Fountain of Youth: Stamina will be the key
by Handicappers (firstname.lastname@example.org) / Globeform (http://www.globeform.com)
Last update: 2007-04-20 03:43:43 (First published: 2007-03-02 13:10:56 )
Gulfstream Park 3 Mar: Nine three-year-olds are set to go to post for the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2).
The winner is a possible favorite for the Florida Derby (G1) here in four weeks’ time. There’s quite a bit of speed in this 9-furlong contest, and the winner will almost certainly have to stay this trip and more.
Nobiz Like Shobiz, who reappeared to beat two FOY rivals in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3), has always seemed like a horse who will stay. Then again, he was racing a bit keenly last month. His runner-up Drums of Thunder takes up the challenge again, as does the third placed Scat Daddy - who beat ’Nobiz’ in a Grade One last year. Will they fill the trifecta again? It’s possible – but not if the Hollywood Futurity (G1) winner Stormello comes here in good shape.
THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH STAKES (G2)
Gulfstream Park 3 March 2007 – 9 furlongs dirt
Top ranked horse on 100, with others ranked down in pounds.
Horses presented with sire, career best Globeform and rider.
100 – NOBIZ LIKE SHOBIZ (Albert the Great) GF 115+ / C Velasquez
100 – STORMELLO (Stormy Atlantic) GF 115+ / K Desormeaux
..97 – SCAT DADDY (Johannesburg) GF 112 / J Velazquez
..97 – ADORE THE GOLD (Formal Gold) GF 110+ / E Prado
..96 – DRUMS OF THUNDER (Concerto) GF 109 / M Cruz
..91 – MERITOCRACY (Grand Slam) GF 100 / R Bejarano
...? – JOHANNESBURG STAR (Johannesburg) GF ? / R Maragh
...? – DIVINE MASTER (Montbrook) GF ? / R Douglas
..82 – HAL’S MY HOPE (Halo’s Image) GF 91 / J Rivera
Nobiz Like Shobiz came through his seasonal debut in a satisfactory, if not spectacular, way as he won the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) over a mile here at Gulfstream Park a month ago.. He was odds-on to beat seven rivals and did so without too much trouble – after showing early speed and quickening clear at the top of the lane. He was hanging left though, just like last year, and was only 1 ½ lengths better than the 27-1 shot Drums of Thunder (Concerto). Drums of Thunder was making his ninth career start for the Kaplan barn, and he had landed the What a Pleasure Stakes by beating Green Vegas at Calder in December. That form is clearly better than it appeared at the time but there can be no doubt, Nobiz Like Shobiz will meet much better horses in his upcoming races. And the Fountain of Youth is the first of them.
Scat Daddy (Johannesburg), who had beaten him in the Champagne (G1) last year, seemed to drop off the Derby trail already, as he was a dull third in the Holy Bull. He was probably just a typical, precocious juvenile last year, who will find life tough at three.
The Barclay Tagg trained Nobiz Like Shobiz won the 9-furlong Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct in December. Facing a decent, if not top class, field, he simply smashed them. He showed a superb turn of foot early in the straight, and shot clear for a 6 ½-length win over Zanjero, who was running on well from the back. Zanjero had previously been a game winner over First Defence (who was coming off an impressive maiden win), with Wham 3 lengths beaten in third. On the same day as the Remsen, Wham met Sam P. over at Churchill Downs – and was also beaten 3 lengths. Wham was beginning to look exposed, but also game and consistent, telling us there is little to chose between Zanjero and Sam P. And that Nobiz Like Shobiz is way clear of both. This was confirmed as Sam P. was fourth in the Holy Bull, beaten 11 ¼ lengths. He runs in the Lewis Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita. Zanjero, second in the Remsen, came back to run a decent race behind Notional in the Risen Star Stakes (G3), and these formlines are working out quite well.
Nobiz Like Shobiz will be the favorite in the FOY, and as he has the benefit of a recent run under his belt, and is also more likely to appreciate the distance, he is taken to beat Stormello, his chief rival.
Stormello will be no pushover, however. If he has retained his ability he is every bit as good as the favorite. He ran in three of the top juvenile events of the season in USA, and won two of them, a G1 and a G2, though his best performance came the G2-contest, the Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita in October. He came through a tough program in good style. Going into the Norfolk, Stormello had been third in the 6.5-furlong Best Pal (G2), behind Principle Secret, and in the 7-furlong Del Mar Futurity (G2), behind Horse Greeley.
The son of Stormy Atlantic was making his fifth start in the 8.5-furlong Norfolk, and he came with a strong, determined finish to catch the leader Principle Secret - to win by what looked quite a cheeky neck. Both colts ran a big race, as they drew 6 ½ lengths clear of the third-placed Spot the Diplomat.
Having gained his revenge on Best Pal winner Principle Secret, Stormello was now ready for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs in November, as was his arch rival. They were both part of the speed that day, and the early leaders went too fast. Principle Secret ended up finishing last, after leading early. Stormello managed fifth, 15 ¾ lengths behind Street Sense though no more than 5 ¾ lengths off the runner-up, Circular Quay. It was an acceptable effort, but he must also have had a hard race. Which is why his success in the Hollywood Futurity (G1) in December was quite impressive. It was not a top class performance but it proved that Stormello had recovered from the Breeders’ Cup with all his enthusiasm for the game intact.
Again ridden by Kent Desormeaux, he set his own pace in the Futurity, run over the new Cushion track. With nobody prepared to commit early, Deseormeaux made a good decision, as he let the second favorite make his own race. He was in control throughout, and held on by a neck from the game runner-up Liquidity, who made signifcant improvement in the race. He had been third to Roman Commander in the Real Quiet but now beat that rival by 1 ¼ lengths for second. Favorite Belgravia, coming off a hard fought win over Dilemme in the Hollywood Prevue (G3), finished fourth – just a nose off the bottom trifecta spot.
The first two raced 1-2 from gate to wire, and there is no doubt that the pace scenario set it up for them – but Stormello ran even better in the strongly-run Norfolk, and the Futurity form has given a nice boost in 2007, as Notional, sixth to Stormello at Hollywood, has won the San Rafael Stakes (G2) and Risen Star (G3).
Stormello won the Futurity in 1.42,19, which was 0.42 sec. faster than Romance is Diane’s time in the Hollywood Starlet (G1) 24 hours later. He is a prominent runner, but settled well in front in the Futurity, and he may be able to stretch out to 1 ¼ miles at three.
Scat Daddy peaked the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont last October. He was more mature than the runner-up Nobiz Like Shobiz, and they both had too much stamina for the third-placed Pegasus Wind. That said, as the margins were ¾ length and ½ length, it was hard to get excited about the form – not least as Pegasus Wind has otherwise shown himself to be well below G1 class. Scat Daddy had previously won the 6-furlong Sanford Stakes (G3), beating Teuflesberg by a neck plus 2lbs, and been beaten 4 ¾ lengths when second to Circular Quay in the 7-furlong Hopeful Stakes (G1) – both at Saratoga. Circular Quay came from way off the pace and proved much better than Scat Daddy. This pecking order was confirmed when Circular Quay was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs in November. Both Pletcher trainees closed their juvenile campaign in the championship event and Scat Daddy was fourth, 15 lengths behind the top class winner Street Sense. His seasonal debut in the Holy Bull was a bit better – but there seems to be a cloud hanging over this colt right now. Have we seen his best already? Either way, it is our guess that we will see him held up at the back early this time – not stalking the pace as he did in the Holy Bull.
Drums of Thunder appeared to to have good stamina when staying in the Holy Bull, where he made sure Nobiz Like Shobiz had to work a bit. He was beaten just 1 ½ lengths, and he is now 2lbs better off at the weights, so Drums of Thunder has a theoretical chance of getting pretty close this time. It may not work out that way though, as Nobiz Like Showbiz was more in need of the race – and also is a much more likely improver.
Adore the Gold is a more improving sort. He gained a nice ¾-length win over the ex-English Forefathers in the 6.5-furlong Swale Stakes (G2) here last month. The Michael Gorham trainee, having won three of his four previous starts and coming off a 4-length win in a minor stakes at Laurel, jumped straight to the lead and stayed there. He showed a great attitude when attacked in the straight, and won well under Cornelio Velasquez, giving the runner-up two pounds. They were well clear of Cowtown Cat – a winner of an ordinary allowance heat here in January. His win at Laurel came over 7 furlongs but it is hard to imagine Adore the Gold getting further than a mile.
A: 5 NOBIZ LIKE SHOBIZ
B: 4 STORMELLO
C: 3 DRUMS OF THUNDER, 8 SCAT DADDY
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