Three Takeaways from the 2021 Fountain of Youth

Mar 02, 2021 by James Scully/

After winning the Holy Bull S. (G3) in late January, Greatest Honour came back to add Saturday’s Fountain of Youth S. (G2) to his ledger. He will seek a sweep of the Kentucky Derby qualifiers at Gulfstream Park in the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) on March 27.

Here are three Fountain of Youth takeaways.

What a finish!

Greatest Honour wasn’t focused throughout Saturday’s Fountain of Youth S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park, and looked beat while idling in traffic midway on the final turn, but the Tapit colt blew the doors off the competition when guided into the clear at the head of the stretch.

His stretch run was a “wow” moment, and Greatest Honour’s finishing kick appears perfectly suited for the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

The Courtlandt Farms’ homebred closed fast to overhaul pacesetting runner-up Drain the Clock, scoring by 1 1/2 lengths, and Greatest Honour has now won three straight for Kentucky Derby-winning conditioner Shug McGaughey.

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Upward trajectory similar to Orb

McGaughey and Jose Ortiz couldn’t be more bullish on longer distances. There’s a consensus that Greatest Honour is simply getting warmed up at the 1 1/16-mile distances of the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth.

The bay colt is not one of these win-every-race types like recent Derby winners American Pharoah, Nyquist, and Justify. Greatest Honor is more like Orb, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2013 for McGaughey.

Both horses needed four starts to break their maiden. Neither Greatest Honour nor Orb received outstanding Speed/performance ratings for every previous start.

Orb kept progressing, putting everything together on the first Saturday in May, and McGaughey has the same plan for Greatest Honour.

Mental development

Greatest Honour has the tools to win the Kentucky Derby if he keeps moving forward. Given his late-running style, he will need to have his head on straight to navigate a trip in a potential 20-horse field.

The long-striding colt basically ran in spots during the Fountain of Youth, nine weeks out from the Kentucky Derby. That wasn’t encouraging.

McGaughey could have easily waited for the Florida Derby after winning the Holy Bull, but Greatest Honour is still unpolished from a mental perspective. The Fountain of Youth provided seasoning the improving colt wasn’t going to glean from workouts, and Greatest Honour should only benefit from the experience. 

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