Fountain of Youth next stop for exciting Zulu

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TwinSpires Staff

January 22nd, 2016

Edited Press Release

Exciting Kentucky Derby (G1) prospect Zulu is being pointed to the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park February 27.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, the son of Bernardini has launched his promising career with a pair of impressive victories at Gulfstream, winning his six-furlong debut by two lengths December 5 and capturing a seven-furlong, entry-level allowance by 7 1/4 lengths January 15.

Zulu is nominated for next Saturday's $350,000 Holy Bull (G2), but Pletcher determined that the Fountain of Youth, the final prep for the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) April 2, is a better fit for the late-developing Kentucky-bred. The 1 1/8-mile prep would be Zulu's stakes debut and first trip around two turns.

"You would think a Bernardini out of a Summer Squall mare wouldn't have a limit, pedigree-wise. The question now is: it's going to be his first step up into a graded stake against more seasoned, more experienced company, I would assume," Pletcher said. "We'll see what happens in the Holy Bull. I like the spacing of it. He's already had two races over the track. He seems to like it. You have to step up and see where you are at some point."

The manner in which Zulu powered away from his rivals in his most recent start would suggest that distance won't be an issue.

"It was what we were hoping for and expecting, especially from a favorable post position," Pletcher said. "I thought stretching out would help as well. It was a powerful performance and he finished up well. It seemed like he did it authoritatively."

Pletcher has saddled the winners of the past two editions of the Florida Derby with late-developing Constitution (2014) and Materiality (2015). He's won the Fountain of Youth three times, with Scat Daddy (2007), Eskendereya (2010), and Itsaknockout (2015).

"I can't say [Zulu] reminds me of the two Florida Derby winners. The horse that he reminds me of is Stay Thirsty," said Pletcher of the 2011 Travers (G1) winner and Belmont S. (G1) runner-up. "Physically, they're very similar types and they're both by Bernardini."