2008 Fountain of Youth Stakes Recap

Feb. 24, 2008 Even after officials re-timed the 62nd running of the $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes-G2 it still looked like a race that wouldnt produce a Kentucky Derby winner and maybe not even a contender.

The original fractions for the race: 25.78, 49.27, 1:13.19, and 1:38.31, and the final time of 1:51.85, were so slow they prompted officials to retime the race by hand, after which they concluded the race had actually been run with fractions of 24.03, 47.62, 1:11.52, and 1:36.32, with a revised final time of 1:50.07 for the mile and an eighth over a fast track.

The electronic timer used for the original clocking had been inadvertently set off by an outrider and his pony. The new hand-timed fractions and final time will now appear in the Official Charts for the race, but you still couldnt help but think there were no Kentucky Derby contenders in this bunch.

To make matters worse for any Derby hopefuls in the Fountain of Youth, last years 2-year-old champion War Pass romped in the next race under no urging over an extremely weak field, and appeared that he would have done the same in the Fountain of Youth.

Cool Coal Man won the Fountain of Youth after a perfect trip under jockey Kent Desormeaux, stalking a pressured pace from the rail until late on the final turn, moving out four-wide to take over in early stretch, opening up and then holding on to defeat Elysium Fields by half a length at the wire.

Elysium Fields made his original bid outside in late turn, briefly taking the lead before giving way to the winner in early stretch. To his credit, Elysium Fields didnt quit after appearing to be put away for good by the winner in mid stretch, moving off the inside late and coming back on to make it close.

It was a further 5 lengths back to Court Vision, who rallied willingly in his first start since November 24, 2007, when he won the mile and an eighth Remsen Stales-G2 at Aqueduct. Z Humor finished 2 lengths back of Court Vision in fourth. If there was one horse in the Fountain of Youth Stakes eligible to improve before the Kentucky Derby it would have to be Court Vision, trained by Bill Mott.

Favored Monba ($3.80) was jammed in tight mildly on the first turn, stalked outside to the final turn and then steadily faded to finish last. Derby hopeful Anak Nakal passed tired horses to finish eighth after trailing for most of the race. Second choice Kentucky Bear ($4.10) got a lesson in both class and fitness in his second lifetime start after stalking the pressured pace from decent position off the rail to the final turn. He faded to finish seventh.

The winner, trained by Nick Zito for Robert Lapenta, increased his lifetime earnings to $307,531 from a record of 4-1-0 in seven starts. It was the second win at a mile and an eighth for the colt by Mineshaft-Coral Sea by Rubiano, who had previously won his 3-year-old debut going that distance at Gulfstream Park in a condition allowance on January 26.

Court Vision paid $16.60 to win.

Fountain of Youth Stakes Results and Payoffs

February 24, 2008 - Race 9 Gulfstream Park

1 Cool Coal Man $16.60 $8.40 $6.00

9 Elysium Fields $8.00 $4.40

3 Court Vision $3.40

5 Z Humor

$1 Exacta 1-9 paid $87.80

$2 Trifecta 1-9-3 paid $1,267.60

$1 Superfecta 1-9-3-5 paid $6,386.70

War Pass romps in 2008 debut

Lucky for the Fountain of Youth entrants that last years 2-year-old champion War Pass decided to make his first start in an allowance race. The 3-year-old colt by Cherokee Run-Vue by Mr. Prospector, went to post in a one-mile $60,000 allowance race following the Fountain of Youth and totally dominated four very weak rivals to remain undefeated. He is now a perfect 5-for-5.

Moving to the front early under no urging from jockey Cornelio Velasquez, War Pass set cruising fractions of 23.94, 46.72, 1:11.90, and 1:24.06 before drawing off to win easily by 7 lengths, getting the mile in 1:36.38. The winner of the Breeders Cup Juvenile-G1 last fall paid a paltry but logical $2.10 to win and place.

There was no show wagering. Web Gem finished second, 16 lengths in front of Chadwell.

Trained by Nick Zito for owners Lane’s End Farm and Robert LaPenta, War Pass will now be pointed to the Tampa Bay Derby on March 15, followed by his final Kentucky Derby prep, the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 5.