02/04/2012 2:22PM

Gulfstream: Needles winner Musical Flair may stretch out for Fountain of Youth

Bob Coglianese
Musical Flair match stretch out from five furlongs on turf to 1 1/16 miles on the main track for the Feb. 26 Fountain of Youth.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – This month’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park may have found another candidate from the unlikeliest of places, Saturday’s five-furlong Needles Stakes on the turf.

Musical Flair returned from a four-month layoff to launch his 3-year-old campaign with a come-from-behind three-quarter length victory under jockey John Velazauez in the $60,000 Needles. The win was the second in as many starts on grass for Musical Flair ($4.20), a son of Songandaprayer who used similar strategy to capture Calder’s five-furlong Fasig Tipton Turf Dash in August.

Trainer Sal Santoro said Musical Flair underwent throat surgery following his 11th-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 8.

“He led for almost six furlongs of the Breeders’ Futurity, but he entrapped his epiglottis so I sent him to Ocala for surgery and fortunately my owners allowed me to take all the time I needed before bringing him back to race,” said Santoro.

Musical Flair is owned by Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofanti.

“I’ll let the horse tell me when he’s going to run next but based on his breeding I think I’ll probably stretch him out and maybe move him back to the dirt,” said Santoro. “He has been working bullets on the dirt at Calder so the Fountain of Youth would definitely be a possibility.”

The Fountain of Youth, 1 1/16 miles on dirt, will be run on Feb. 26.

Hello Prince, another Calder-based 3-year-old, finished second in the Needles but was disqualified and placed last for interfering with Indirectly A.P. near midstretch elevating Martini Madness to second.