Fountain of Youth & Risen Star preview

by TCI 4 years ago

The guys at TCI briefly recap the Southwest Stakes and how it affected the TCI Top 10, and then turn their full attention to this Saturday’s all-important Fountain of Youth Stakes and Risen Star Stakes to opine on what to watch for. But there is another key 3yo race Saturday that could prove to be the best of all, despite not being graded and having zero Derby points up for grabs…

Watch it. Comment.

TCI Top 10

Rank Name Bris Comments
1 Top Billing 95 Big class test coming up in Fountain of Youth, but his pedigree, style, and upside give him as good of a Derby profile as any.
2 Cairo Prince 100 Nothing short of awesome dominating a good Holy Bull group; Classic stamina and peaking early are concerns, talent isn’t.
3 Honor Code 98 His profile is better than stablemate Top Billing’s, but setbacks and missed preps this time of year are worrisome.
4 Shared Belief 102 The champ is a prime example of an immensely talented colt with serious stamina concerns; Recent setbacks don’t help.
5 Strong Mandate 97 Becoming a hard-luck colt like last year’s stablemate Oxbow, but he ran well in the Southwest despite all of the miscues.
6 Conquest Titan 93 Has shown a terrific turn of foot since adopting a closing style, winning a key Churchill allowance, good 2nd in Holy Bull.
7 Constitution 88 Impressive Gulfstream maiden winner must play catch-up to make the Derby, but his talent and upside rivals any on this list.
8 Matterhorn 90 Another talented Tapit colt with a high-quality maiden win and a high ceiling, and yet another fighting time to make Derby.
9 Hartford 91 Pletcher’s 3rd Tapit on list with lite experience & heavy potential; Feels like the kind of year one of these makes a big impact.
10 Samraat 99 NY-bred has been fast and impressive around two turns; Still green in Withers win, so there’s room for further improvement.

through 2/20/2014


  • Dylan Thomas

    Good stuff guys, great insight. Always interested to hear Joel’s analysis on the TC! Intense Holiday is sneaky, solid connections too.

    • Joel Cunningham

      Thanks Dylan!

  • 1JoeP

    Hi Joel – The Derby picture is starting to fill out a bit. Here’s my new top 7. #1 Top Billing – impressive 2nd in FOY, he should appreciate more distance. #2 Intense Holiday – impressive win in the Risen Star. Joel – do you believe he has a good pedigree for 1 1/4? #3 Constitution – Wired a good field in a recent allowance race at Gulfstream, do you like his pedigree for 1 1/4? #4 Strong Mandate – Nice 2nd in Southwest to start his 3 yr. old campaign, you know the Coach will have him ready for Derby day. #5 California Chrome – Awaiting the S. Felipe, hope he impresses in that race and cracks your list. #6 Conquest Titan – Really like him alot, though with only the Fla. Derby left, he will have to finish 3rd or better to qualify for the Derby, the Fla. Derby could be a loaded field. Constitution needs points and the Fla. Derby seems like a good choice for him. #7 Honor Code – will need a good race in the Rebel to be considered a top prospect, he could be rusty. Joel do you believe that Intense Holiday and Constitution both have solid pedigrees for 1 1/4?

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey Joe! Honestly, I do hold some concerns about Constitution and Intense Holiday at a classic distance. Handling it and excelling at it are two different things, and when I look at the families of each I am not overly confident that they’re bred with an overload of stamina. With that said, both are clearly two-turn horses…they’ve proven that already and they both look physically like route horses. But will 1 1/8 miles be their ceiling? It’s a good question that I don’t have the answer for right now.

      You’re right Joe, the Florida Derby is shaping up to be a tough race with Cairo Prince, Conquest Titan, Wildcat Red, Top Billing, General a Rod, and Constitution all very possible. I think we’ll learn more about Constitution’s limits in that race, particularly with the other quality speed he’ll face. Every race helps put the puzzle together…it’s still pretty scattered at this point, but this past weekend definitely was the most impactful one that we’ve seen so far this year on the Derby Trail!

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