Fountain of Youth & Risen Star preview

by TCI 3 years ago

Jon & Joel discuss the cancellation impact on the Southwest Stakes, and preview the first major weekend of 50-pt preps with key showdowns in the Fountain of Youth and Risen Star. Can the newly-blinkered Frosted turn the tables on Upstart? Can Imperia solidify his legitimacy on dirt?

Watch it. Comment.

TCI Top 10

Rank Name
1 Carpe Diem
2 Texas Red
3 American Pharoah
4 Upstart
5 Dortmund
6 Daredevil
7 Frosted
8 Imperia
9 Firing Line
10 Ocean Knight

through 2/19/2015


  • Polamalu4343

    Joel, nice work again! This is the time of the year when we start separating the wheat from the chaff. The next 3 weekends will certainly paint the landscape in a much clearer picture.

    • Joel Cunningham

      Thanks Polamalu! I agree. I believe we saw a lot of that this weekend.

  • Hi Joel – dissapointing performances this weekend from Imperia and Gorgeous Bird. Mike Smith said Imperia was “swimming” and didn’t handle the track. I believe that Imperia is still a quality colt and we know he likes CD. The problem is he only has 4 derby points and he will need a 3rd place finish to get to the derby. Hopefully K. McLaughlin will find a favorable spot for Imperia to get him points, maybe the Spiral? Metaboss will show up there and we know he likes synthetic. I was hoping for a top 3 for Georgeous Bird to get him some derby points. If he tries the Florida Derby at 1 1/8 maybe he can hit the board . Upstart is pointing to the W. Memorial and Frosted ran out of gas. Maybe the Florida derby would be a softer spot for G. Bird. Joel, what are your views of these 2 colts, and there chances on making the KY Derby?

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey JoeP!

      Wild weekend. My take: Imperia’s action in the stretch was not pretty, it was clear to me that he was not getting over the track well. That’s not a good sign, and it reaffirms why McLaughlin campaigned the horse so much on grass to start his career. CD does play more kindly to grass-horse types, however, he’ll have to beat a much better field than he faced in the KY Jockey Club obviously, so I have my reservations. I personally believe he ran his way out of Derby contention in the Risen Star.

      Gorgeous Bird seems like a cruiser that doesn’t have a big move, like many of the big sons of Unbridled’s Song. So him being that far back wasn’t helpful against this class of horses IMO. As I mentioned before about him, I am also concerned about how far he really wants to go too. I know there is some stamina in the female family, but to me he looks like a one-turn type of colt right now until he proves that not to be the case. I see him more as a Derby Trial (newly-named Pat Day Mile) contender rather than a KY Derby contender.

      Since you mentioned Frosted, I’ll add that something had to have happened to him at the top of the stretch in the FOY. You rarely see a horse go from loaded to empty at the snap of a finger like that, and it was clear by his short choppy stride in the stretch that something was amiss. I hope I am wrong and it was merely mental, but the way he fell apart and finished with short strides and his head in the air makes me think there could be a physical excuse. I honestly expected him to win by open lengths at the 1/8th pole. Very very disappointing.

  • Clint

    Joel- What do you think about Khozan’s performance today and potential of making it to the KY. Derby? Looks like connections might run him in the Florida Derby and make a run similar to Constitutions plans last year. I know he has not beat anyone special and is lighty raced but looks like the real deal. Thanks

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey Clint!

      The Florida Derby is confirmed, as long as all goes right between now and then for Khozan. I think he’s only going to get better when he gets around two turns, which is a scary thought. Today’s race was as good as could be after he was bumped hard and sandwiched in between horses, and then made a middle move before continuing to increase his margin. I don’t think he beat much but he did it like you would hope. No question he’s a top talent, and now after the FOY fell apart Saturday, one would have to like his chances in the Florida Derby more so than before Upstart and Frosted looked flat.

      The main concern I have about him are the very own words of his trainer after his maiden win. Pletcher is a realist, but I didn’t really like that he said he thought the Derby may be too much, too quickly for the colt. Perhaps he feels differently now, but it would seem to me that it’s never a good thing when a trainer feels his schedule will take him out of his comfort zone. Baffert was always confident about Bodemeister which is why I felt he could buck history a few years ago. I think Constitution had a better two-turn race under his belt last year when he defeated a solid field including Tonalist. And I never thought the Derby colts (that stayed healthy thru April and May) last year were a particularly deep or top heavy group. So I did think Constitution had a better opportunity, relatively speaking.

      Maybe I will feel differently after the Florida Derby if horses like Texas Red prove they won’t make the Derby field. But as it stands right now, I think there are some very good colts with more experience that should have the leg-up on Khozan. That’s my initial gut feeling, even though he deserves his due and the great potential he now has to make the Derby field, which I will definitely reflect in our new Top 10 this coming week. Big future if he stays sound. There simply isn’t a better classic profile out there than his, it’s just the experience factor that he’s giving up on many that is the largest concern.

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