Homeracing

Kellie Reilly picks the Fountain of Youth Stakes for Kentucky Derby Dream Bet

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

February 26th, 2016

With Gun Runner’s Risen Star (G2) victory securing my spot in the Kentucky Derby Dream Bet’s Final Round, I feel like a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race winner. But if you didn’t have Gun Runner, the good news is that there’s plenty of time to earn your way in to the Final Round: just cash a $15 win bet on any of the eight prep races left in the Qualifying Round. Saturday’s Fountain of Youth (G2) offers a clear-cut opportunity if heavily favored Mohaymen (#6, 6-5) lives up to billing.

Indeed, if you’re aiming to qualify for the Final Round, the Derby Dream Bet makes it more appealing to bet an otherwise a prohibitive favorite in a short field. Although Mohaymen faces a couple of fellow unbeatens in Zulu and Awesome Banner, the latter two are stretching out to two turns for the first time in a field overloaded with early pace types.

Both have plenty of upside, but do circumstances favor them in this particular spot, against a highly regarded Kentucky Derby (G1) contender who’s proven over a route already? Zulu figures to get hounded on the inside, and there must be a slight scruple about the fact that his two career starts have come on off tracks. As impressive as his allowance romp was, it did come in the slop. I’m usually hesitant to take off-track results literally unless corroborating evidence is available. Awesome Banner has been imperious, and the way he draws off in sprints suggests that he can handle a little more ground. But this isn’t just a step up in trip – it’s also a quantum leap into a major Derby prep.

Once-beaten Awesome Speed is another who has untapped potential, and like Zulu, he’s got a fine pedigree. Yet I’m not convinced about the form value of his Mucho Macho Man victory. Runner-up El Charro was beaten pointless next time in the San Vicente (G2). Fifth-placer Fellowship did come back to finish third to Mohaymen in the Holy Bull (G2), but I think that he was simply better suited to two turns than the one-turn mile of the Mucho Macho Man. Fellowship is entitled to finish a lot closer to Awesome Speed in their rematch in the Fountain of Youth.

Aside from the fact that his rivals have questions to answer, Mohaymen also projects the ideal trip. Tactically drawn on the outside in post 6, regular rider Junior Alvarado will watch the pace scenario unfold from the right vantage point. Mohaymen’s sprinted off slow paces in both the Remsen (G2) and Holy Bull, but he proved adept at rallying off an honest pace earlier in the November 4 Nashua (G2). The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee is unbeaten, untested since his gutsy debut, and a convincing Holy Bull winner at this track and trip over Champagne (G1) hero Greenpointcrusader.

Call me an unimaginative, chalk-eating weasel, but Mohaymen looks the likeliest winner of the Fountain of Youth. And that’s not just because Mohaymen’s a $2.2 million blueblood, or because I want to plug my “Tales from the Crib” story about his childhood.

Here are the free past performances for the Fountain of Youth, courtesy of Brisnet.com

TwinSpires.com is offering a 2 million-point bonus during a live betting contest on the Fountain of Youth card.

And check out the TwinSpires.com Kentucky Derby Dream Bet contest, where you can play to win a trip to this year’s Kentucky Derby and Oaks and a $25,000 win bet on the Kentucky Derby.

 

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