Though beaten in his first try at two turns, the 3-5 favorite First Samurai was awarded victory in the $300,000 Fountain of Youth (gr. II) Saturday at Gulfstream Park when stewards disqualified the inexperienced Corinthian for weaving in the stretch.
Corinthian, ridden by Javier Castellano, seized the lead with a sweeping move on the outside with a furlong to run in the 1 1/8-mile event, but ran erratically after coming inward late. Officials ruled he impeded both First Samurai and Flashy Bull, who was getting to First Samurai late before losing his momentum and finishing a neck behind. Corinthian, first under the wire by one length in his fourth start, was placed third.
"He's a very hard horse to ride," Castellano said. "He came out a little bit at the end, but as soon as he came out, I thought he was clear. In my mind, he's still a very immature horse, and he's always been difficult in the gate. He was tired at the end."
The winning time was 1:49.
With Edgar Prado aboard, First Samurai was able to set a comfortable pace (:23 4/5, :48 1/5, 1:12 1/5) as Flashy Bull and My Golden Song tracked. First Samurai put Flashy Bull away in upper stretch but the latter colt, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, kept coming as First Samurai was overtaken by Corinthian.
"I really wish I had gotten up for second, because I'd be going to the winner's circle right now," Bejarano said. "That horse was getting out too bad and had to come down."
Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins III's First Samurai ended a two-race losing streak for trainer Frank Brothers. The chestnut son of Giant's Causeway
earned $180,000 for his fifth win in seven starts, boosting his bankroll to $892,575.
"(First Samurai) showed a lot of courage," Brothers said. "He was impeded a little bit. He's never been two turns before. He was a one-turn horse. It was a very good race, and we got him to relax.
"It's not a lot of fun (winning by disqualification), but they (stewards) probably made the right call," Brothers added.
Jimmy Jerkens, trainer of Corinthian, said he has a tendency to bear in. "We can work on it. He's a lot better today than in his last race. He'll probably be even better when we get him back home to New York. We'll likely point him for the Wood (Memorial)."
Brothers said the Florida Derby (gr. I) or the Blue Grass (gr. I) could be next for First Samurai.
"The main thing is to see how that horse is," he said. "This (race) doesn't get him to the first Saturday in May, but it gets him along."
Flashy Bull ran a strong race, considering he was starting on the outside of the field with a short run to the clubhouse turn.
"That 10 hole is tough but to run as well as he did is really something," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said of Flashy Bull. "We didn't win, but we sure got close."
First Samurai paid $3.40, $2.60, and $2.20. Flashy Bull returned $6.20 and $3.80, completing a $23.60 exacta. Corinthian was $4 to show.
My Golden Song finished fourth by a neck, followed by Rehoboth, Can't Beat It, Jazil, Hemingway's Key, Itsallaboutthechase and the 9-2 second choice Great Point.