02/19/2015 3:10PM

Frosted looks to turn tables on Upstart in Fountain of Youth

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Barbara D. Livingston
Frosted (above) was beaten 5 1/2 lengths by Upstart in the Holy Bull, but he has factors in his favor in the Fountain of Youth on Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Upstart turned what looked like a two-horse race into a one-horse showcase in last month’s Holy Bull Stakes, but when he and Frosted meet again at Gulfstream Park on Saturday in the Grade 2, $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes, there is reason to believe the result could be a lot closer.

Both carried 116 pounds in the Grade 2 Holy Bull. This time, Upstart has to give six pounds (122-116) to Frosted. In addition, Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains Frosted, thinks his colt will benefit by not being on the rail this time, and he also expects improvement with blinkers, which Frosted will wear for the first time.

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But is all that enough to make up 5 1/2 lengths, the margin by which Upstart won the Holy Bull? It was an overpowering performance and left Upstart as the unquestioned leader of the Florida-based Kentucky Derby prospects. He will be favored this time, whereas Frosted was favored in the Holy Bull. The Fountain of Youth, like the Holy Bull, is at 1 1/16 miles.

 

“He worked great in blinkers,” said McLaughlin, who added that jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. had been pushing to add blinkers. “He always works well, but he worked exceptionally well in blinkers. I’m happier with the post. Last time, he had the 1, and you either commit and go, or you do what we did.”

Ortiz and Frosted wound up in midpack while down inside in the Holy Bull, while Upstart, who started from post 8 in a field of nine, stayed outside and then powered clear.

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“We were second-best,” McLaughlin said. “We just have to hope to get a good trip this time and hope Upstart is not as monstrous as he was last time.”

Rick Violette Jr. said he has not trained Upstart quite as aggressively for this race as the Holy Bull. The Holy Bull was his first start off a layoff, so he needed to be trained harder for that race, and this race is a bridge to the Florida Derby next month and then, Violette hopes, the Triple Crown races.

Three others exiting the Holy Bull – Bluegrass Singer, Juan and Bina, and Frammento – are back again. There are three others in the field: the impressive local allowance winners Gorgeous Bird and Itsaknockout, and Danny Boy, who is making his first start since the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

The Fountain of Youth offers 85 qualifying points overall, including 50 to the winner, under the system used by Churchill Downs to determine the field for the May 2 Kentucky Derby. Essentially, you win, you’re in.

The Fountain of Youth is the 11th race on a 12-race card that begins at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. There are seven other stakes, six graded, most notably race 9, the Grade 2, $200,000 Mac Diarmida, which features the 2015 debut of Main Sequence, last year’s winner of Eclipse Awards as champion male turf horse and champion older male. Also of interest is race 8, the Grade 2, $200,000 Davona Dale Stakes, a prep for the May 1 Kentucky Oaks.

KEY CONTENDERS

Frosted (Last 3 Beyers: 96-89-89)

◗ Even though he was well beaten by Upstart, the quality of his race may have been masked, for he did earn a career-best Beyer Speed Figure in his fifth start and only his second with Lasix.

◗ He ended his 2-year-old campaign with a narrow loss in the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct, where an outside post left him at a disadvantage over a track that had a pronounced inside bias.

Upstart (Last 3 Beyers: 106-92-102)

◗ He could not have looked any better in his 3-year-old debut in the Holy Bull, which marked his first start since finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind the high-quality pair of Texas Red and Carpe Diem.

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

◗ With his solid foundation at 2, excellent return at 3, and a pedigree that should have him relishing 1 1/4 miles, he ticks all the boxes when it comes to top Derby contenders.


DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 7 Upstart. Trainer Rick Violette is 10-6-1-0 with a $3.26 ROI over the past three years in dirt routes with last-out winners in the second start following the layoff. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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Bluegrass Singer (Last 3 Beyers: 93-93-90)

◗ Although he could not stave off Upstart and Frosted when third in the Holy Bull, he faced some pace pressure that day and may have less to deal with early this time, though his aptitude at two-turn races is still in question. He won a pair of one-turn, one-mile races earlier in the meet, including the Mucho Macho Man Stakes.

Gorgeous Bird (Last 3 Beyers: 84-75-57)

◗ He is 2 for 2 since adding Lasix and comes off an easy victory against first-level allowance foes here in a one-turn mile. The question he must answer is whether his late kick will be as effective around two turns as it has been around one turn.

Itsaknockout (Beyers: 89-74)

◗ He is unbeaten in two starts, both here at Gulfstream, and like Gorgeous Bird beat a first-level allowance field in a one-turn mile in his last start. He is by Lemon Drop Kid, so the extra distance should be suitable.


DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 5 It'saknockout. Trainer Todd Pletcher is 27-12-4-4 with a $2.54 ROI over the past five years in dirt route graded stakes at Gulfstream Park with last-out winners. Click for more details. Mike Hogan


DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 8 Danny Boy. Trainer Dale Romans is 18-2-2-2 with a $5.22 ROI over the past five years going turf to dirt in graded stakes routes. Click for more details. Mike Hogan