Gulfstream’s Fountain of Youth Kicks Off Pre-Derby Races
Ever want to watch the Kentucky Derby come together?
The fabled Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs, the industry’s signature race, won’t take place until May 4. But, qualifying events like the March 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park kick off the pre-Derby push.
Bettors can obtain bonuses for sign-ups and continued play at Churchill. And, via Gulfstream, they get a lot to look at in a track that’s having a fabulous season.
The winner of this race gets 85 qualifying points for the Derby, and it has been wide open in past years. Only two of the last 10 races feature a favorite in the winner’s circle. That makes sense, as 3-year-olds are rapidly improving and striding toward their best form. You will likely see the winner of this race in the Florida Derby March 30. That’s another monster prep for the Derby. Orb, the 2013 Kentucky Derby champ, won both the Fountain of Youth and the Florida Derby.
Gulfstream, meanwhile, continues to enchant and befuddle bettors. Its carryover Pick 6 hit the last two days of February at nearly $400,000. This pool can mushroom from a few thousand dollars to $1 million in a couple of weeks.
Big races enhance those pools and March 2 will be no exception. Besides the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes, Gulfstream will own the racing day. It adds the $200,000 Davona Dale and Mac Diarmida Stakes, plus five $150,000 events in the Palm Beach, Honey Fox, Canadian Turf, Very One and Herecomesthebride stakes races. It’s an impressive lineup that represents the packaging of top purses.
One week later, March 9, Aqueduct commands center stage with the Busher, Gothham, Stymie and Tom Fool events. The purses combine for $900,000.
Speed horses have been doing well in sprint races here, both on dirt and turf, but closers are prevailing in long turf events. War Cabinet went from last to first in the final quarter-mile on Sunday, February 24. And two price horses, both 7-1, garnered the first two legs of the Pick 6. Don’t be afraid to bet closers on the long turf races.
A 70-1 shot got second and nearly won the opening race that day. The level was maiden $12,500. Low-level claimers? Big fields? Throw a bomb into the mix.
The Ortiz brothers, Jose and Irad, are red-hot jockeys and teaming up for some decent exacta payouts. You like one Ortiz? Bang, take them both. They get respected by the bettors, but two Ortiz horses, both 4-1, teamed with a third entry at 4-1 and a 17-1 long shot to return more than $1,100 for the $1 superfecta on February 24.