 90 Speed rating. The Super Saver colt gained valuable experience and while his pedigree looks a little speedy, he’s from a classy female family. Jorge Duarte Jr. trains for Colts Neck Stables.

Tampa Bay Downs

     Spinoff returned from a 194-day layoff with an 11 ¾-length thrashing of entry-level allowance opponents on Feb. 22. Last seen finishing third in the Saratoga Special (GII) in August, the Hard Spun colt stretched out to two turns for Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez was in to ride the Wertheimer and Frere homebred. Spinoff established a forward position before settling just off the speed in a four-horse field, wrested the advantage from the pacesetter nearing the conclusion of the far turn and came under a ride entering stretch as another rival momentarily threatened. The chestnut colt responded to challenge, spectacularly drawing off over the final furlong, and received a 93 BRIS Speed rating. He’s out of the Grade I-winning Zaftig, a daughter of Gone West and half-sister to Grade I winner Zo Impressive. Both come from the Grade I-winning Cozzene mare Zoftig. Pletcher has won a record five editions of the Florida Derby, including four of the last five, and the March 30 race rates as a logical option for Spinoff.

Oaklawn Park

     Steve Asmussen waited until Feb. 24 to unveil Pyron and the Candy Ride colt did not disappoint in a six-furlong maiden special weight. Owned and bred by Winchell Thoroughbreds, Pyron was asked for run at the break by Ricardo Santana Jr. and advanced three-wide into contention on the far turn. The chestnut entered the stretch clinging to a short lead, and with a host of rivals on both sides, and had to repulse a stiff challenge from runner-up and 8-5 favorite Golden Notion to score by about a length. Pyron registered a 92 BRIS Speed rating and descends from the female family of Grade I winners Untapable, Paddy O’Prado, Tapizar, Olympio and Pyro.

Scully’s Kentucky Derby Top 10

 1. IMPROBABLE: Top billing heading into San Felipe

2. GAME WINNER: San Felipe won’t be easy spot for 2yo champ’s return

3. HIDDEN SCROLL: Impressive debut winner tests mettle in Fountain of Youth

4. COUNTRY HOUSE: Plenty of upside for Risen Star runner-up

5. WAR OF WILL: Flashy winner of Risen Star and Lecomte at Fair Grounds

6. VEKOMA: Unbeaten Nashua scorer tries two turns in Fountain of Youth

7. BOURBON WAR: Fountain of Youth next for sharp Gulfstream allowance winner

8. GUNMETAL GRAY: His late kick could prove effective at some point

9. SIGNALMAN: Kentucky Jockey Club hero back for Fountain in Youth

10. MAXIMUM SECURITY: Exciting colt faces class and distance check in Florida Derby