Fountain of Youth Day CASHES (RECAP)! – Super Screener
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Fountain of Youth Day CASHES (RECAP)!

Photo by: LizLamont/Eclipse Sportswire

Fountain of Youth (G2)

As we had noted, Code of Honor was finally submitting some impressive works indicating that he had moved forward off that disappointing effort last out. He did benefit from the perfect trip as the pace collapsed some late and he was sitting close enough to get the first move on all remaining closers for a hard fought win.  

One caution, he was pointed to this race and got the job done, but we may have seen the best he has to offer as he was all out to win this despite enjoying a very favorable trip. It only gets tougher from here and Super Screener questions his ability to move forward significantly off this race.

#1 Code of Honor – PRESSER – This slightly built Shug McGaughey-trained colt really disappointed in that last start but, keep in mind, he made his move into the swiftest part of the race and the pace was white hot in that race. Can throttle back here and reserve energy for the stretch drive. Finally flashing some solid works leading up to this race.

Bourbon War has been high-ranked by the Super Screener for some time now, and his fast closing 2nd place finish only reinforced our support. He blew right by Code of Honor past the wire and looks like a horse that will relish the Churchill Downs track configuration. Sure, he got the hot pace he needed, but keep in mind that on this track it is awfully tough to win when you are near last in the field and with that short stretch run. Plus, he has overcome slow-paced races before due to that generous turn of foot. He kind of paired up tops now and would have rather seen a move forward 2nd off the layoff, but we’ll reserve any concerns about continued development as until we see how he does next out. Clearly, the Derby distance will not be a problem for him.

“Pace projects to be quite hot and pressured with 5 rivals going at each other early. This opens the door for those horses that will come off the pace. #4 Bourbon War is one of those candidates. He comes into this off a very impressive win post-layoff in which he, once again, had to come from off a slow pace and really turn it on late to easily win, along with a strong gallop out. He is begging for more ground but finally gets a hot pace to close into. He’ll sit at the back of the field about 5 lengths off the leaders and then will come on steadily, late. Note the 107+ BRIS Late Pace figures earned in those last two races. Very impressive and the early marks of a worthy Kentucky Derby contender.”

Hidden Scroll actually ran a very good race in defeat as the Super Screener Vulnerable Favorite pick — finishing 4th at 6-5 — but did all the work up front, running through white hot fractions. Yet, he finished just 3 lengths behind the winner. More of a concern is whether or not he can win when not on the lead. The barn will surely test that next time out in what will be just his 3rd career start. If he ends up being a “need the lead” type, his Derby chances diminish greatly.

#7 Hidden Scroll — VULNERABLE FAVE/PACE — There is no question that this is a talented colt, but even the barn was surprised by the blow-away win on the sloppy sealed surface. Screener has seen just too many inflated results from races run at Gulfstream under those conditions.  Going to have to show what he can do on a fast track while enduring a more demanding pace.

Vekoma ran a very respectable race here especially considering the long layoff and the fact that he was pretty close to the sizzling pace, yet passed Hidden Scroll for 3rd. Has every right to move forward in his 2nd start going 2 turns.

The suggested Exacta and Trifecta hit for a total return of over $930!

Mac Diarmida (G2)

Another Super Screener Top Win pick, Zulu Alpha, connected and won impressively again on this turf course. He has become a monster in the Mike Maker barn, and he made it look easy here despite the narrow margin. Expect some regression off this effort now that he has submitted 3 consecutive tops.

#6 Zulu Alpha — TOP BOARD HITTER/PRESSER — Is in peak form right now and last two at GP were his top efforts… will need one more against a so-so group. Has a pace advantage as he’ll comfortably press a pace that is projected to be average. Gets this distance and the slight cut back, plus the way he evenly distributes energy will aid him again here. Not a cinch to win this but a solid choice.

Even better was the performance of Zulu Alpha’s stablemate and the Super Screener’s lone Top Long Shot pick, Kulin Rock who finished 3rd, right where we ranked him and at massive odds of 44-1 despite the big step up in class. This set up a nice Trifecta payoff even with the chalky Zulu Alpha on top.

“There is no question that one or more double-digit long shot players will complete the Superfecta and perhaps even the Trifecta in this race. Of those many long priced opponents, the Super Screener has landed on #9 Kulin Rock as a very viable long shot bomber. This lightly raced 5-yr-old gelding went through a few barns late last year and ended up in the Mike Maker stable. His last race was his best and it was so much better than it looked on paper due to how slow that pace was and how he had to really turn on the after burners late to come up just a nose short of the win off the layoff. Screener notes that his stablemate is #6 Zulu Alpha and if that one regresses here, #9 Kulin Rock could pick up the slack at a much bigger price as he’ll move forward in his form cycle here for the top barn 2nd race off the layoff.”

Highland Sky was deemed very vulnerable here by the Super Screener and coincidentally enough, he finished 9th which is where the Screener ranked him.

Honey Fox (G3)

Precieuse was just too good and even without a perfect trip it would have been tough to deny her the win here. She sat off the hot pace and then just wore down a very game Valedictorian for the victory. The latter mare was the Super Screener Top Value/Top Board Hitter pick and the “over/under” Exacta single offered solid value at 6-1. She probably ran the best race here as no other horse near the front in the early going finished in the top half of the field, yet she hung on gamely for 2nd despite contesting the hot pace.

“Chad Brown’s #1 Précieuse is the French import that raced just once from June 2017 to now, with that race coming back in August, but it was a strong effort just missing the win to the G1 winner, Uni. Long break again but she does face easier as her 2019 campaign begins. Brown is always dangerous with these long layoff turf mares but she will offer little value. It is going to be tough for a long shot to crack the Exacta and maybe even the Trifecta. While #2 Valedictorian is not a long shot at M/L odds of 6-1, she does offer value and should be used offensively and defensively in tight Exactas with the top ranked pair.”

Despite the chalky outcome, the suggested narrow Exacta and Trifecta wagers fired to return $230.

Davona Dale (G2)

Well, wasn’t that a shocker! We could see Jaywalk coming up short off the layoff which is why we included Champagne Anyone on P4/P5 suggested wagers, but a drubbing like this was not on the radar. Some may forgive this effort, and she’ll probably move forward off of it, but I think this is one of those cases when Jaywalk was a precocious 2-year-old filly, but the fact that she is quite slight and hasn’t filled out like some of the other fillies may find her struggling to keep up as the her rivals advance. In addition, she may very well be a “need-the-lead” type that can only win with a comfortable, open-lengths lead. Definitely proceed with caution with this filly in her next couple of races.

They should call this coming weekend “Super Penultimate Prep Saturday” as we’ll have 4, count ‘em 4, Kentucky Derby preps: The San Felipe (G2), Tampa Bay Derby (G2), Gotham (G3) and the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3).  All but the San Felipe will feature full fields… plus, each will be supported by a strong undercard of graded stakes, so don’t miss a minute of all this exciting action!

Until this coming weekend, Go Fast and Win!

Mike

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