Orb defeated favorite Violence to win Saturday’s $400,000 Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla. It was the first stakes win for the Shug McGaughey trainee who is now second on the Kentucky Derby Road to the Derby points list with 50 points. It should guarantee the son of Malibu Moon a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.
Orb was bet down to 5-1 from his morning line odds of 12-1 and sent off as the second choice in the field of nine. Majestic Hussar set a quick pace as the early leader, completing the half in :45.45. Staying just off his lead were Cerro and Violence. As the field turned for home, Violence closed in to take the lead. However, Orb was gaining ground from the back of the pack and quickly gave Todd Pletcher’s undefeated Violence a challenge. Although Orb never relinquished the lead, Violence continued to fight on, losing by a half-length. Speak Logistics was nearly seven lengths behind in third with Majestic Hussar another two back in fourth.
“It was great,” said McGaughey. “We got a good pace, but for him to be able to catch up from where he was over this kind of track, twice, is saying a whole lot.”
Hall of Fame trainer and Kentucky native, McGaughey is still seeking his first Kentucky Derby victory. He trained Hall of Famer Easy Goer to a second-place finish in the 1989 edition of the Kentucky Derby.
“I’ve been worried about it [the Kentucky Derby] since I started rubbing horses in 1971 or 2,” said McGaughey.
Violence, whose victories in the Nashua Stakes and CashCall Futurity as a two-year-old had put him on several handicappers’ Kentucky Derby top ten lists, lost nothing in defeat. The way he battled on to come back at Orb after he was passed showed the heart needed to win a race like the Kentucky Derby. However, for Violence that strength will not be needed for the Kentucky Derby, but for the battle that lies ahead as the colt overcomes an injury sustained during the Fountain of Youth.
It was announced Sunday afternoon that Violence suffered a fracture to his front right medial sesamoid and is now off the Kentucky Derby trail. HRTV later reported that the colt had been retired from racing.
“It’s such a disappointment to see such a promising colt sustain an injury,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “He’s been training beautifully and made such an impressive effort in his second place finish yesterday.”
Orb returned $12.80, $4, and $3. Violence paid $2.40 and $2.10 and completed the $2 exacta for $26.40. Speak Logistics paid $4 and completed the $1 trifecta for $72.90. Majestic Hussar completed the $1 superfecta for $233.10. The final time for the 1 1/16 mile race over the fast dirt was 1:42:24.
To see a replay of the Fountain of Youth click here .
Photo: Courtesy Gulfstream Park