Kentucky Derby Sophomore Spotlight: Fountain of Youth

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

March 7th, 2018

Gulfstream Park played host to a major Kentucky Derby prep on Saturday, the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2), and it featured the seasonal debut of champion juvenile GOOD MAGIC.

Fountain of Youth

The Dale Romans-trained PROMISES FULFILLED broke best from his outside slot, cleared to the front under Irad Ortiz, and fought off a challenge in the lane en route to a 2 ¼-length upset. Son of Shackleford passed his three-year-old opener with flying colors in leading throughout. Sophomore endured 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.

Promises Fulfilled was allowed to dawdle on the front-end through moderate splits, though the colt did come home with fine energy in earning a 102 Late Pace number. Once-beaten chestnut couldn’t have started his 2018 campaign any better.

STRIKE POWER raced in second from the opening stages and did make a run at the eventual winner in early stretch, only to tire some inside the final furlong. Mark Henning trainee stayed on his left lead in the lane once again and that simply has to change.  

Son of Speightstown is an obvious talent who did answer some two-turn questions but he doesn’t rate among the upper echelon of his generation as of yet. Strike Power could change my mind if he proves capable at 1 1/18 miles in the Florida Derby (G1), but I like him more of a middle-distance type.

Many have knocked the effort by champion Good Magic, but I thought that this was a very good comeback attempt for the Chad Brown pupil. Son of Curlin was alert early and moved well along the backstretch and into the final turn, though he was a bit one-paced when the real running began in the latter stages and finished a clear third.

Good Magic is still a lightly raced youngster with only four outings under his belt. And he has obvious room for improvement going forward. $1 million yearling purchase will be cranked up a bit tighter in his subsequent outing and Good Magic should get a lot out of this performance.

MACHISMO, who was an electric maiden winner in his previous race, ran from off the pace to finish a solid fourth. Speedy sort was taken out of his element being far back early, but kudos to him for showing some versatility in making a nice late run.

I don’t put the son of More Than Ready in the Kentucky Derby conversation right now. Machismo did, however, show some class in making the huge vault from maiden to graded company without embarrassing himself. He has a bright future.

Fifth-place finisher MARCONI ran his race for the most part, closing from last while finishing 7 ¾ lengths shy under the wire. Todd Pletcher pupil will have another chance to make the Kentucky Derby field, though he has always looked like more of a Belmont Stakes (G1) type to me.

Promises Fulfilled hasn’t done much wrong to date with a three-for-four lifetime mark, including a win and a third over the Churchill Downs strip in his two-year-old season. Chestnut colt had everything his own way in the Fountain of Youth and he will have to prove to me that he can overcome obstacles and still shine.

I am still in the Good Magic camp and envision him taking a big step forward next time, which could be the April 7 Blue Grass S. (G2) at Keeneland. A big run in the Bluegrass State could see the Good Magic moving back atop many Kentucky Derby lists.