First Samurai to try two turns in Saturday's Fountain of Youth.

First Samurai to try two turns in Saturday's Fountain of Youth.

Adam Coglianese

Brothers Confident in First Samurai Heading into Fountain of Youth

Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park will mark the first time First Samurai has traveled two turns and has gone 1 1/8 miles, but neither factor has trainer Frankie Brothers too concerned.

Brothers is confident in First Samurai's ability to get the distance and his ability to negotiate two turns.

"The proof is always in the pudding," Brothers said Tuesday during a National Thoroughbred Racing Association teleconference. "Any time you have a young horse and you're going to go two turns, especially 1 1/8 miles, there's a little bit of a gray area on whether or not they can run that far both mentally and physically."

Brothers conditions the son of Giant's Causeway  for Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins III.

A field of 10 is expected for the Fountain of Youth.

First Samurai geared up for his date in the Fountain of Youth with a mile work in 1:37 3/5 Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park with Brothers' wife, former jockey Donna Barton Brothers, in the saddle. The two-time grade I winner carved out fractions of :49 2/5, 1:01 3/5, and 1:13 3/5. Clockers caught him galloping out a mile and an eighth in 1:53 3/5.

After a strong third-place effort in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Belmont Park Oct. 29, First Samurai began his march toward the Triple Crown with a second-place effort, beaten 1 1/4 lengths by Keyed Entry, in the 7 1/2-furlong Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 4.

Despite falling short in the Hutcheson, Brothers was pleased with his charge's effort off the bench. "You're always in it to win it, but I thought the horse did everything right and he ran as hard as he could. He did everything he could do except win" the trainer said. "I was very happy with the race off the bench. It was an exciting and brilliant 3-year-old that out run him, but I thought my horse ran well. I've just got to be happy with it. He did everything except win."