Violence favored in Fountain of Youth Stakes
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Violence makes his 3-year-old debut Saturday as the favorite in the Grade 2, $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Violence drew post No. 3 and was made the 9-5 favorite in the field of 11 Triple Crown hopefuls running 1 1/16 miles.
Regular jockey Javier Castellano will be back aboard Violence for the first time since the colt won the Grade 1, $750,000 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park by 1 1/2 lengths on Dec. 15. Violence won both of his previous starts in New York, including the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 4.
"He has done really well so far and everything has gone according to plan while we've focused on getting him ready for the Fountain of Youth,'' Pletcher said.
Kentucky homebred Data Link appears to be the class of nine older horses drawn for Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Canadian Turf Stakes. The 5-year-old will make his first start since posting a 2 1/4-length victory in the Grade 2 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park on Nov. 23.
Other contenders in the Fountain of Youth include Cerro, Falling Sky, Majestic Hussar and Speak Logistics. Pletcher said he expects Majestic Hussar to set the pace but said Violence won't be far behind.
"He won't let anybody sneak away from him too far,'' Pletcher said. "He's very tractable and can keep close to the pace if he needs to. He's very versatile. We'll see how it plays out with Majestic Hussar and how fast he goes.''
Cerro (4-1) is coming off an allowance victory at 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 26. The Irish-bred colt won his only start as a 2-year-old in Italy before four starts in the United States, beginning with a sixth-place finish in the Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes on turf at Belmont Park in October.
Falling Sky (6-1) won the Sam Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 2 by a neck in a wire-to-wire performance after a 1 1/4-length allowance win going 6 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream in his previous start Dec. 15. He won his debut at Churchill Downs by four lengths on Nov. 1 and finished fourth in the Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay on Dec. 1.
Majestic Hussar (6-1), making his first start around two turns, won his debut at Saratoga last summer and finished seventh in the Grade 2 Hopeful Stakes. He was second to Falling Sky in a Dec. 15 allowance and followed with a 2 1/2-length allowance win Jan. 19.
Speak Logistics (12-1) won the $300,000 In Reality Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder Race Course in October before a seventh-place finish in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov. 3. Speak Logistics then finished fourth in the Grade 3 Sam Davis Stakes.