The much-improved Mountain Forum will be seeking his third straight victory when he starts in Saturday's $250,000 Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The 3-year-old event will be run at 1 1/16 miles.
"I worked him a half-mile at Calder on Monday and he went in :50 2/5 breezing," trainer Ron Spatz said. "He's training well and is coming into the Aventura nicely. John Velazquez rode in him in his stakes win at Ocala but he's got another engagement in New York so I'm riding Joe Bravo on him."
The race Spatz was referring to was the Ocala Breeders' Sales Championship for 3-year-old colts. Mountain Forum circled rivals and drew off to post a 3 1/2-length triumph in the 1 1/16-miles race restricted to OBS sales graduates. Previously, he had won an allowance race at Gulfstream on Feb. 16, defeating highly regarded stakes-placed High Star and the Canadian grade I-winning Changeintheweather.
"He beat a nice field in that allowance race here," Spatz said. "That's why I decided to run him in the stakes at Ocala. He didn't run well in the early part of that race. They have sandy soil there and I don't think he liked that sand hitting him in the face. Once John got him outside he just exploded and won going away. It was a big win."
Mountain Forum began his career at Calder by breaking his maiden in his first start then was second in a division of the Florida Stallion Stakes in his second outing. He then was third in the Foolish Pleasure Stakes at Calder and followed with a sixth in the In Reality Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes before winning the Fabulous Frolic Stakes on the turf at Calder.
Spatz kept Mountain Forum on the turf for the Mecke Stakes (finished eighth) then he was fourth in the Tropical Park Derby that was switched from the turf to the main track. The son of Open Forum then finished eighth in the Feldman Stakes at Gulfstream before winning the allowance race at the local track.
"He didn't like the turf course at Gulfstream and that's why I ran him on the dirt," Spatz said. "He seems to be a versatile horse that can run on either dirt or turf. I'm not sure where he will run after the Aventura but I don't think it will be in the Kentucky Derby. I don't have Derby fever and I don't think he's the kind of horse that can get a mile and a quarter."