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Road to the Derby Program Analysis

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Fountain of Youth & Risen Star Analysis

 Hawthorne’s Road to the Derby contest starts this Saturday, February 23 with the running of the Risen Star Stakes and the Fountain of Youth Stakes. The contest, which runs through April 20, is free to enter and the grand prize will be a $1,000 wager to be played on the Kentucky Derby. There will be a winner at Hawthorne Race Course and each of the six Club Hawthorne OTBs--seven grand prize winners total! We invite you to join the contest by filling out the entry blank found in your program and turning it in at Guest Services no less than five minutes before the post time of each Road to the Derby race. Entry blanks and contests rules can also be obtained by visiting the Guest Services counter.

He Said

She Said

The Fountain of Youth

Right off the bat you have to deal with prohibitive favorite Violence if this race. He comes into this race a perfect three for three, including victories in the G2 Nashua at Aqueduct at Aqueduct and the G1 Cash Call Futurity at Hollywood Park. However, all those races came as a 2-year-old and he might not have been in against the stiffest competition. Vegas No Show who finished second in the Nashua has been finishing up the track ever since. Fury Kapcori, the runner up in the Cash Call, hasn’t started since. So, is Violence vulnerable? Could be. I would probably try to beat him with Orb, trained by Shug McGaughey. He has a win at nine furlongs, over this track. He’ll be racing with Lasix for the second time and will be ridden by John Velasquez who won this race three of the last six years, though two of those were for trainer Todd Pletcher who conditions Violence. The odds should be far more attractive.

 

The Fountain of Youth

There are some questions to be answered in this race, but certainly not by Violence.  Unfortunately he’s the only Grade 1 or Grade 2 winner entered, and off his smashing G1 Cash Call Futurity at Hollywood Park win should end up in the neighborhood of 1-5.  Based on his three starts thus far he deserves those odds, especially after the way he handled Breeders’ Cup runner-up He’s Had Enough.  Give Speak Logistics another chance to redeem himself and turn the tables on Falling Sky, as he was shut off cold on the rail while making his move past the latter and raced evenly from that point.  He’s Had Enough has shown enough talent to make him capable of competing with Violence, but he has to prove that he can perform as well in the afternoon as he does the morning. 

The Risen Star

On paper the Risen Star Stakes looks far more competitive than the Fountain of Youth. Of course Todd Pletcher’s Palace Malice is likely to draw plenty of attention but get the feeling that the connections of  He’s Had Enough will opt for this spot instead of the Fountain of Youth and this runner up in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile could be tough to handle. In addition, there are a couple of lightly-race contenders in this race. The first, Normandy Invasion, improved by leaps and bounds with every  start for trainer Chad Brown. The other is Al Stall’s unbeaten Departing, who might have the most upside.

 

 

The Risen Star

Contention runs much deeper in the Risen Star, but this field is a bunch from a pace standpoint.  Oxbow could get a very similar trip to the Lecomte but was that race really that good?  If your answer is no then the options are many, though few are stakes proven.  Though it wasn’t a fast race, Proud Strike’s maiden win was a blowout from the outside post.  He drew the rail in this race, and you can bet Gary Stevens will utilize his ground saving post if he makes the trip to the Fair Grounds.  Code West, from the Baffert barn, was tooth-and-nail at 1/5 to beat Dr. Spin in his only career win.  Oxbow will be one to run down, but stretching-out Palace Malice probably won’t let him out of his sights.  Give the son of Curlin a big chance in his first try around two turns for Todd Pletcher.

 

 

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