Awesome Banner, Cherry Wine post five-furlong moves for Fountain of Youth
Edited Press Release
Awesome Banner and Cherry Wine, two of the leading candidates for the $400,000 Fountain of Youth S. (G2) on February 27 at Gulfstream Park, turned in impressive five-furlong workouts Saturday morning at the Hallandale Beach, Florida, track.
Unbeaten Awesome Banner was the first to go, covering the distance in 1:00.03 over Gulfstream’s fast main track.
The Florida-bred son of Awesome of Course returned from a six-month hiatus to romp in the January 2 Hutcheson S. (G3), then posted another easy victory four weeks later in the Swale S. (G2).
The Fountain of Youth will mark the first start beyond seven furlongs for the Stanley Gold trainee.
Cherry Wine went out a bit later in the morning for his drill and zipped through the five-eighths in :59.31 for trainer Dale Romans.
An impressive 9 1/4-length maiden winner at Churchill Downs in November, the gray son of Paddy O’Prado stamped himself as a Kentucky Derby prospect when he drew off to a six-length success in a Gulfstream Park allowance/optional claimer on January 9.
“He went very well,” Romans said. “He went easy. It looked like he was going slower and he went in :59 and one. He did it right and galloped out good, came back good.”
At first, Romans penciled in the Holy Bull S. (G2) at the end of January for Cherry Wine’s stakes debut, but opted to give the three-year-old colt a bit more time.
“We thought about going in the Holy Bull originally, but it was just going to be too many races going into the Derby if we think he’s a true contender,” Romans explained. “So we decided to skip and run in (the Fountain of Youth) and the Florida Derby. If he gets enough points and he looks like he fits, we’ll go (to Kentucky).”
Unbeaten Holy Bull hero Mohaymen is expected to be the Fountain of Youth favorite. Gulfstream Park’s series for Triple Crown caliber three-year-olds will conclude with the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) on April 2.
Awesome Banner photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese Photography