02/16/2013 2:43PM

Gulfstream Park: Few willing to challenge Violence in Fountain of Youth

Benoit & Associates
So far, only three horses are considered probanle to challenge CashCall Futurity winner Violence in the Fountain of Youth.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Whether it’s the prospect of taking on the undefeated Violence or just bad timing, it appears a small field will be lining up for Saturday’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park.

Violence will be making his first start since rallying to a 1 1/4-length victory in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity on Dec. 15 at Betfair Hollywood Park. He has been training for his 3-year-old bow with trainer Todd Pletcher at Palm Meadows.

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

Only three others are confirmed for the 1 1/16- mile Fountain of Youth – Majestic Hussar, Elmutahid, and Joshua’s Comprise. My Name Is Michael, Orb, and Sky Captain are considered possible.

Both Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby, the one-two finishers in last month’s Grade 3 Holy Bull, are passing the Fountain of Youth to await the $1 million Florida Derby on March 30.

The Fountain of Youth is worth 50 qualifying points to the winner in the new system being used to determine eligibility for this year’s Kentucky Derby.

Trainer Eddie Kenneally said he knew he had a top-quality sprinter on his hands after Majestic Hussar defeated Palace Malice to win a first- level optional claiming race going seven furlongs on Jan. 19. Now he’s going to give his horse a chance to prove he can handle two turns.

“We want to try the distance,” said Kenneally. “We know he likes the track and if it doesn’t work out we’ll still have a good sprinter.”

Kenneally said Luis Saez will replace Majestic Hussar’s regular rider Jose Lezcano for the Fountain of Youth. Lezcano is also the regular jockey for Elmutahid, an impressive maiden special weight winner going 1 1/8 miles in his 3-year-old debut.

Trainer Mark Casse, who is loaded with top-caliber 3-year-olds this winter, said he will consider the Fountain of Youth for Sky Captain, who exits a second-place finish behind Cerro under allowance conditions when making his two-turn bow on Jan. 26.

“I thought his last race was good for the first time going long, and a lot of people seem very high on the horse who beat him that day and he’d already had a couple of route races,” said Casse. “I think we can improve on our horse. If we don’t run in the Fountain of Youth, I might send him to the Battaglia at Turfway the following week. He trains really well over a synthetic surface and it would set him up nicely for the Spiral.”