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Fountain of Youth heads Derby qualifying action; Mott-trained Hidden Scroll favored

Churchill Downs’ weekly Derby Dispatch


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019) – Following a week of minimal action on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, the Championship Series returns Saturday with all eyes focused on the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (Grade II) at Gulfstream Park.

Bill Mott/Courtsey Gulfstream Park

The 73rd renewal of the Fountain of Youth – the second of 16 Championship Series races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve – will award 85 points to the Top 4 finishers: 50 to first, 20 to second, 10 to third and 5 to fourth.

Impressive debut winner Hidden Scroll is the 9-5 favorite in the field of 11 that also attracted stakes winners Vekoma and Signalman.

Gulfstream Park video: Churchill Downs former all-time leader Bill Mott discusses Hidden Scroll

The 1 1/16-mile race goes as Race 13 at Gulfstream Park with a scheduled post time of 5:32 p.m. (all times Eastern).

On Friday, trainer Aidan O’Brien has a pair of Triple Crown nominees – favored Western Australia (IRE) and second-choice Van Beethoven – entered in the Patton at Ireland’s Dundalk, which offers 20-8-4-2 points on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Later Friday afternoon, a pair of first-level allowances could produce starters in next-round preps. Mucho is odds-on in a six-furlong sprint at Gulfstream. RoadsterDessman and Nolo Contesto are entered to race one mile at Santa Anita.      There’s only one race this week on Road to the Kentucky Oaks. Champion 2-year-old filly Jaywalk is the 2-5 favorite in the Gulfstream Park’s Grade II, $200,000 Davona Dale (Race 12 at 5:01 p.m.).

The 145th runnings of the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles and $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) for 3-year-olds at 1 ¼ miles will be staged at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. in nine weeks on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4, respectively. – Darren Rogers


HIDDEN SCROLL 9-5 FAVORITE IN 11-HORSE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH – Hidden Scroll crushed maiden rivals when making his first start five weeks ago and the exciting 3-year-old colt will look to join the Kentucky Derby picture in Saturday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth (Grade II) at Gulfstream Park.

A Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier, the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth awards a total of 85 points to the top four finishers (50-20-10-5 scale) and Hidden Scroll has been tabbed as the 9-5 morning line favorite against 10 rivals.

Juddmonte Farms homebred, Hidden Scroll was overlooked at 8-1 when opening his career in a one-mile maiden special weight on the Jan. 26 Pegasus World Cup undercard at Gulfstream. The Bill Mott-trained colt showed speed from the start, widening his advantage at every point of call, and drew off spectacularly to a 14-length decision. Hidden Scroll registered a field-best 102 BRIS Speed rating and Joel Rosario retains the mount on the son of 2007 Kentucky Derby runner-up Hard Spun.

Vekoma will make his first attempt in a Kentucky Derby qualifier. The promising Candy Ride colt won both starts last year, including a 1 ¾-length victory in the Nashua (GIII) at Aqueduct in November, and will open his 3-year-old campaign with first-time Lasix. George Weavertrains from R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables and regular rider Manny Franco will be in from New York for the assignment.

Signalman showed an affinity for Churchill Downs last fall, recording a rallying third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) and a victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII), and makes his anticipated 3-year-old bow Saturday. A $32,000 yearling purchase, Signalman has already earned nearly $450,000 for his connections and is conditioned by Kenny McPeekBrian Hernandez Jr. guides the early 9-2 third choice.

Bourbon War returns to stakes company following a sharp 2 ¼-length allowance triumph last month. Leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr. will be up for Mark HennigGlobal Campaign will make his initial stakes appearance after a pair of comfortable wins at Gulfstream, showing good speed defeating maiden special weight and entry-level allowance foes. He’s trained by Stanley Hough and has the services of Luis Saez.

Everfast merits consideration following a runner-up effort in the Feb. 2 Holy Bull (GII) at 128-1 odds. Chris Landeros has the call for Dale RomansCode of Honor, runner-up in the Champagne (GII) two back, will seek to rebound after finishing fourth as the favorite in the Jan. 5 Mucho Macho Man. John Velazquez rides for Kentucky Derby winner Shug McGaughey. Holy Bull fourth-placer Epic Dreamer is also part of the mix.

Expected longshots Frosted GraceGladiator King and Union’s Destiny complete the field. – James Scully, TwinSpires.com

BALLYDOYLE CONTINGENT TOPS FRIDAY’S PATTON STAKES – With three races remaining on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby, Friday’s Patton Stakes at Dundalk Stadium in Ireland could serve as a major key prep for a trio of Aiden O’Brien trainees that were entered in the one-mile race.

Carded as Race 6 with a scheduled post time of 2:45 p.m. EST, the eight-horse field is led by Group I-placed, and Triple Crown nominated,Western Australia who is owned by arguably the industry’s most notable partnership of Derrick SmithMrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor. The Irish-bred son of Australia previously finished third in the Oct. 27 Vertem Trophy (GI).

Joining Western Australia in the field is stablemate Van Beethoven – a possible contender for the March 30 UAE Derby (GII). Van Beethoven, who also is Triple Crown nominated, won the Railway Stakes (GII) last summer at the Curragh. The son of Scat Daddy will be ridden by O’Brien’s go-to rider Ryan Moore.

Also entered in the race from O’Brien’s yard is maiden winner Albuquerque (IRE). The colt by Galileo also is nominated to the UAE Derby.

Last year, the Patton Stakes was won by Kentucky Derby contender Mendelssohn prior to his runaway UAE Derby victory.
For more information on the Patton Stakes, visit: http://bit.ly/2EiH2il– Kevin Kerstein

CHAMPION JAYWALK RETURNS FOR 3-YEAR-OLD DEBUT IN SATURDAY’S DAVONA DALE – Champion Jaywalk is set to make her 3-year-old debut at Gulfstream Park on Saturday against six rivals in the $200,000 Davona Dale (Grade II) – a Road to the Kentucky Oaks Championship Series race.

Jaywalk, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) in November at Churchill Downs, was made the heavy 2-5 morning line favorite in the one-mile race. Owned by D J Stable and Cash is King LLC and trained by John Servis, Jaywalk has won four races in a row including the Grade I Frizette Stakes in early October at Belmont Park.

The Davona Dale, carded as Race 12 with a scheduled post time of 5:01 p.m. EST, will award points to the May 3 Longines Kentucky Oaks to the Top 4 finishers in the race on a 50-20-10-5 scale. – Kevin Kerstein


Date         Race                                        Track           Top 4 Points

March 1    Patton*                                     Dundalk       20-8-4-2

March 2    Fountain of Youth                    GP               50-20-10-5

March 6    Road to the Kentucky Derby*   Kempton      20-8-4-2

March 9    Gotham                                   Aqu              50-20-10-5

March 9    San Felipe                                SA                50-20-10-5

March 9    Tampa Bay Derby                    Tam             50-20-10-5

March 9    Jeff Ruby Steaks                        TP                20-8-4-2

March 16  Rebel                                       OP               50-20-10-5

March 23  Louisiana Derby                       FG               100-40-20-10

March 24  Sunland Derby                         Sun               50-20-10-5

March 30  UAE Derby                              Meydan        100-40-20-10

March 30  Florida Derby                          GP               100-40-20-10

March 31  Fukuryu#                                  Nakyama      40-16-8-4

April 6      Wood Memorial                       Aqu              100-40-20-10

April 6      Blue Grass                                Kee              100-40-20-10

April 6      Santa Anita Derby                    SA                100-40-20-10

April 11    Cardinal Condition*                 Chelmsford  30-12-6-3

April 13    Arkansas Derby                        OP               100-40-20-10

April 13    Lexington                                 Kee              20-8-4-2


# Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby

* European Road to the Kentucky Derby


#      Horse                              Trainer                                    Points

1.      War of Will                      Mark Casse                                 60

2.      Game Winner                  Bob Baffert                                30

3.      Country House                  Bill Mott                                     20

4.      Knicks Go                        Ben Colebrook                           18

5.      Signalman                        Kenny McPeek                           18

6.      Gunmetal Gray                Jerry Hollendorfer                      18

7.      Long Range Toddy           Steve Asmussen                           16

8.      Mucho Gusto                    Bob Baffert                                14

9.      Tax                                  Danny Gargan                           12

10.   Super Steed                       Larry Jones                                 10

11.   Mind Control                   Gregg Sacco                               10

12.   Improbable                      Bob Baffert                                10

13.   Harvey Wallbanger           Kenny McPeek                           10

14.   Well Defined                   Kathy O’Connell                        10

15.   Gray Attempt                   Jinks Fires                                  10

16.   Anothertwistoffate            Blaine Wright                             10

17.   Roiland                            Tom Amoss                                10

18.   Hog Creek Hustle              Vickie Foley                                 9

19.   Sueno                               Keith Desormeaux                        8

20.   Our Braintrust                  Mark Casse                                   6

21.   Code of Honor                 Shug McGaughey                          4

22.   Bankit                              Steve Asmussen                             4

23.   Everfast                            Dale Romans                               4

24.   Not That Brady                Rudy Rodriguez                            4

25.   Plus Que Parfait                Brendan Walsh                             4                       


Brinset.com Triple Crown Past Performances


Brisnet.com Patton Stakes Past Performances


Brisnet.com Fountain of Youth Past Performances


Fountain of Youth Stakes History


Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboards



·     The Champion Juvenile of 2018, Game Winner, is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in next Saturday’s San Felipe (Grade II) at Santa Anita. The talented colt, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert and owned by his longtime clients Gary and Mary West, is undefeated through four starts including a trio of Grade I victories in the Del Mar Futurity, American Pharoah and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

·     Owner information: Gary and Mary West are one of the most iconic couples in horse racing. The Wests have been married for 50 years and live in San Diego, Calif. The couple started the telecommunications company West Corp. in 1986. The company, which was founded in Omaha, Neb., eventually became public in 2013 and had a valuation of $5.2 billion. The Wests began their involvement in horse racing in 1980 with trainer Ben Glass. The Wests’ stable began to expand in the early 1990s and they had their first Kentucky Derby starter, Rockamundo, in 1993. The Wests have campaigned multiple Grade I winners including Book ReviewNew Year’s DayPower Broker and West Coast.


·     Trainer information: Hall of Famer Bob Baffert is a five-time Kentucky Derby (GI) and two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer. Baffert, 66, grew up in Arizona on a cattle ranch where he began grooming and galloping horses for his father. Baffert became a jockey in 1971 but couldn’t maintain his riding weight. Baffert owns four Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Trainer (1997-99 and 2015) and 196 Grade I victories.Baffert’s Kentucky Derby winners are Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (’98), War Emblem (2002), American Pharoah (’15) and Justify(’18). – Kevin Kerstein





Friday, March 1, $85,154 3yo, 1 M (Polytrack), Dundalk (R6), Top 4 Points: 20-8-4-2. 2:45 p.m. ET. TV: TVG.


  # Horse                       Jockey                      Trainer                    ML

1.   Van Beethoven          Donnacha O’Brien   Aidan O’Brien            9-2

2.   +Albuquerque (IRE)   Seamie Heffernan     Aidan O’Brien          12-1

3.   +Barys (GB)              Edward Greatrex      Archie Wilson            5-1

4.   +Colfer Me (IRE)      Shane Foley              Joseph O’Brien           8-1

5.   +Manjeer (IRE)         Ross Coakley            John Oxx                 15-1

6.   +Numerian (IRE)      Wayne Lordan          Joseph O’Brien         10-1

7.   +Playa Del Puente (IRE)   Ronan Whelan         Michael Halford         5-1

8.   Western Australia (IRE)    Ryan Moore             Aidan O’Brien            3-2



Saturday, March 2, $400,000, 3yo, 1 1/18 M, Gulfstream Park (R13), Top 4 Points: 50-20-10-5. 5:32 p.m. ET. TV: TVG, Fox Sports 2.


  # Horse                       Jockey                      Trainer                    ML

1.  Code of Honor         John Velazquez         Shug McGaughey III   6-1

2.  Epic Dreamer           Tyler Gaffalione      Kelly Breen              20-1

3.  +Gladiator King       Jorge Solorzano        Jamie Mejia              50-1

4.  Bourbon War            Irad Ortiz Jr.            Mark Hennig            10-1

5.  Vekoma                    Manny Franco          George Weaver          7-2

6.  Signalman                 Brian Hernandez Jr.  Kenny McPeek           9-2

7.  Hidden Scroll            Joel Rosario             Bill Mott                     9-5

8.  Global Campaign      Luis Saez                  Stan Hough               10-1

9.  Everfast                    Chris Landeros         Dale Romans           20-1

10. Frosted Grace           Jonathan Gonzales   Kathy Ritvo              30-1

11. Union’s Destiny        Leonel Reyes            Juan Avila                 30-1


+ Not Triple Crown nominated



Saturday, March 2, $200,000, 3yo Fillies, 1 M, Gulfstream Park (R12), Top 4 Points: 50-20-10-5. 5:01 p.m. ET. TV: TVG, Fox Sports 2


  # Horse                       Jockey                      Trainer                    ML

1. Jaywalk                     Joel Rosario             John Servis                 2-5

2. Cookie Dough           Jeffrey Sanchez        Stanley Gold            20-1

3. Another Time           Irad Ortiz Jr.            Barbara Minshall      30-1

4. Jeltrin                       Leonel Reyes            Alexis Delgado         30-1

5. Champagne Anyone  Chris Landeros         Ian Wilkes                  6-1

6. Bold Script                Jose Ortiz                 Stuart Simon             12-1

7. High Regard              Javier Castellano       Vicki Oliver                9-2




REMSEN STAKES WINNER MAXIMUS MISCHIEF OFF TRIPLE CROWN TRAIL – Promising Remsen Stakes (Grade II) winnerMaximus Mischief has been removed from the Triple Crown trail following a soft tissue injury to his right front leg following a workout on Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park.

Maximus Mischief will be given time off at Eisaman Equine near Ocala, Fla., according to trainer Butch Reid. – Kevin Kerstein


VELAZQUEZ FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH DOMINANCE – Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez could pass Jerry Bailey for the most wins by a jockey in the Fountain of Youth (Grade II) with a victory by Code of Honor.

Velazquez and Bailey are both tied with four victories through 73 runnings of the 1 1/16-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series race. Velazquez won the Fountain of Youth in 2007, ’09-10 and ’13 while fellow Hall of Famer Bailey, now retired and an analyst withNBC, won the race in 1980, ’98 and 2004-05. – Kevin Kerstein


DERBY WINNERS PRODUCED FROM THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH – There have been 13 Kentucky Derby winners who have exited the Fountain of Youth – most recently Orb in 2013.

Other Derby winners who took part the Fountain of Youth prior to their Derby victories: Thunder Gulch (1995), Go for Gin (’94),Unbridled (’90), Swale (’84), Pleasant Colony (’81), Spectacular Bid (’79), Cannonade (’74), Dust Commander (’70), Forward Pass(’68), Kauai King (’66), Carry Back (’61) and Tim Tam (’58).

For more details and a full list of prep races and Kentucky Derby winners, visit: https://bit.ly/2TlxXyI– Kevin Kerstein


ANOTHERTWISTAFATE EYES SUNLAND DERBY – El Camino Real Derby winner Anothertwistafate will attempt to transfer his synthetic form to the dirt in the March 24 Sunland Derby (Grade II), according to his trainer Blaine Wright.

The colt by Scat Daddy has romped in three of four lifetime starts by a combined 16 lengths. Anothertwistafate’s lone dirt start was his debut on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita where he had an enigmatic ninth-place effort. – Kevin Kerstein


DESSMAN, NOLO CONTESTO, ROADSTER DUEL IN FRIDAY ALLOWANCE AT SANTA ANITA – Friday afternoon’s featured race at Santa Anita features highly-touted Triple Crown nominees DessmanNolo Contesto and Roadster in a one-mile allowance event that, perhaps, could be used as a prep race for the Santa Anita Derby (Grade I).

Roadster, the 7-5 morning line favorite for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, dazzled in his maiden-breaking performance in July at Santa Anita. Following his third-place effort behind eventual champion and stablemate Game Winner in the Del Mar Futurity, Roadster received a 60-day layoff. Friday would mark his first start in nearly six months.

Also entered in the race is Roadster’s stablemate Dessman (9-5) who recently finished second to Sparky Ville in the seven-furlong San Vicente (GII). Friday’s race would be the first start around two turns for the son of Union Rags.

Another major contender in the race is maiden winner Nolo Contesto for trainer John Sadler. The Pioneerof the Nile colt defeated next out maiden winner Omaha Beach by a half-length. Omaha Beach could be a contender in the March 16 Rebel (GII) or March 24 Sunland Derby (GII).

The allowance race is carded as Race 8 of 9 at Santa Anita with a scheduled post time of 7:53 p.m. EST. – Kevin Kerstein


HOPEFUL RUNNER-UP MUCHO RETURNS IN FRIDAY ALLOWANCE AT GULFSTREAM – Promising colt Mucho, arguably one of the most impressive maiden winners over the summer at Saratoga and the runner-up in the Hopeful Stakes (Grade I), is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in a six-furlong allowance race Friday at Gulfstream Park.

Owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider and trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Mucho won his second-career start by 9 ¾ lengths and finished three-quarters of a length behind Mind Control in the Hopeful.

Friday’s first-level allowance, which drew a field of five, is carded as Race 2 with a scheduled post time of 1:05 p.m. EST. – Kevin Kerstein


WEDNESDAY’S ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY CONDITION STAKES EXPECTED TO FEATURE TRIPLE CROWN NOMINEES SPANISH MISSION, BLENHEIM PALACE – The European Kentucky Derby will be in the spotlight Wednesday for the Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes at Kempton where Triple Crown nominees Spanish Mission and Blenheim Palace are expected to headline the one-mile race that will award 20-8-4-2 points to the Top 4 finishers.

Spanish Mission, owned in partnership by Kentucky Derby-winning owners Team Valor International along with Erle Mack, won a Class 3 conditions stakes Nov. 10 at Chelmsford City for trainer David Simcock. Jockey Jamie Spencer is expected to pick up the mount on the son of Noble Mission (GB).

Also pre-entered in the race is UAE Derby (GII) nominee Blenheim Palace (IRE) for Mrs. John MagnierMichael Tabor and Derrick Smith. The regally-bred colt by Galileo (IRE) is 0-3 in his career.

Entries will be finalized Tuesday and can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/2EE1pYH– Kevin Kerstein




·        Episode 7: A Big Race for an Intimate Track


·        Episode 6: A Potential Super Star


·        Episode 5: Follow Trainer Kelly Breen as he Trains Son of Orb


·        Episode 4 :Kenny McPeek – The Underdog Trainer

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.