©2016 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us to sunny Florida, Saturday, where Mohayman, winner of the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (G2), will go the starting gate as the 6-5 morning-line favorite in the 74th running of $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Undefeated in four starts, Mohaymen comes into this race for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin off of an impressive 3½ length win in his debut as a three year old in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
MOHAYMEN was reserved just off the leaders from between foes after being bumped at the break, moved up to offer a bid nearing the half, opened a clear lead approaching the stretch and drew off through the lane with little need of urging.
His finish time of 1:42.07 was pretty good for his first start of the season and it gives him a good foundation to build on going forward.
Mohaymen is a sire-line descendant of the Bold Ruler Ancestral Herd and with a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, he has the breeding to be competitive in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2).
Tapit, the sire of Mohaymen, was undefeated in two starts as a 2-year-old including a win in the Laurel Futurity (G3). As a 3-year-old, Tapit was troubled by a lung infection for much of the season but did win the nine-furlong Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to a ninth-place finish in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
Regular jockey Junior Alvarado returns to the irons and a bullet work out on February 12 could have Mohaymen ready to run a good race.
The horse that interests me most in this race is Zulu who’s the morning-line second choice at 3-1 odds. I wrote about him in my 2016 Kentucky Derby Outlook and with an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, Zulu has the best breeding of all the horses in this race.
He’s trained by Todd Pletcher and he comes into the Fountain of Youth with two wins in two starts, including an impressive 7¼ length romp in his last race. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
ZULU was away well then rated up close just off early leader, inched up leaving backstretch and put head in front at five sixteenths pole, asked for more in upper stretch, continued with response then kicked in willingly, opened up on field and finished well clear.
Bernardini, the sire of Zulu, did not race as a 2-year-old but at the age of three, he was a fast colt that won races from a mile to 10-furlongs.
He broke his maiden on his second start running a mile at Gulfstream Park in 1:35.57. That’s the kind of time I like to see a young colt run in a mile. Bernardini went on to become a Classic Champion Thoroughbred, compiling a 6-1-0 record in eight starts with $3,060,480 in career earnings.
Notable races won by Bernardini in route to becoming the 2006 Eclipse Champion Three-Year-Old Male include: Withers Stakes (G3, 8-furlongs), Preakness Stakes (G1, 9½-furlongs), Jim Dandy Stakes (G2, 8½ furlongs), Travers Stakes (G1, 10 furlongs), Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1, 10 furlongs) and he finished second, a length behind Invasor, winner of the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1, 10 furlongs).
It remains to be seen if Zulu can step up to be successful in stakes competition. But, if he lives up to his breeding, he’ll be tough in this race.
Awesome Speed (4-1) and Awesome Banner (7-2) are fast colts and if they can carry their speed beyond a mile, they could, perhaps, get up for the win or factor in the exotics. However, I’m not too keen on them for the win.
One never knows if a young Thoroughbred will live up to his breeding and there can be many factors that contribute to a horse not running to his Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® – Effinex is a good example of that. And, sometimes horses with a low profile score can win races that are shorter than the classic 10 furlong distance. Here’s a look at the profile ranking of the horses in this race:
3. Awesome Speed
4. Awesome Banner
6. Golden Ray
The winner of Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) will receive 50 points, the second-place finisher will receive 20 points, the third-place finisher will receive 10 points and the fourth-place finisher will receive 5 points.
Halfway through the Championship series, beginning with the UAE Derby (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 26, the points will increase to 100 points for the winner, 40 points for second place, 20 points for third and 10 points for fourth place.
Here’s a look at the current top twenty Derby qualifiers:
2016 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Rank, Horse, Points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Gun Runner, 51, Steve Asmussen, $249,200
2. Nyquist, 30, Doug O’Neill, $1,700,000
3. Mor Spirit, 24, Bob Baffert, $336,800
4. Mo Tom, 22, Tom Amoss $288,326
5. Mohaymen, 20, Kiaran McLaughlin, $514,830
6. Forevamo, 20, All Stall, Jr., $210,000
7. Sunny Ridge, 18, Jason Servis, $505,600
8. Exaggerator, 16, Keith Desormeaux, $980,000
9. Flexibility, 15, Chad Brown, $232,500
10. Brody’s Cause, 14, Dale Romans, $500,000
11. Greenpointcrusader, 14, Dominick Schettino, $369,300
12. Swipe, 12, Keith Desormeaux, $597,130
13. Collected, 11, Bob Baffert, $105,000
14. Airoforce, 10, Mark Casse, $444,080
15. Suddenbreakingnews, 10, Donnie Von Hemel, $410,000
16. Cocked and Loaded, 10, Larry Rivelli, $280,840
17. Discreetness, 10, William “Jinks” Fires, $246,153
18. Frank Conversation, Doug O’Neill, $199,000
19. Riker, 10, Nicholas Gonzalez, $182,375
20. Vorticity, 8, James Lawrence II, $150,000