Forte Wins Fountain of Youth in Spectacular 3-year-old Debut
Dwelling as much as his lofty juvenile champion standing was little downside for Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable‘s Forte, who started his 3-year-old marketing campaign on March 4 with a powerful 4 1/2-length victory within the $400,000 Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Forte, a son of Violence, posted a successful time of 1:43.12 for the 1 1/16 miles to earn 50 factors on the Highway to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve. His 90 total factors lead all contenders in search of to run for the roses at Churchill Downs on the primary Saturday in Could.
The darkish bay or brown colt was coming off a fourth-month layoff following his third straight Grade 1 triumph within the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance at Keeneland Nov. 4.
“Truthfully, I am unable to say I am stunned,” successful coach Todd Pletcher mentioned of Forte’s efficiency. “I felt actually, actually good about the best way this horse was coming into the race.”
Simply how good is Forte?
“Appears to be like like there’s plenty of upside,” Pletcher mentioned with a smile.
Forte broke barely inward out of the gate and settled in fifth behind leaders Cyclone Mischief, Dangerous Ride, Rocket Can, and Mage across the clubhouse flip.
Cyclone Mischief and jockey Tyler Gaffalione proceeded to set fractions of :24.05, :47.65 and 111.84. Forte settled within the two path.
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. steered Forte four-wide across the far flip. Final 12 months’s juvenile champ then seized command in higher stretch and drew off for the win.
“I had a wonderful journey, stunning journey,” Ortiz Jr. mentioned. “The whole lot I anticipated to occur, all the pieces got here out good. I wished to get a very good place, he put me in a terrific place, proper behind the horse (Rocket Can) I needed to beat. I simply bided my time to go.”
Rocket Can, winner of the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park Feb. 4, completed second to earn 20 Kentucky Derby factors. The Frank Fletcher Racing Operations colt, educated by Bill Mott, now has 40 factors total.
“He ran large,” Mott mentioned of Rocket Can. “I hoped he would not get too excited, however he nonetheless appeared like he ran his race.”
Cyclone Mischief, educated by Dale Romans, took third and 15 Kentucky Derby factors, and fourth-place Mage, educated by Gustavo Delgado, earned 10 factors. Shadow Dragon completed fifth to earn 5 factors.
Blazing Sevens, a Chad Brown-trained son of Good Magic, had completed fourth behind Forte within the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance after successful the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes. He spent Saturday’s journey at or close to the again of the nine-horse subject.
“He broke rather well out of there,” jockey Joel Rosario mentioned. “I could not get in my place going into the primary flip and after that he simply type of ran regular.” It wasn’t his day right this moment.”
Forte’s subsequent race figures to be within the Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park April 1 or within the Grade 1 Toyota Bluegrass Stakes April 8 at Keeneland.
“We fastidiously laid out a plan,” mentioned Pletcher. “We thought that we had a program that put him in place to be able to run whereas nonetheless having room for enchancment and room to proceed to develop. I feel we have been in a position to accomplish that.” —Charlie McCarthy