02/17/2010 12:00AM

Buddy's Saint gets post 2 for Fountain

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
Buddy's Saint will make his 3-year-old debut in Saturday's Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Bruce Levine, the trainer of Buddy's Saint, was letting the cold water from a hose cascade over the colt's right front ankle outside his Gulfstream Park barn on Wednesday morning. It was Levine, though, who seemed more in need of a being hosed down before Buddy's Saint runs in the Grade 2, $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes here on Saturday.

Asked if he was nervous, anxious, or excited, a tense Levine said, "That first word."

"I've got no backups, no one in the bullpen, no one sitting on deck,"

Levine said, loosening up. "This is what every trainer dreams of. If you're in the game, this is what you dream of, to have this opportunity."

Buddy's Saint finished first in all three of his starts, all at age 2, though he was disqualified in one. The Fountain of Youth marks his first start as a 3-year-old. He landed post 2 in a field of 10 on Wednesday when entries were taken, and post positions drawn, for Gulfstream's major prep for next month's Grade 1 Florida Derby.

"It's time to get going," Levine said. "I think he'll run well. He's training well. But he is going a mile and an eighth in his first start in almost three months."

Buddy's Saint defeated maidens at Belmont on Sept. 26 but was disqualified for bumping a rival. He then won the , at 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct on Nov. 28. Levine said Buddy's Saint "probably hasn't changed that much" physically since the Remsen.

Buddy's Saint stood placidly while being hosed down, looking as though he was going to nod off right there even though he was standing next to a road on which cars occasionally passed by.

"He's a pussycat," Levine said. "One thing about him - he doesn't get rattled. You could sleep in the stall with him."

Under the conditions of the race, Buddy's Saint carries top weight of 122 pounds, conceding from two to six pounds to his nine rivals.

Aikenite, one of two horses in the race trained by Todd Pletcher, drew the rail. The rest of the field, from the rail out, is Pulsion, Pleasant Prince, Jackson Bend, Prince Will I Am, Positive Split, Eskendereya, Lost Aptitude, and Ice Box.

Eskendereya is Pletcher's other horse. Nick Zito also has two entrants in the race, Jackson Bend and Ice Box.

Buddy's Saint and Jackson Bend, the runner-up in last month's , are expected to vie for favoritism.

Pulsion skipped the Holy Bull after developing mucus in his lungs.

"He never had a fever, just a little cold," said his trainer, Patrick Biancone.

:: DERBY 136: