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Unbeaten Violence Set for Fountain of Youth

Colt breezes five furlongs at Palm Meadows; Pletcher says he's ready to go.

Undefeated Violence  breezed five furlongs in 1:00.36 at Palm Meadows Training Center Feb. 17 in his final preparation for a scheduled start in the upcoming $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II)  at Gulfstream Park.

The 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth is Feb. 23.

"Outstanding. I'm very, very pleased with his work. He galloped out strongly, came back well. He's ready to go," trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Pletcher also sent out last year's juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby  and fast-developing sophomore Verrazano  for works at Palm Meadows.

Exercise rider Norman Bush was aboard Black Rock Thoroughbreds' Violence, who worked head and head in company with Palace Malice , who was also timed in 1:00.36. They shared the fastest clocking of 40 recorded at the distance.

A son of Medaglia d'Oro  out of the Gone West mare Violent Beauty, Violence has won all three of his career starts, including stakes victories in the Nashua (gr. II) at Aqueduct Racetrack and the CashCall Futurity (gr. I) at Betfair Hollywood Park.

"Everything looks good," Pletcher said.

Shanghai Bobby, who suffered the first loss of his six-race career when he finished second in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream in his 3-year-old debut Jan. 26, breezed a half-mile in :49.73. The Harlan's Holiday colt, owned by Starlight Racing and partners, is expected to make his next start in the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) March 30.

"It was his first work back, a nice easy half," Pletcher said. "I thought he worked great. His energy level is good."

Let's Go Stable's Verrazano, who opened his career with a pair of victories at Gulfstream by a combined 24 lengths, continues to impress. The More Than Ready  colt breezed a half-mile in 48.05 seconds, sixth fastest of 74 at the distance.

"He was awesome this morning," said Pletcher, who has scheduled Verrazano to race next in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) March 9.

Other Pletcher workers on the morning included grade I winner Dreaming of Julia, who is scheduled to make her 3-year-old debut in Saturday's $250,000 Davona Dale (gr. II) at Gulfstream. She breezed five panels in 1:00.62 at Palm Meadows.

"She worked super. I'm really pleased with her, as well. She's ready to go," Pletcher said.

Also Sunday, Team Valor International's Cerro breezed five furlongs at Palm Meadows in 1:01.48 in preparation for a likely start in the Fountain of Youth. With exercise rider David Nava up, Cerro worked in company with Went the Day Well.
"I thought he went super, and we definitely plan to enter. As long as he gets a decent post position, we'll run," trainer Graham Motion said of his Irish-bred son of Mr. Greeley. "If he draws lousy, we won't run him. We'll go back to our original plan and run him in the Palm Beach (gr. IIIT)."

Cerro, who began his career on turf in Italy, defeated a solid group in a 1 1/8-mile allowance at Gulfstream Jan. 26. Motion had originally planned to send Cerro to the Palm Beach March 3 with the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes (gr. III) at Turfway Park March 23 to follow. Recently, the Fountain of Youth entered the picture.

"I'd say partly because we saw so many of these horses skipping it," Motion said of the Fountain of Youth. "You also have to bear in mind, when you start thinking about the points and all that, you don't want to put your eggs in one basket and wait for the one race in Kentucky."

Churchill Downs has instituted a new points system for qualifying for the Kentucky Derby field, replacing the former method based on graded stakes earnings. The Palm Beach is not included in the new system.

"It just seems logical to take a shot in this race if things continue to go well," Motion said. "We'll see how he does. I wish it was a mile and an eighth. It's probably the only thing I would change, only because he's already been a mile and an eighth."

Also joining the Fountain of Youth field is stakes winner Speak Logistics, trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. for Hardaway Stables.

Speak Logistics, a Florida-bred son of High Cotton out of the Summer Squall mare Miss Sabrina, drilled a half-mile handily in :48 4/5 at Calder Casino & Race Clourse Feb. 16.

"The timing is right," said Plesa Sunday morning of Speak Logistics, who finished fourth with trouble in the Sam Davis Stakes (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 2. It was his first start since a seventh-place finish behind Shanghai Bobby in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 3.

"After the Breeders' Cup we gave him five weeks off on the farm in Ocala," Plesa said. "He got shut off in the Sam Davis. He was making his move on the inside nearing the stretch and I thought he was going to go right on through. In any event, he's doing good and we've got Joel Rosario to ride him. He had a good work here Saturday in 48 4/5 and galloped out good."

Speak Logistics captured the In Reality Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes going 1 1/16 miles at Calder in mid-October after breaking his maiden in his second start last summer at Monmouth Park.

Meanwhile, Plesa reports all is well with Itsmyluckyday  since his stunning two-length victory over Shanghai Bobby in the Holy Bull. A son of Lawyer Ron, Itsmyluckyday had won the one-mile Gulfstream Park Derby by 6 3/4 lengths in his previous start here on New Year's Day.

"Everything has gone well for him," said Plesa. "He's been galloping every day and will have his first work since the race here on Friday, and then he'll work again every six or seven days up to the race. A part of me says I wish the race (Florida Derby) was today, but in his case time is our ally. He's got the two good races behind him."

Barry Butzer and Wachtel Stable's My Name Is Michael, who finished third last out in the Sam Davis, is likely to miss the Fountain of Youth. Trainer Bill Mott said the Canadian-developed son of Macho Uno  had gotten sick and missed several days training.

Majestic Hussar got his final workout for the race Sunday morning at Palm Meadows as  he was timed five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 for trainer Eddie Kenneally. Probable starter Elmutahid went five-eighths in 1:00 2/5 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.