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Gulfstream Park: McLaughlin testing Elmutahid in Fountain of Youth
By Mike Welsch
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Two years ago, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth with Soldat, a War Front colt best known for his exploits on turf at 2.
On Saturday, McLaughlin is hoping lightning will strike in a similar manner with Elmutahid, a son of Street Cry who made all four of his 2-year-old starts on grass before switching to dirt to register an impressive maiden win over a sloppy track here at Gulfstream last month.
Like Elmutahid, Soldat also came into the Fountain of Youth off a big wet-track victory here earlier in the meet, although that’s about where the similarity between the two horses ends.
Soldat was already proven on dirt as a 2-year-old before switching to grass to win the Grade 3 With Anticipation and finish second later that season in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Elmutahid never ran on dirt and was winless in four starts at 2 before earning his diploma in impressive fashion in his 3-year-old debut.
A Shadwell homebred trained by McLaughlin, Elmutahid is the first foal out of the Grade 1-winning mare Alwajeeha, who made all nine of her starts on turf. She won three times, closing her brief but successful career with a victory in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Keeneland in 2008.
“Soldat had already shown us he liked the dirt in his maiden days, but we just figured Elmutahid, with his breeding, was all turf,” McLaughlin said. “In fact, I even scratched him twice this summer in races that came off the grass. But once he got down to Palm Meadows, he started working really well on the dirt, so I called Rick Nichols at Shadwell and told him it might be a crazy idea, but I’d like to try this horse on dirt. He said fine. He won, and that’s why we’re here Saturday.”
Jose Lezcano rode Elmutahid to his maiden win, but Joe Brave will have the mount in the Fountain of Youth.
“Obviously, it’s a big step up jumping from a maiden win to a Grade 2,” McLaughlin said, “but he’s come back and worked impressively a couple of times since his last start, and with the new points system for the Derby, it’s worth a try.
“He was a little tricky getting to the post before his last race. Jose had to get off and run him to the gate, but we’ve been schooling him with a pony in the morning and he seems to be doing fine. I doubt he’ll be on the lead Saturday, that spot might be occupied by Eddie Kenneally’s horse” – Majestic Hussar – “but he should be forwardly placed. I’ll just leave that up to Joe.”
I love this time of the year leading up to the Derby. If the racing doesn't present a good betting opportunity, they always present great competition and are very interesting to just watch. Class is class. I don't care to speculate who might be Violence. He won't be worth betting because his price will be low and whether or not he can win this off the bench is an issue. However, the exotics might be worth a little interest as you could probably get away with spending a modest amount like $6 to cover the trifecta and superfecta. Look for Cerro to give a good accounting of himself. His pace figures in his last race are decent and unwavering through the first 6 furlongs. These are very good signs of things to come. Sky Captain is coming out of a similar effort, being just behind Cerro. He can definitely improve off of this effort. Orb will be picking up the slack. If this race were 9 furlongs, he could surprise. His pace figures in his last race start out somewhat mediocre for the first half mile, but the next half mile shows a good ratings that are unwavering. So, if I were to bet this one I would key Violence over Cerro, Sky Captain, and Orb. I would be tempted to play an exacta and a trifecta key with just Violence over Cerro and Sky Captain. Elmutahid only just broke his maiden in the slop. His pace figures are good for the first half mile, but shows a natural slowing down in the remainder of that race. I would not give him much of a chance in this one. I only hope I get a chance to watch this on TV.
Elmutahid out of Street Cry/Alwajeeha should have no problem sitting a good trip against this bunch. Joe Bravo I'm sure will be very impressed with the kick this regally bred grandson of Machiavellian will display when set down. Big step for most, but not this guy.
Ploy roy moy
why not display the past performances with a story about any horse ? it would make it much clearer to focus on the horse's recent history.
Um, that should be Elmutahid never ran on dirt (at 2). Annie
You got that right Kiaran. Hussar will all but certainly be the one to beat. If he can carry that load around two turns, he might get away from them all. At that point, I only see Violence with enough ummph to make a race out of it.
- 1.Posted 12/05/2013 04:54PM
- 2.Posted 12/08/2013 09:52AM
- 3.Posted 12/07/2013 07:42PM
- 4.Posted 12/07/2013 03:42PM
- 5.Posted 12/08/2013 06:53PM