To Honor And Serve is a young colt I wrote about in my 2011 Kentucky Derby Outlook and tomorrow he will make his 3-year-old debut as the 8-5 morning line favorite in the 65th running of the $400,000 Fountain Of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
As a 2-year-old, To Honor And Serve was impressive posting a 3-1-0 record in four starts which included easy wins in the Nashua Stakes (G2) and Remsen Stakes (G2) last November at Aqueduct.
One never knows if these young colts will move forward as 3-year-olds, but To Honor And Serve is in good hands with Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott who recorded his first classic win last year with Drosselmeyer in the Belmont Stakes (G1).
And if the training schedule is an indicator of whether To Honor And Serve is moving forward, he has had three sharp works in February and two of those have been bullet work outs which is the first time he as fired bullets.
Bernardini, winner of the 2006 Preakness Stakes (G1), is the sire of To Honor And Serve whose grandsire is the Sire of Sires and 1992 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner A.P. Indy. To Honor And Serve is a descendant of the Bold Ruler sire line which has produced four Fountain Of Youth Stakes winners since 1990 – A.P. Indy sired two of those winners.
Soldat, the 2-1 morning line second-choice, looked impressive winning his 3-year-old debut by 10 ¾ - lengths last month at Gulfstream. Soldat led from gate-to-wire over a sloppy track and covered the 9-furlongs in 1:49.22, earning a 108 Brisnet Speed Figure for that effort.
Soldat has proven to be a versatile colt winning on turf and dirt. In six starts, Soldat has never finished worse than second and he comes into this race with a 2-4-0 record.
Soldat’s sire, War Front, is off to a good start and he also is the sire of The Factor, the speedy winner of the San Vicente Stakes (G2).
A sharp work out on February 19 indicates that Soldat may be ready to run another good race.
Two long shots I like are Bowman’s Causeway (20-1) and Racing Aptitude (30-1).
Breaking his maiden on his third attempt, Bowman’s Causeway looked good earlier this month at Gulstream posting a one-length win in a 9-furlong maiden special weight race. Bowman’s Causeway tracked the leaders in fourth place for most of the race until he angled out in the stretch and rallied for the win.
Bowman’s Causeway earned a 101 speed figure for that effort and I look for him to improve off of that performance.
Bowman’s Causeway picks up French jockey Julien Leparoux who switches his mount from Casper’s Touch (6-1), who’s also entered in this race, and teams up with fellow countryman, trainer Patrick Biancone. Leparoux is sixth in overall jockey standings.
Bowman’s Causeway is a descendant of the Storm Cat branch of the Northern Dancer sire line. Since 1990, the Northern Dancer sire line has produced the most Fountain Of Youth winners at seven with the Storm Cat line producing four of those winners.
Giant’s Causeway, the sire of Bowman’s Causeway, sired the Fountain Of Youth winners Eskendereya (2010) and First Samurai (2006).
Racing Aptitude gets an honorable mention here because his sharp 5-furlong work out on February 19 was much better than the work outs posted by Casper’s Touch and Shackleford who both worked that same day.
To date, Racing Aptitude has not shown much in the racing department but he picks up jockey Jose Lezcano who has previously ridden To Honor And Serve and is ranked fourth in overall jockey standings for Gulstream Park.
His trainer Howard Tesher has a 26 percent success rate switching from turf to dirt and Racing Aptitude has the breeding to be a factor. But so far, he has not lived up to that breeding. His sire, Aptitude, finished second in the 2000 Kentucky Derby (G1) and his grandsire is A.P. Indy.
Whether I use Racing Aptitude will depend on how he looks in the post parade. If he looks good, he may be worth a small wager.