02/21/2013 3:25PM

Fountain of Youth: Violence puts Pletcher's drive to Kentucky Derby in high gear

Tom Keyser
Violence, here working outside stablemate Palace Malice at Palm Meadows, can earn 50 Kentucky Derby points in the Fountain of Youth.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – With seven of the top 13 3-year-olds on Daily Racing Form’s Derby Watch in his barn, Todd Pletcher has a problem any other trainer not named Bob Baffert would love to have – keeping his Kentucky Derby hopefuls separated while on the quest to amass as many qualifying points as possible for the main event on May 4.

With that in mind, Pletcher has entered only one of his leading Derby prospects, Violence, in Saturday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. And in this case, one figures to be enough.

[GULFSTREAM PARK: Get PPs, watch Saturday's full card live]

The Grade 2 Fountain of Youth drew a bulky field of 11 3-year-olds, although at least one, Sky Captain, was expected to scratch. The winner of the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth will receive 50 Derby qualifying points, the runner-up 20, with another 10 points awarded to the third-place finisher and 5 to the fourth.

The Fountain of Youth highlights a 12-race program that also includes the Grade 2 Davona Dale for 3-year-old fillies, featuring the Pletcher-trained once-beaten Dreaming of Julia, and the Grade 3 Canadian Turf. The main event will be broadcast live on HRTV at 5:35 p.m. Eastern.

Violence enters the Fountain of Youth undefeated in three starts, with victories at 2 in both the Grade 2 Nashua and Grade 1 CashCall Futurity. A son of Medaglia d’Oro owned by Black Rock Thoroughbreds, Violence has 10 qualifying points for the Derby by virtue of his 1 1/4-length victory over Fury Kapcori in the CashCall, a race decided over the synthetic surface at Hollywood Park Dec. 15.

Violence has trained forwardly for his return at Pletcher’s winter base at Palm Meadows, where he’s recorded five works since Jan. 20, including a bullet five-eighths in 1:00.20 on Sunday.

“He’s done really well, he’s trained great,” Pletcher said. “It’s time to get started. The race kind of grew a bit at entry time, but we got a good post so I’m happy with that. He’s an experienced horse. He ran in a big field in California, so he’s already used to that. He’s also a versatile horse, tractable, so we can kind of put him where we need to.”

Violence will break from post 3 under jockey Javier Castellano and will carry high weight of 122 pounds under the allowance conditions of the race.

Violence is one of five horses in the Fountain of Youth field to have already earned qualifying points for the Derby. Falling Sky also picked up 10 points for his victory in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs. California invader He’s Had Enough has six points, four of which came for finishing second behind 2-year-old champion Shanghai Bobby in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, while Speak Logistics and Joshua’s Comprise received one apiece for their fourth-place finishes in the Sam Davis and Grade 3 Holy Bull, respectively.

Falling Sky was purchased privately after defeating another of the Fountain of Youth contenders, Majestic Hussar, in a 6 1/2-furlong entry-level allowance race here on Dec. 15. He then returned quick dividends when leading throughout and outlasting Dynamic Sky by a neck to capture the 1 1/16-mile Sam Davis. The 92 Beyer Speed Figure that Falling Sky earned for the triumph matches the number posted by Violence for his win in the CashCall.

Falling Sky’s biggest problem on Saturday may be his post position, as he is scheduled to break from post 10, with a very short run to the clubhouse turn. Should Sky Captain scratch, Falling Sky would move in one slot to post 9. In the Sam Davis, he broke from post 7.

“He’s got enough gate speed to put himself in a good spot, so I’m not that concerned about the post,” said Falling Sky’s trainer, John Terranova. “He drew outside at Tampa where there’s also a short run to the turn, and it didn’t affect him in the Sam Davis so I don’t think it should be a problem.”

There are several speed horses in the Fountain of Youth lineup, but they all may find themselves chasing Majestic Hussar, who bounced back from his setback at the hands of Falling Sky with a wire-to-wire victory over another of Pletcher’s Derby candidates, Palice Malice, in a seven-furlong entry-level allowance race decided over a sloppy track here on Jan. 19. Majestic Hussar is the only member of the Fountain of Youth field without any experience around two turns.

He’s Had Enough, who was cross-entered Saturday at the Fair Grounds in the Risen Star, is the only horse from outside south Florida to ship in for the Fountain of Youth. Based on the West Coast with last year’s Kentucky Derby-winning trainer, Doug O’Neill, He’s Had Enough was beaten just a head in the BC Juvenile but was never a factor when finishing nine lengths behind Violence in the CashCall.

Cerro and Orb won split divisions of a 1 1/8-mile optional claiming race here on Jan. 26, with Cerro posting the faster time by nearly a full second. Cerro led throughout from his advantageous inside post but over a track that appeared deeper near the rail and did not favor front-runners for the most part.

Trainer Graham Motion had originally planned on returning Cerro to the turf for the Grade 3 Palm Beach on March 3 but has opted instead to keep the Irish-bred on dirt. The Palm Beach, although graded, does not offer any Derby qualifying points.

“We have to bear in mind the points,” said Motion. “If we go to the Palm Beach, we’ll be putting all our eggs in one basket in his next start.”

Speak Logistics would likely have bettered his fourth-place finish in the Sam Davis if not for being forced to take up sharply inside Falling Sky while attempting to challenge the leader near the quarter pole in his first start since finishing seventh in the BC Juvenile.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Gary Peacock More than 1 year ago
Think president Orbama has his Derby horse! :)
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
The thing about Vilolence is that the jock always appears to be working ten times harder than the horse. While the jock is scrubbing his hide off, the horse runs head up, ears up, skipping along and doesn't look like he's giving his best. Maybe he hasn't figured things out yet and or he's a bit lazy. Maybe that's just the way he runs. Either way it makes things interesting.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Gary Peacock More than 1 year ago
Kim Lee More than 1 year ago
Speak Logistics...make $$$$ and have FUN like me!!!
Jeff Brown More than 1 year ago
Gary Peacock More than 1 year ago
Good call.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Good call. Awesome win.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Does anyone really believe you'll get the 9-5 morning line price? A morning line of 9-5 really means 3-5 at best.
Perl More than 1 year ago
That's not true at all. Not all ML 9-5 shots are created equal. I have seen them drift to 2-1+ many a time. In this case I agree Violence will probably be odds on. Maybe 4/5 or even $.
Elijah Allison More than 1 year ago
Horse cents makes no cents
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
It will make sense to you at post time. No shot at getting above even money.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Perl More than 1 year ago
Seek psychiatric help.
rvraynmary More than 1 year ago
please do...
Charles Oakley More than 1 year ago
Stinking Republican zombie. I wish Secretariat was alive so he could break it off in you.
Real M More than 1 year ago
I think it is funny there are hundreds of T-breds whose names are just as bad or worse. If they knew the story behind Mute Rudolph I'm sure they'd get their undies in a bunch over that one as well. Instead they hear the name of a Derby horse named Violence mentioned on the TV and suddenly a line has been crossed. They defend violent video games and movies but simply naming your horse Violence is encouraging others to commit evil. They probably cheered on that Dorner freak but are offended by a horses name.
Elijah Allison More than 1 year ago
Gary Peacock More than 1 year ago
Gary Peacock More than 1 year ago
Orbama....think the prez has his derby orse!.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
pretty sad when someone has their own PERSONAL comment condemned by some jerk with his own agenda!
Gunner More than 1 year ago
I somewhat enjoy when unassumingly people protest a horses name and thereby in their vehemence border on the very nature that they do protest in an unsightly boisterousness. Sax & Violins would be a better name I suppose.
Gary Peacock More than 1 year ago
Steve Sax was one of my favorite Dodger players, suspect throwing are and all. The fact that he likes the violin makes the above a perfect, classical name.
Perl More than 1 year ago
I didn't like the horse's name at first but it's growing on me. It's definitely better than that NY bred from a few years ago named Date More Minors.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
Leave it to the Republicans to use this thread as an attack on Liberals. No where did the 2 people who posted that they disliked the name say anything about politics. For the record, I am a proud Liberal who loves the name of this horse. Take the political BS elsewhere!
Mr. Ed More than 1 year ago
Thank you Joe for being the bigger man and so self righteous, that you would bash one political group for what you say was an attack on the other group, while saying take the political BS elsewhere, when your statement is exactly that. Sounds like black pot syndrome to me. You should have that looked at. I. M. Ed
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
Mr. Ed, where in my post did I bash Republicans? I was simply stating a FACT that there were at least 3-4 posts attacking liberals when this article has nothing to do with politics. As most of the posts attacking liberals were assuming you had to be liberal to dislike the name, I just wanted to state that as a liberal I loved the name. Keep seeing what you want to see.
Mr. Ed More than 1 year ago
Actually I see it quite clearly. Your first sentence. "Leave it to the Republicans to use this thread as an attack on Liberals." I don't see what I want to see, I see what you wrote. I get your final point but you got there in a derogatory manner that you were orginally complaining about. Oh, and thanks for putting FACTS in caps to let us know that you were using facts not mentioned. I. M. Ed
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
Do I need to pull up and quote the 3-4 posts bashing liberals on this thread? That is an absolute FACT and you can't dispute it. I'm done. U.R. AN IDIOT
Mr. Ed More than 1 year ago
And you ended that exactly like I would expect you to when losing an argument. FACT as you like to say that cannot be disputed, you bashed one group in defense of another and defended it with the direct contradiction that politics should be left out of it. Have that pot calling the kettle black syndrome looked at.
Real M More than 1 year ago
Naming a horse Violence has no effect on any current over publicized tragedies. I'm not even a Republican so why did you feel you had to attack a political party? I'm a registered Independent. Generally conservative. It is liberals who protest over stupid things like a horses name. These are not racing fans or horse people. I never once read a poster say he wasn't playing Violence in the DFW because the name was scary. They are uninformed and out place making such comments. To even think it would be appropriate to tie this horses name to recent over hyped tragedies being used to advance a political agenda is amazing to me. Talk about control freaks. This ever creeping social control is simply going too far and I agree it should stay off of DRF so we can just talk about horses without invoking Sandy Hook or politics.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Take it elsewhere, puh-leeze.
Jeffries Will More than 1 year ago
I never agree w chad about anything and I AGREE WITH CHAD! Its a name, get over yourselves. If you're that offended by it play again. (disclaimer- the last sentence is as ridiculous as this thread!!!!!!!!!)
Jeffries Will More than 1 year ago
*play against him. sorry