Updated on 09/16/2011 6:50AM

Bet your bucks on Stephentown

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Saturday's Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park will be handicappers' first real opportunity to begin to sort through the muddled Triple Crown picture in the East in order to come up with one or two legitimate classic contenders out of the ever-growing heap of pretenders.

The field includes Booklet and Harlan's Holiday, the one-two finishers in last month's Holy Bull Stakes, plus Tropical Park Derby winner Political Attack, Spectacular Bid Stakes winner Maybry's Boy, and impressive Gulfstream allowance winners Grey Beard, Stephentown, Blue Burner, and Speed Hunter.

The best of the lot could be Stephentown, who came from off the pace and won drawing away despite a troubled trip in a Gulfstream allowance race on Jan. 9. The main knock on Stephentown is that he clocked-in a tick slower than fellow 3-year-old Gulfstream allowance winner Grey Beard did later on same day. However, Stephentown showed he could overcome adversity in that race, and his final time no doubt would have been faster if he'd had a cleaner trip.

Stephentown also adds first-time Lasix in the Fountain of Youth, and he should be perfectly placed behind what figures to be a fast and contested pace.

Stephentown's main challenger is likely to be Harlan's Holiday, who exits a runner-up finish in the Holy Bull Stakes and has never been out of the exacta in seven career starts. Harlan's Holiday couldn't catch a loose-on-the-lead Booklet in the Holy Bull, but Booklet won't have the luxury of an easy lead again in the Fountain of Youth thanks to the presence of the speedy Political Attack and stretchout type Speed Hunter.

Both Stephentown and Harlan's Holiday should be sitting near each other in the back-half of the pack, and the one who unleashes the best rally and/or gets the cleanest trip should be the winner.

Finally, don't count out the aforementioned Grey Bread, who also had traffic troubles in his Jan. 9 GP allowance win. Grey Beard added blinkers in that seasonal debut and subsequently jumped 15 Beyer points to 88 from a previous 2-year-old high of 73.

SELECTIONS:

FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH

Gulfstream, Saturday - Race 11

Grade 1, 1 1/16 miles, purse: $200,000

1) 3-Stephentown

2) 4-Harlan's Holiday

3) 1-Grey Beard


$100 PLAY

Stephentown's odds should be just enough to warrant a win bet. Play around with the top choices in exactas and trifectas and hope a price horse like Grey Beard or perhaps even No. 2 Political Attack can spice up your exotic payoffs.

$5 exacta box 1,3,4 ($30 bet)

$5 exactas 1,3,4/2 ($15 bet)

$5 trifecta box 1,3,4 ($30 bet)

$25 to win on No. 3-Stephentown

Last week: Cashed a $40 win bet on Mongoose ($15.60) in the Donn Handicap resulting in a $320 payoff. Exotic bets all lost meaning a profit of $220 was made the original $100 bet.