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    Upstart, the winner of the Holy Bull (G2) heads a field of eight in Saturday's $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla. The 1 and 1/16th mile race is one of two Kentucky Derby points races running Saturday; the other being the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, La. Click here for Risen Star PPs courtesy of Brisnet. 

    Saturday’s races mark the first of sixteen Championship Series races in Churchill Downs’ Road to the Kentucky Derby point system.* The top four finishers earn points in hopes of a spot in the May 2nd Kentucky Derby (G1).

    Trainer Rick Violette sends out Upstart for owner Ralph Evans, the 8-5 Fountain of Youth favorite. The son of Flatter has three wins and has never finished off the board in five lifetime starts. His worst finish was third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in which he was beaten 6 and a half lengths by Texas Red. Although Upstart has been training at Palm Meadows, he's already shown he can handle the Fountain of Youth distance and the Gulfstream Park surface. He won the 1 and 1/16th mile Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park in his last start and defeated fellow Fountain of Youth rivals, Frosted and Bluegrass Singer, by 5 and a half lengths or more. Regular rider Jose Ortiz will be in the irons when the pair breaks from post seven.

    Just inside of Upstart, in post six, is Frosted, who finished second to Upstart in the Holy Bull. Frosted is looking for his first win since breaking his maiden October 30th. Although his running style suggests he prefers the lead, Frosted overcame a bumpy start in the Holy Bull to rally from mid-pack and finished second, 5 and a half lengths back. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will try blinkers on the Tapit colt and will retain jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., who's ridden Frosted in his last three starts.

    Completing the trifecta in the Holy Bull was Marcus Vitali’s Bluegrass Singer. The son of Bluegrass Cat held the lead under a moderate pace, but began to fall back as the field turned for home and finished 7 and 3 quarter lengths behind winner Upstart. Breaking from post two in the Fountain of Youth, Bluegrass Singer will likely find himself on the lead again, battling his Holy Bull foes. He’s shown good speed in two 1 mile victories at Gulfstream Park, including the Mucho Macho Man Stakes, but may not be as interested in the longer distance. Jockey Paco Lopez picks up the mount.

    With so much early speed and a probable battle on the front-end, an interesting closer to watch is Starlight Racing’s Itsaknockout. The Todd Pletcher-trained son of Lemon Drop Kid is undefeated in two career starts and makes his stakes debut. Breaking his maiden at first asking and returning to a 5 and half length romp in a $75,000 one-mile allowance, Itsaknockout has the second highest last race Brisnet speed rating of 102. He may be inexperienced, but shows a promising talent. Luis Saez will pilot the colt from post five.

    The field from the rail out is: Juan and Bina 20-1, Bluegrass Singer 8-1, Frammento 30-1, Gorgeous Bird 6-1, Itsaknockout 4-1, Frosted 5-2, Upstart 8-5 and Danny Boy 15-1. The race is the 11th on Gulfstream Park’s stakes-filled Saturday card with a scheduled post time of 5:30 EST. The race can be seen on HRTV and TVG. Click here for free PPs of the card courtesy of Brisnet.   

    * The Kentucky Derby points system replaced the graded stakes earnings system as the determiner of Kentucky Derby entrants. In the first phase, the Kentucky Derby Prep Season that concludes February 16th, the top four finishers in the pre-determined races are awarded points of 10-4-2-1. In the first leg of phase two, the Championship Series, the top four finishers in 8 pre-determined races are awarded points of 50-20-10-5. In the second leg of the Championship Series, the top four finishers in the 7 pre-determined races receive points of 100-40-20-10. The Apr. 11 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland is a wildcard race and offers points of 10-4-2-1.

    Photo: Courtesy BreedersCup.com

     

    Jessie Oswald's picture

    About Jessie Oswald

    I'm a lifetime Louisville resident with a passion for horse racing. When I'm not working as a paralegal or taking care of my family, I follow Thoroughbred racing and love to share the excitement and beauty of the sport with anyone willing to learn!

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