2017 Fountain of Youth Stakes Picks and Race Analysis

2017 Fountain of Youth Stakes Picks and Analysis

2017 Fountain of Youth-G2, Race 13, Gulfstream Park, March 4, 2017

3-Year-Olds, 1 1/16-miles, Dirt, Purse: $400,000

Fountain of Youth Stakes Picks

1. Gunnevera
2. Irish War Cry
3. Practical Joke
4. Made You Look

Fountain of Youth Stakes Analysis

It’s tough to go against Fountain of Youth morning-line favorite Irish War Cry but of course we’ll be looking, especially if he’s over bet.

The undefeated son of 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1 winner Curlin has won all three of his lifetime starts, including the $100,000 Marylander and the Holy Bull-G2 in wire-to-wire fashion in last two. He probably isn’t a need-to-lead type however, as he broke his maiden from well off the pace. That being said, those were lesser horses than he’ll meet in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth.

Trained by Graham Motion, who won the Kentucky Derby-G1 with Animal Kingdom in 2011, Irish War Cry has done nothing to make you think he can’t win this race, the only thing going against him are the odds. We just hate betting favorites at short prices, so we’ll probably take a shot on Gunnevera.


Gunnevera finished second to Irish War Cry in the Holy Bull on February 4 after being forced to steady on the turn when trying to sneak up the inside. He finished with good energy in that race, and it that was his first start since winning the Delta Downs Jackpot-G3 on November 19 last year. Gunnevera also proved his class as a 2-year-old with a win in the Saratoga Special-G2 and while he’s not flashy he will come running late. He is expected to improve in his race, but some kind of pace battle on the turn between Irish War Cry and others would certainly help his chances. Slated to be ridden by top jock Javier Castellano, he could get a great trip in here and we’d like to see 3-1 or better on him.

Practical Joke makes his first start since finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on November 5, 2016 for top trainer Chad Brown, and if you like horses with heart this might be your play. Practical Joke won gutsy stretch battles to take both the Hopeful-G1 and Champagne-G1 last year and he has been training well. Brown thinks he’s ready, but he’s obviously looking for just enough of a good performance to put him in the Kentucky Derby picture. He’s another in here who would benefit from a pace battle. The downside might be his price. He’s listed at 3-1 on the morning line.

The longshot play is Made You Look off a mildly troubled trip in the $100,000 Kittens Joy Stakes on February 4 at Gulfstream on the turf. Made You Look has won three of six including two stakes and was sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year, but he’s never run on the dirt. He does have a dirt pedigree however, and he did finish with good energy late in his last after getting clear. A longshot for your exactas, trifectas and superfectas.

We should also mention that we watched the replay of Peruvian shipper Huracan Americo’s win in the Derby Nacional-G1 going 1 1/2-miles on November 6, 2016 and he actually looked okay. Whether he can measure up with these on the class raise is anybody’s guess at 50-1, but he should handle the distance just fine and he fits the angle of a true router making his first start off a layoff. Still, he is a total flyer play at best.

There’s enough speed in the Fountain of Youth to make it interesting for favorite Irish War Cry, with Beasley, Three Rules, Lookin for Eight and Takaful in the mix, and if Irish War Cry does happen to get himself involved in a fight too early, Gunnervera and Practical Joke would be the beneficiaries.

Of course we’ll be betting against the favorite and will likely play the better odds of Gunnevera and Practical Joke, using the other along with Irish War Cry, Made You Look and flyer Huracan Americo in our exactas, trifectas and superfectas.

It’s about time we hit a longshot, don’t you think?