Read the Footnotes, winner of the Nashua (gr. III) and Remsen Stakes (gr. II), makes his 3-year-old debut in Saturday's $250,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), where he takes on Calder-based stakes horses Second of June, Silver Wagon, Sir Oscar, and Broadway View.
Second of June, impressive winner of the Holy Bull (gr. III) and What a Pleasure Stakes, in which he defeated last year's Hopeful (gr. I) winner Silver Wagon each time, will be the likely favorite in the 1 1/16-mile race, with Read the Footnotes a close second choice. Second of June, trained Bill Cesare for his mother, Barbara, is riding a three-race winning streak, and once again will be ridden by Cornelio Velasquez. Since the Holy Bull, the son of Louis Quatorze
has turned in mile works at Calder in l:42 3/5 breezing and 1:41 3/5 handily. He'll break from post 7 in the field of eight.
"My philosophy has always been, if you're going to run that far you should work that far," said Cesare, a former NFL defensive back. "I find it's easier on them to work them long and easy than drill them a sharp five furlongs."
Read the Footnotes, a son of sprint champion Smoke Glacken
, has been training sharply at Palm Meadows training center, with his most recent works being a six-furlong drill in a bullet 1:12 1/5 and five furlongs in 1:00 1/5. Jerry Bailey will be aboard, as he was in the Nashua and Remsen, and will break from post 8.
"He's done what's necessary, but we won't know how far he's really come until he's run two or three times," trainer Rick Violette said. "Distance is no concern. Once they get in the barn I tend to train the athlete, not the pedigree. People get hung up on the sire and forget about the mare. His best race has been at a mile and an eighth at Aqueduct and his dosage is right smack in the middle. He's done nothing to show he has limitations. We've turned the heat up on him the past two weeks and he's gained weight and his appetite has been good."
Breaking from the rail will be Sir Oscar, who is undefeated in six starts, five of them stakes. Like Read the Footnotes, the son of Halo's Image
will be maing his first start of the year. Last year, he swept the Florida Stallion Stakes Series, and followed that up with a victory in the Jack Price Juvenile over eventual Spectacular Bid (gr. III) winner Wynn Dot Comma, who will be one of the favorites in Saturday's Hutcheson Stakes (gr. III).
Sir Oscar has had difficulty changing leads, but all he does is win. He should be sharp coming off a seven-furlong work in 1:28 3/5 at Gulfstream and a five-furlong srill in a bullet 1:00 3/5 at Calder. Regular rider Julio Garcia will be aboard.
The forgotten horse may be Silver Wagon, who looked so good winning last year's Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) by four lengths. He recently suffered a bruised foot, but worked a bullet mile in 1:41 4/5 at Calder on Monday. He ducked in sharply from right-handed whipping in the Holy Bull after making a run at Second of June at the quarter pole. If his foot is OK, look for improvement from the son of Wagon Limit
. Jose Santos replaces Bailey, and will break from post 6.
Nick Zito is looking for big improvement from El Prado Rob, coming off his fourth in the Holy Bull, in which he was sent to the lead for the first time in his career and tired in the stretch. Edgar Prado will be back aboard, and this time Zito expects him to take back off the pace. El Prado Rob has an allowance victory at Keeneland to his credit and was a well-beaten third behind Cuvee in the Futurity Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont.
The expected pacesetter will be Frisky Spider, undefeated in three sprints. Trainer Bob Durso knows something about upsets at Gulfstream, saddling Frisky Spider's sire, Frisk Me Now
to a vidtory in the 1997 Hutcheson Stakes, paying a whopping $213.80. Frisky Spider will break from post 2 with Eddie King Jr. aboard.
Another Calder horse to watch at a big price is Broadway View, who has has improved with blinkers and is coming two solid performances on the grass, including a second-place finish in the Tropical Park Derby (gr. IIIT). He has good dirt form and a dirt pedigree, being by Broad Brush
, out of a Gone West
Rounding out the field is Hopefortheroses, trained by Barry Rose, son of the late Harold Rose. Hopefortheroses won an allowance sprint at Calder by 2 1/2 lengths in December, then was fourth behind Frisky Spider last time out.
Entrants for the grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes, $250,000 guaranteed, 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles:
PP, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, Weight,
1 -- Sir Oscar, Manuel Azpurua, Julio Garcia, 122
2 -- Frisky Spider, Bob Durso, Eddie Martin Jr., 116
3 -- El Prado Rob, Nick Zito, Edgar Prado, 120
4 -- Broadway View, Gerald Procino, Rene Douglas, 116
5 -- Hopefortheroses, Barry Rose, Manuel Aguilar, 116
6 -- Silver Wagon, Ralph Ziadie, Jose Santos, 120
7 -- Second of June, Bill Cesare, Cornelio Velasquez, 120
8 -- Read the Footnotes, Rick Violette, Jerry Bailey, 122