(from Gulfstream Park notes)
Buddy's Saint, open-length winner of the Nashua Stakes (gr. II) and Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct in November, is being pointed toward the $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 20 as the kick-off to the colt's 3-year-old campaign.
The Kingfield Stables-owned son of Saint Liam took the initial steps toward that goal at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 1, breezing a half-mile in :50 3/5.
“We just wanted to give him a chance to stretch his legs,” trainer Bruce Levine said. “He had about a week of galloping when we got him here from up north, and he’ll be on a steady work schedule from here on out.”
With a Gulfstream Park stakes schedule that offers a multitude of options for 3-year-olds, Levine has targeted the Fountain of Youth.
“We’ll point him toward the Fountain of Youth, that’s the immediate goal,” Levine said. “The Holy Bull (on Jan. 23) comes up a bit too soon, and if I was going to make that race with him I would have needed to bring him back earlier than I wanted to, and he wouldn’t have had all that much down time since his last start (Nov. 28).
“Plus it gives him a little more time to develop,” Levine added. “And I’ll have had some more time to get him ready. It’s also a two-turn race, and I’d much rather bring him back at that distance than to go a one-turn mile where the pace is usually much quicker; you can catch some sprinters stretching out, and if he were to draw inside you’re almost forced to run him hard early.”
A winner in two of his three starts, Buddy’s Saint had trained well leading up to his first start last September, giving Levine confidence that the colt was “more than all right.”
Despite being disqualified from a victory in his career debut versus maidens for a bumping incident in the stretch, Levine opted to start the colt in the one-mile Nashua next.
“He was training like a stakes horse leading up to the Nashua, and even though there was a maiden race at a mile on the same day, I thought we should give the race a try,” Levine said. “But I never expected him to win as easily as he did.”
Buddy’s Saint won the Nashua by 12 lengths. Following that victory Levine targeted the Remsen, run over 1 1/8 miles of Aqueduct dirt. The bay won by nearly five.
“In my mind, stretching him out was only going to help, and the Remsen was definitely a goal we targeted. It was two turns, and I really wanted to try him at two turns before heading south. He responded that day like I thought he would, and to this point, everything has gone well.”