Commissioner Drills for Fountain of Youth
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Lauren King
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Commissioner, on a two-race win streak as he approaches his stakes debut in the upcoming $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II), put in his final breeze for the race the morning of Feb. 16 at Palm Meadows.          
 
With Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez aboard, WinStar Farm's homebred 3-year-old A.P. Indy colt was clocked in :49.10 for four furlongs on the main track at Palm Meadows training facility in South Florida.
 
Trainer Todd Pletcher said afterward that Commissioner was set to go in the Feb. 22 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park.
 
It was the fourth work for Commissioner since his last race, including a pair of five-furlong breezes earlier in February.
 
"He went well," said Pletcher, who won his record sixth Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer last month. "We had a couple of good five-eighths in him prior to this, so we were just looking for a maintenance half. He seemed to be moving well, and everything is on target for the Fountain of Youth."            
 
A major prep for Gulfstream's signature race, the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) March 29, the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth will be run for the 71st time.            
 
Commissioner ran twice as a 2-year-old, finishing second in his debut at Monmouth Park last August before breaking his maiden in a professional effort at Saratoga Race Course 17 days later.            
 
He was given time off after that race before rejoining Pletcher's string in South Florida. The bay colt, out of the graded stakes-placed Touch Gold mare Flaming Heart, scored a neck victory over another major Fountain of Youth contender in Top Billing at Gulfstream Jan. 3. It was his second straight win at nine furlongs.
 
"It's kind of rare that you have one that's already won twice at a mile and an eighth this time of year," Pletcher said. "I think he's gotten a little more handy as time has gone on. He's going to be able to position himself in a race where it won't be too big of a disadvantage backing up to a mile and a sixteenth. In his case, we'd actually prefer that the Fountain of Youth was a mile and an eighth like it was for a little while there. Physically, he's doing well. He looks great."

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