08/25/2009 11:00PM

Fountain of Youth back at 1 1/8 miles


Anchored, as usual, by the Grade 1 Florida Derby, the 2010 Gulfstream Park stakes schedule was released Wednesday sporting a familiar look but with a couple of key changes in the all-important 3-year-old division. The 2010 Gulfstream meet opens on Jan. 3 and runs through April 23.

Repeating a formula that has worked so well over the past several years, the Florida Derby will again be decided five weeks out from the Kentucky Derby, on March 27. Unlike recent renewals, however, the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby will not stand alone as the only important Derby prep that afternoon, with Fair Grounds having moved the Louisiana Derby to the same day.

The most important changes on this year's stakes schedule will involve the two key 3-year-old preps leading up to the Florida Derby, the Grade 3 Holy Bull and Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. Last winter, the Holy Bull was carded at 1 1/8 miles and the Fountain of Youth at a mile. But this season, the Holy Bull will be run at a mile on Jan. 23 and the Fountain of Youth at 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 27.

"Horsemen indicated a desire to have a two-turn race a little closer to the Florida Derby," said Dan Bork, who will be serving his first season as racing secretary at Gulfstream Park in 2010. "And we believe we've accommodated them with the bump in distance of the Fountain of Youth to a mile and one-eighth."

Other highlights include the Sunshine Millions on Jan. 30, the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 6, and the Grade 1 Gulfstream Turf Handicap on Feb. 7. The Donn and Gulfstream Turf will be run over Super Bowl weekend. The 2010 Super Bowl will be held at Land Shark Stadium in Miami.

The Donn has become a leading springboard to the $6 million Dubai World Cup. Five World Cup winners, including Cigar in 1996 and Invasor in 2007, have competed in the Donn over the past 13 years.

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