Mohaymen faces five in Fountain of Youth

Profile Picture: James Scully

February 24th, 2016

The top-ranked Kentucky Derby contender on the East Coast, Mohaymen will try to remain unbeaten as a heavy favorite in Saturday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained colt drew the far outside post against five challengers and Junior Alvarado will be in to ride the gray son of Tapit.

The Fountain of Youth offers points on a 50-20-10-5 scale to the top four finishers as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series.

A smart winner of the Remsen (G2) and Nashua (G2) in New York last fall, Mohaymen improved to 4-for-4 when opening 2016 with a convincing 3 ½-length tally in the January 30 Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream, leaving juvenile Grade 1 winner Greenpointcrusader in his wake as he registered a 115 BRIS Late Pace rating for the fine finish.

The $2.2 million yearling purchase won’t meet any two-turn graded stakes winners in the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth, but several well-regarded prospects will take on Mohaymen for the first time.

Zulu, who is unbeaten from a pair of starts at Gulfstream, is the likely second choice in the wagering as he makes his stakes debut for Todd Pletcher. A well-bred son of Bernardini, Zulu posted a facile two-length win over maiden special weight foes when opening his racing career on December 5 and the bay colt exits a 7 ¼-length romp over entry-level allowance foes on January 15. John Velazquez retains the mount.

Awesome Banner brings high speed to the equation, posting impressive front-running sprint wins in the Swale (G2) and Hutcheson (G3) this year. The bay colt is scheduled to stretch out to two turns for the first time and Jose Caraballo has the return call for trainer Stanley Gold, who also has Holy Bull third-placer Fellowship entered for the same connections.

Awesome Banner isn’t guaranteed to start, with his owner mentioning the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on March 12 as a possible alternative.

Awesome Speed will bring a three-race win streak into his first attempt at the graded level, opening 2016 with a nice victory in the January 2 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream. The Alan Goldberg charge possesses a stout pedigree for a route – by Awesome Again and out of an Aptitude mare – and Awesome Speed will try two turns with new jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

Golden Ray, an overmatched longshot who has finished last in a pair of stakes attempts at Gulfstream this year, completes the field.

Mohaymen winning the Holy Bull courtesy of Adam Coglianese Photography