Big Route Test for First Samurai in FOY
Updated: Saturday, March 4, 2006 2:41 PM
(from Gulfstream Park)
Posted: Thursday, March 2, 2006 6:24 PM
First Samurai can answer the question of his distance capability and establish himself as the leading contender in Florida for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with a winning performance in the $300,000 Fountain of Youth (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins III's brilliant First Samurai established himself as one of the most accomplished runners of his generation after a sensational 2-year-old campaign and a good start to this season for trainer Frank Brothers. But the flashy chestnut still faces a major test Saturday to stay on the Triple Crown trail.
Jockey Edgar Prado will be back aboard the son of Giant's Causeway
, making his first start in a two-turn race against nine rival 3-year-old colts in the 1 1/8-mile Fountain of Youth.
First Samurai was undefeated through his first four starts last year, including Saratoga's Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) and the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. But he finished third as the favorite in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) on Oct. 29, a race run at 1 1/16 miles around one turn.
Brothers brought him back in Gulfstream's Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) on Feb. 4 going 7½ furlongs and he finished a game second behind Keyed Entry, beaten 1 ¼ lengths. The winner set a track record of 1:28.42 on a 'sloppy' sealed track. First Samurai looked good working a mile around two turns in 1:37 3/5 last Friday.
First Samurai's most dangerous rivals include Robert V. LaPenta's Great Point and Centaur Farm's My Golden Song, second and third, respectively, in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) behind undefeated Barbaro on the same day as the Hutcheson.
Jeremy Rose gets the return call from trainer Nick Zito on Great Point, breaking from the rail. A chestnut colt by Point Given
, Great Point broke from the far outside post 12 in the Holy Bull and raced last for the first half-mile before turning in a huge stretch rally that left him three-quarters of a length behind Barbaro.
John Velazquez rides My Golden Song for trainer Todd Pletcher. The Unbridled's Song
colt ran well to finish an even third in the Holy Bull, his first start around two turns and just his fourth career outing. The roan/gray homebred won his first two starts at Belmont and Aqueduct and finished third in the Aventura Stakes in his season debut.
Another lightly raced but highly promising colt in the Fountain of Youth is Centennial Farm's Corinthian, with Javier Castellano in the saddle for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. The chestnut son of Pulpit
was a game winner of a first level allowance race going 1 1/8 miles over the track on Feb. 2 in his third career start.$300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II, Race 10, 5:29 p.m.), 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Great Point (KY), 116, Jeremy Rose
2. My Golden Song (KY), 116, John R. Velazquez
3. Hemingway's Key (FL), 116, Rene R. Douglas
4. Jazil (KY), 116, Cornelio H. Velasquez
5. Itsallboutthechase (KY), 116, Mark Guidry
6. First Samurai (KY), 120, Edgar S. Prado
7. Corinthian (KY), 116, Javier Castellano
8. Rehoboth (FL), 116, Shaun Bridgmohan
9. Can't Beat It (KY), 116, Eddie Castro
10. Flashy Bull (KY), 116, Rafael Bejarano
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