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It’s time to discover if Forte can handle being chalk.

The Eclipse Award winner launches his three-year-old campaign as the morning-line favorite, at 7-to-5 odds, in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth, Saturday’s Kentucky Derby prep race at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

Odds will be official at post time, per pari-mutuel rules.

This is Forte’s first race since winning the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last November and garnering the Eclipse Award as the nation’s top 2-year-old thoroughbred male.

Nationwide betters can access the Fountain of Youth, which highlights a stacked card, via FanDuel TV. 

Post time for the big race is 5:43 p.m. ET. It’s a win-and-you’re-in qualifier for the May 6 Kentucky Derby. The Fountain of Youth is worth 50 points to the top horse, although Forte has 40 points and is likely already in the Run for the Roses.

The card is aided by the 20-cent Rainbow Pick 6, which began the week at $1.3 million and could swell into the range of $3-5 million before Sunday’s mandatory payout. Bettors must select the winners of the last six races on the program.

Field for 2023 Fountain of Youth Stakes

Here is the field for Saturday’s Fountain of Youth Stakes.

PPHorseML OddsJockey Trainer
1General Jim6-1Luis SaezClaude McGaughey III
2Legacy Isle20-1Emisael JaramilloRohan Crichton
3Shadow Dragon 12-1Jose OrtizWilliam Mott
4Forte 7-5Irad Ortiz, Jr.Todd Pletcher
5Il Miracolo 30-1Edgar PerezAntonio Sano
6Blazing Sevens 7-2Joel RosarioChad Brown
7Mage 8-1Javier CastellanoGustavo Delgado
8Rocket Can8-1Junior AlvaradoWilliam Mott
9Cyclone Mischief12-1Tyler GaffalioneDale Romans
10Dangerous Ride30-1Miguel VasquezCarlos David

Saturday’s Gulfstream Park Racing Schedule

The 14-race card has a special start time of 11 a.m. ET. The program offers $2,279, 000 in purse money, which is tops in the industry on Saturday. A slew of six-figure races will create large betting pools and some extraordinary value. Supporting races include:

  • Davona Dale, 1 Mile Dirt, $200,000
  • Gulfstream Park Mile, 1 Mile Dirt, $200,000
  • Mac Diarmida, 1 3-8 Miles  Turf,  $200,000
  • Herecomesthebride, 1 Mile Turf, $200,000
  • The Colonel Liam, 1 Mile Turf, $200,000
  • Canadian Turf, 1 1-16 Miles, $150,000
  • Honey Fox, 1 Mile Turf, $150,000
  • The Very One, 1 3-8 Miles Turf, $150,000

Forte Leads Fountain of Youth Stakes Contenders

Nationwide bettors will decide if Forte is worth the price as he faces nine rivals. The event also is a natural lead-up to the $1 million Florida Derby on April 1.

Forte looked like a champion in surging past 2-to-5 favorite Cave Rock to win the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland. He was a logical second choice because of a previous victory at the track.

Irad Ortiz Jr., Forte, Breeders' Cup Juvenile, 2022
Forte, here winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with Irad Ortiz Jr. up, leads the field in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth Stakes (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Now the colt ships to Gulfstream Park and must prove himself on a different surface. So must his main competition, Blazing Sevens, who ran fourth to him in the Juvenile. If the class and shipping angles hold up, this is a good exacta box.

Local favorite Rocket Can has already shown that a Kentucky-based horse can win at Gulfstream. He came over from Churchill Downs and ran a big one in winning the Holy Bull.

He has momentum going forward and may be a live dog at 8-to-1. 

Shadow Dragon was just half a length behind Rocket Can, so if the home-track advantage holds, both could be formidable.

General Jim comes off a nice seven-furlong triumph after finishing a hard-luck fourth in the Mucho Macho Man, where he never obtained racing room.

Lightly-raced Mage is getting respect at 8-1. Could be the early speed but must stretch from seven furlongs to 1 1-16 miles.

Fountain of Youth Stakes Pace Considerations

Mage, Legacy Isle, and Dangerous Ride are logical pacesetters.

Forte and Blazing Sevens will look to stalk. Shadow Dragon runs late. He may be a little closer to the pace this time.

Herecomesthebride Stakes Contenders and Overview

Post time is 3:01 p.m. ET.

Cairo Consort proved that the last will be first in winning the Sweetest Chant last time out at Gulfstream. Breaking dead last and spotting the field six lengths, she passed the entire back in the home stretch. It was a dramatic, definitive burst.

If Cairo Concert breaks alertly, she’ll be tough to beat.

Tituba makes her turf stakes debut after a front-running neck triumph at maiden special weights on Jan. 29 in her second start.

Papilio, bred in Ireland, makes her US debut. She won two of five races at home last year and was sixth in a pair of group stakes. 

Anna Karenine and Revalita make their North American debuts. Blind Spot tries to improve on a ninth-place finish in the Jessamine last fall in Keeneland. 

American Rockette debuts on turf and fourth-place finishes in the Grade 1 Spinaway and Frizette last year.

Danse Macabre, third in the Grade 3 Matron last October at Aqueduct, ships in.

Mallymoo and Sweetlou’sgotaces finished sixth and ninth in the Sweetest Chant and have their work cut out for them. 

Moonage Daydream comes off a victory against New York breds in November.

Rainbow Pick 6 Percolates at Gulfstream Park

The 20-cent Rainbow Pick 6 is about to burst like a slot-machine jackpot.

The wager involves the last six races of the day at Gulfstream and the pot gathers steam like a tsunami.

It entered midweek unsolved for 20-straight racing days following the last mandatory payout.

The Rainbow Pick 6 jackpot is only paid out when a single ticket is sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket — which is practically every day — 70% of that day’s pool goes back to bettors holding tickets with the most winners and 30% is carried over.

Carryovers keep building, especially amid a big race and the next day’s mandatory payout. As long as nobody hits this before Saturday, the pool will skyrocket over the weekend.

Saturday’s huge card will significantly enhance the pot. And on Sunday, the entire pool is disbursed, regardless of whether anyone hits all six races.

In that case, the entire pot will be split amongst bettors holding the most winners. A pool anywhere from $3-5 million will pay well, regardless of how many ways it is split.

The strategy of applying the mandatory payout one day after a major card ensures that Gulfstream Park will have two days of abundant betting handle. This spells major opportunities for gamblers.

Also read: What is the Triple Crown of horse racing?

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About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

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