The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues with Saturday’s running of the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
This is another points-paying race, with the winner grabbing 50 qualifying points and an all but certain starting spot in the Kentucky Derby.
Let’s take a look at Fountain of Youth Stakes odds and picks ahead of Saturday’s Derby prep race.
Morning-Line Odds to Win Fountain of Youth Stakes
Here are the post positions, morning-line odds, jockeys, and trainers for the 10-horse field for the 2023 Fountain of Youth Stakes, which will be run over 1-1/16 miles. Post time is 5:43 p.m. ET on Saturday, and CNBC and FanDuel TV will have coverage from Gulfstream Park.
|Claude McGaughey III
|Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Editor’s note: Morning-line odds are simply a prediction by track handicappers of what each horse’s price will be. They have no bearing on the odds a bettor ultimately receives on a bet. With pari-mutuel wagering, odds are determined by the amount of money bet on each entry, and closing odds are the prices at which each bet is effective.
Forte a Worthy Betting Favorite
Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher will send Forte out as the 7-5 morning-line favorite. Forte is in the midst of a three-race winning streak that included a victory in last year’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Forte has also won four of his five career races.
Forte is clearly the horse to beat here, but he should face some competition from Blazing Sevens and Rocket Can.
Grade 1 Champagne Stakes winner Blazing Sevens is the second betting choice (7-2) for trainer Chad Brown. Blazing Sevens took the Champagne Stakes over a sloppy track at Aqueduct last October. That earned him a berth in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland, where he finished fourth after a slow start from the gate.
Blazing Sevens was well shy of Forte down the stretch of that race in a similar result to last September’s Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga when he finished third, a dozen lengths in arrears of the eventual winner.
Rocket Can (8-1 on the morning line) is an intriguing choice here after winning the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park a month ago. The gray colt is one of two runners for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. He’ll be ridden by Junior Alvarado.
Rocket Can won’t be the only Holy Bull Stakes participant to run back at Gulfstream in the Fountain of Youth. Runner-up Shadow Dragon, who helped give Mott a 1-2 finish in the Holy Bull at 34-1, will have jockey Jose Ortiz aboard on Saturday.
Legacy Isle (fourth), Il Miracolo (fifth), and Cyclone Mischief (seventh) will all try to improve on their finishes in the Holy Bull Stakes. Legacy Isle should help establish the early pace along with Mage.
Fountain of Youth Picks
It’s difficult to dismiss Forte, who won last year’s Eclipse Award as the top male two-year-old. Expect Forte to stalk the pace before unleashing his best run late. We’re using Rocket Can in a two-horse exacta box to extract some value if the roan colt can upset Forte down the stretch.
Bet: $25 exacta box 8-4
Saturday’s Stop on Road to Kentucky Derby
The top-five finishers in the Fountain of Youth Stakes will receive Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a scale of 50-20-15-10-5.
Confidence Game leads the Derby points race after his win in last Saturday’s Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Forte ranks third with 40 points. Here’s the updated leaderboard.
Finally, let’s take a look at the 2023 Kentucky Derby futures odds from Circa Sports for horses entered in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth Stakes. Forte is the +750 (or 7.5-1) betting favorite for this year’s Run for the Roses as of March 1.
|Circa Odds To Win 2023 Kentucky Derby
Also read: What is the Triple Crown of horse racing?