03/02/2009 12:00AM

Wanna-bes washed out in Fountain

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - A lot of high expectations and lofty dreams were either tempered or quashed within a span of just over 90 seconds here Saturday. That was the time it took for Quality Road to dominate nine other 3-year-olds in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes.

Among Quality Road's victims were four members of last week's Derby Watch: Beethoven, Capt. Candyman Can, This Ones for Phil, and Notonthesamepage, three of whom are now ruled out as candidates for the Grade 1 Florida Derby here on March 28 and all but off the Derby trail altogether.

Neither This Ones for Phil or Notonthesamepage could reproduce the type of efforts that earned them Beyer Speed Figures of 116 and 114 in their previous starts. This Ones for Phil finished a tiring fifth after surprisingly setting the pace, and a rapid one at that, in the Fountain of Youth. Notonthesamepage, the expected pacesetter, never got involved at any stage of the race before staggering home to finish seventh, nearly 19 lengths behind Quality Road.

Trainer Rick Dutrow said This Ones for Phil would definitely not return in the Florida Derby.

"Maybe he was in too tough or in too far," Dutrow said. "I really don't know at this point. I didn't expect him to be on the lead, I don't think that's his game, but none of the other speed horses went. I've got no plans for him right now. We'll just try to build him back up again and go from there."

Ward said Notonthesamepage "bled badly" upon returning from the race. The speedy colt has had similar problems in the past and even made a couple of trips to Ocala to spend time in a hyperbaric chamber during the eight weeks between his impressive victory in the Spectacular Bid Stakes and the Fountain of Youth.

"We'll just regroup, clean his lungs out like we did in the past, and get him to where he's tearing the barn down again before looking for another spot," said Ward.

"We tried to rate him a little bit with all the speed in the race on Saturday, and in hindsight maybe it wasn't the best strategy."

Trainer Ian Wilkes also ruled out the Florida Derby for Capt. Candyman Can, who had been so impressive winning the seven-furlong Hutcheson in his 3-year-old debut. Capt. Candyman Can raced within easy striking distance of the leaders on Saturday before fading to finish fourth.

Wilkes said jockey Julien Leparoux had Capt. Candyman Can "right where he wanted to be, and he just didn't punch. Maybe he's just not a mile-and-one-quarter horse. We'll take a few days and rethink what we're going to point him for, but it will not be the Florida Derby."

Beethoven will be the only member of last week's Derby Watch four who will come back in the Florida Derby. Beethoven rallied from last after six furlongs to finish third, 8 1/4 lengths behind the winner, after washing out fairly extensively in the paddock and post parade before the Fountain of Youth.

"I thought we did all right," said trainer John Ward. "We got some graded money, and he was running through the lane. He didn't handle the crowd as well as I'd have liked - he got a little excitable - but our schooling here has been limited to mornings, and hopefully management will give us permission to school in the afternoons between now and the Florida Derby. Everything is tweaking the dials right now."

Ward also pointed out that the first- and second-place finishers on Saturday, Quality Road and Theregoesjojo, were the two lowest-weighted horses in the field. The Fountain of Youth was run under allowance conditions.

"The same situation occurred in the Holy Bull," Ward noted. "And a weight spread, in my opinion, is a big factor for young 3-year-olds, especially over this racetrack. But we'll all be at equal weight in the Florida Derby."

Trainer Ken McPeek said the Florida Derby is one of two options for Theregoesjojo following his second-place finish in the Fountain of Youth. The outing was the first for Theregoesjojo since he defeated Quality Road in a seven-furlong allowance on Jan. 10.

"I'm really happy with his race, because it was just a prep for us," said McPeek. "We didn't press him hard. Right now I'm between the Florida Derby and Blue Grass. I think he deserves to be tested against that kind, and at the moment I'd say we're probably leaning towards the Blue Grass, because it gives us a little extra time."

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Taqarub, who finished ninth after attending the rapid early pace in the Fountain of Youth, would likely return to New York for his next race.

"He was just empty at the three-eighths pole," said McLaughlin.

Dutrow reported that he is now considering the Florida Derby or the Wood as the next start for Danger to Society, who was transferred to Dutrow's barn after his disappointing performance as the favorite in the Holy Bull. He worked five furlongs in 1:02.12 under jockey Edgar Prado on Sunday.

"He breezed well, and whichever race comes up easier, that's where we'll go," said Dutrow.

Affirmatif dominant in debut

Quality Road's performance in the Fountain of Youth wasn't the only big effort by a 3-year-old on Saturday's card. Affirmatif, a 3-year-old son of Unbridled's Song trained by Todd Pletcher, registered a nine-length victory going a mile on the turf in his career debut. Affirmatif's final time of 1:34.27 was 0.04 of a second faster than his stablemate Twilight Meteor covered the same distance winning the Grade 3 Canadian Turf for older horses earlier in the day. Affirmatif also gave jockey Chris DeCarlo his first victory since returning from shoulder surgery several weeks ago.

"He trained like he might run well the first time out, but he certainly exceeded our expectations," said Pletcher. "He's a nice horse and we have many options, although we're not going to try to make the Derby with him. As well as he ran Saturday, he doesn't have it all figured out yet. He's still a big baby, and it wouldn't be the right thing to do to try to push him like that."

Pletcher also updated the status of several of his other top 3-year-old prospects, including Munnings, who has not started since finishing 10th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

"Munnings worked this morning, and we're about ready to start looking for a race for him," said Pletcher. "We also had to send Obligingly back to WinStar for some time off. He just wasn't moving right, although we haven't been able to pinpoint any specific problem."

Pletcher said Join in the Dance, third in an allowance race here earlier in the meet, would make his next start in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby on March 14.

* Total handle on Saturday's Fountain of Youth program was in excess of $10 million, up more than 50 percent over the $6.3 million handled on the 2008 Fountain of Youth program, which also included the appearance of then-Kentucky Derby favorite War Pass.