Fortune smiled on Einar Robsham's Trust N Luck in Saturday's $200,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. I) as the front-running colt was able to run away to an easy victory in the first major Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prep race of 2003.
The Florida-bred son of Montbrook, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez and trained by Ralph Ziadie, ran the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth in 1:43 1/5, defeating another Florida bred, 30-1 shot Supah Blitz, by 5 1/4 lengths. They were the only Florida colts in the eight-horse field. Midway Cat, who won the photo for the show spot with Offlee Wild, was 2 1/4 lengths farther back.
As expected, Velasquez hustled Trust N Luck, a wire-to-wire winner of the What A Pleasure at Calder Dec. 14 in his last start, to the front. He encountered more pressure than expected, however, from Midway Cat and jockey Jorge Chavez, as the latter pressured the pace through fractions of :23 3/5, :46 3/5 and 1:10 4/5. Supah Blitz and jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr., reserved at the rail early, rallied on the turn to pose a threat while catching the fading Midway Cat soon after, but the son of Mecke could not challenge Trust N Luck's sizeable lead through the stretch.
Offlee Wild offered a rally briefly while four wide on the final turn, but flattened out in the stretch to be fourth. Whywhywhy was positioned nicely in third, but also lacked a closing kick and slipped to fifth. Favored Ten Cents A Shine, ridden by Jerry Bailey at odds of 5-2, was sixth and not involved.
Trust N Luck had eight starts as a 2-year-old – all at Calder – winning four and finishing second twice. He has now banked $502,800 after picking a winning share of $120,000 for the victory. It was the first appearance in a graded stakes for the winner, who had mostly competed against Florida breds before the What A Pleasure.
"I was really confident because there was no speed in the race," said Ziadie, who picked up his third training victory of the year at Gulfstream. "He was just pulling away. This is a real good horse."
Trust N Luck was bred by Edward and Ashley Wiest. He was sold for $200,000 at the March Ocala Breeders' Sale.
A disappointed Biancone said, "Whywhywhy – it's bye-bye to the Derby for him. We'll turn him back to seven furlongs or a mile. We ran this race to be sure. But a mile-and-a-sixteenth may be too far for him."
Sent off at 9-2, the winner paid $11.80, $7.20 and $5. Supah Blitz returned $25 and $9.60. Midway Cat's show price was $5.60. The all-Florida $2 exacta was $209.40.