It will be a rematch of sorts in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) when the top three finishers of the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III)-- Nobiz Like Shobiz, Drums of Thunder, and Scat Daddy-- return to the starting gate March 3 for the $350,000 race going 1 1/8 mile at Gulfstream Park.
The Fountain of Youth will also feature California-shipper Stormello who will be making his first start since winning the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) last December for trainer William Currin, who co-bred and co-owns the colt with Al Eisman. The son of Stormy Atlantic also has a win in the Norfolk Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II).
Nobiz Like Shobiz figures to be the one to beat after scoring an all out 1 1/2-length win in the Feb. 3 Holy Bull going one mile over the same Gulfstream surface.
"(Since the Holy Bull), he's been eating well, looking well, and we're pleased with him," said trainer Barclay Tagg, who also conditioned 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Funny Cide, during a National Thoroughbred Racing Association teleconference Feb. 27. "He has a lot of poise, and he never gave me any indication that the race was hard on him."
Before the Holy Bull, the son of Albert the Greatscored an impressive 6 1/2-length victory in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) after skipping the Bressemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
Nobiz Like Shobiz has a career record of three wins and one second from four starts. He has earned $316,400.
In spite of the colt's talent, Tagg admitted Nobiz Like Shobiz was still "a young, green horse" and he would have to wait and see how things pan out with his schedule and training regiment before expressing high hopes for his shot at conquering the Triple Crown races. The trainer has said he would prefer three preps for the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands.
Cornelio Velasquez, who has been aboard in all four prior starts, will again get the mount on Elizabeth Valando's homebred runner. The pair will break from post five and are listed at 6-5 on the morning line.
Drums of Thunder, owned by Herbert and Ione Elkins and trained by William Kaplan, was riding a two-race win streak--scoring in an allowance contest and the What a Pleasure Stakes, when he was defeated by Nobiz Like Shobiz.
The Florida-bred son of Concerto drew post three and will be ridden by Manoel Cruz, who was also aboard for the Holy Bull.
The Holy Bull was the first start of 2007 for the Todd Pletcher-trained Scat Daddy, who ended his juvenile season with a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
The son of Johannesburg, owned by James Scatuorchio and Michael Tabor, raced on the inside and weakened down the straight.
Regular rider John Velazquez will be aboard Scat Daddy with the pair breaking from post eight.
Another up-and-comer in the Fountain of Youth is Adore the Gold, who is entering the race off a three-quarter length win in the Swale Stakes (gr. II). Racing as a homebred for John D. Murphy, Adore the Gold has won four of his past five starts with trainer Michael Gorham.
The son of Formal Goldwill break from the far outside post nine. Edgar Prado gets the mount.
$350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II, Race 10, 5:24 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Johannesburg Star (KY), 116, Rajiv Maragh
2. Hal's My Hope (FL), 116, Jose Alberto Rivera, II
3. Drums of Thunder (FL), 120, Manoel R. Cruz
4. Stormello (KY), 122, Kent J. Desormeaux
5. Nobiz Like Shobiz (KY), 122, Cornelio H. Velasquez
6. Meritocracy (KY), 116, Rafael Bejarano
7. Divine Master (FL), 116, Rene R. Douglas
8. Scat Daddy (KY), 122, John R. Velazquez
9. Adore the Gold (KY), 120, Edgar S. Prado