Robert Evans' Elysium Fields, runner-up in last month's $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), worked March 12 at Gulfstream Park in preparation for the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) Mar. 29.
Unbeaten 2-year-old champion War Pass, winner of the $2-million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and Pyro, the runner-up in the Juvenile and winner of the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III), are the early favorites for Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which opens Mar. 6.
So, did Saturday's Sham Stakes (gr. III) showcase two exceptional 3-year-olds or was it simply about two top horses running agonizingly slow early and coming home fast late over a synthetic surface? We'll know the answer when they hit the quarter pole at Churchill Downs on May 3.
Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) winner Pyro and Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) winner Cool Coal Man headline a talented roster of 167 3-year-olds nominated to Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), to be held Saturday, April 12.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Another Triple Crown contender by a son of A.P. Indy is hot on the Derby trail. A couple of weeks ago it was Pyro, a son of Pulpit. Now it is Cool Coal Man, a colt by Mineshaft who recently won the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) against a field of top challengers. He is extending the success already seen when A.P. Indy is crossed with Fappiano-line mares.
The fractions and final time for the Feb. 24 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) have been adjusted, with Gulfstream Park's official final time for the 1 1/8-mile race now to be listed as 1:50.07.
There's just no escaping it. You can question his pedigree and his running style all you want, but War Pass is simply in a class by himself right now, and until someone figures out how to beat him or his pedigree catches up to him, he has to be the top dog.
Cool Coal Man took over at the top of the stretch and then held off a stubborn Elysium Fields by a half-length to take the $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park.
A star-studded field of 12 3-year-olds, highlighted by a pair of starters for trainers Bill Mott and Nick Zito, will contest the $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park.
- By Steve Haskin
Steve Haskin's Derby Dozen for the week of Feb. 25 is topped by War Pass, who returned to the races with a striking win in an allowance race Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park.
Three-year-olds around the country continue to get "zapped" by the Derby trail's three-headed monster. You know, zap, as in Nick Zito, Steve Asmussen, and Todd Pletcher.
Trainer Nick Zito has a barn loaded with potential Kentucky Derby contenders, and four of those 3-year-olds made impressive moves this weekend.
The Smooth Jazz colt defeated seven rivals to earn his first stakes score Jan. 5 at Gulfstream Park.
Hall of Fame trainer has Cool Coal Man and Cool Play in Jan. 5 seven- furlong test at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Nick Zito saddled the winner of the $250,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24, but it wasn't the horse everyone expected.
As trainer of Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner War Pass, Nick Zito has one sure-fire Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contender in his barn. On Nov. 24, the Hall of Famer will find out if he has another legitimate threat, as he sends out highly-touted Cool Coal Man in the $250,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II), a 1 1/16-mile test for 2-year-olds on the main track at Churchill Downs.
You know it's early when you start carving into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) before your Thanksgiving turkey, but this is a good time to start evaluating the 2-year-olds and get a jump on this week's grade II Remsen and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and grade III Hollywood Prevue.
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