Fountain of Youth Stakes 2024


The difficulty in analyzing these 3yo Kentucky Derby preps is that many horses are very lightly raced and rapidly improving. In the 2024 Fountain of Youth Stakes on Saturday 3/2/24, four of the nine starters have won a single race or less. Four of the nine starters are exiting a race at 7F or less.  It is always difficult to assess these horses but speed figures and pedigree analysis are critical.  On our charts you must pay close attention to PFDS & BEST Odds coupled with ENERGY. We will also look closely at the pps for each horse.  Let's go.

1) Speak Easy - Rail draw is good.  Horse won 7F MSW race against Victory Avenue.  Victory Avenue beat this horse to the lead and I expect similar outcome today.  There are four confirmed "F" front runners in the race but one is too slow early and I think Speak Easy will rate behind Victory Avenue and Dornoch today.  Pedigree says horse should stretch out fine and Pletcher/Irad combo is best in the race.  Horse earns a "B" letter grade and is a serious threat but also likely underlay.

2) Le Dom Bro - This horse is too slow early to contend for the early lead which will doom its chances.  This horse was beaten in Swale stakes by Frankie's Empire and was crushed by Dornoch in a muddy Remsen.  I see no path for this horse to hit the board.  Toss.

3) Victory Avenue (SCR) - Still a maiden and should get the early lead here.  Loses Saez but picks up Velazquez.  Early speed is a strong asset but this horse will get pressure from Dornoch early and couldn't hold off Speak Easy in last.  Odds on this horse, 4-1 M/L, are way too low.  Looking elsewhere on top.

4) Real Macho - Horse has two wins with last against Merit in an NW1x allowance race.  Horse will come from mid-pack with Gafflione aboard.  Pedigree is fine but ENERGY looks too slow.  Horse has a chance at the bottom of vertical exotic tickets.

5) Dornoch - This horse will get plenty of support after beating Risen Star winner, Sierra Leone, in muddy Remsen.  Horse was passed but dug in gamely to win by a nose.  Sierra Leone didn't wear blinkers in that race and hung late.  Dornoch's Late Speed (LS) figure is not good.  I expect this horse to be running 2nd early closely tracking Victory Empire.  Horse should be able to run by that horse in the stretch but that is no guarantee and at 2-1 price is a huge underlay.  I will fade this horse completely from any exacta tickets.  Horse gets a weak "C" on the chart as the morning line favorite.

6) Merit - Getting beat by Real Macho in last at shorter odds with no excuse gives me zero confidence here.  An easy fade.

7) Frankies Empire - Coming off nice Swale win beating a couple horses in here.  This horse will be mid-pack Saturday and will try to make a move turning for home.  With that said, horse has a weak route pedigree and ran poorly at age 2 going a mile.  In one of those races he was beaten 9 lengths by Dornoch.  Horse has definitely improved since then and could fire a new top but I think this horse is a bit slow and prefers shorter.

8) Locked (SCR) - This horse sits on top of chart.  BEST Odds is 3-2 which is very strong.  A ton of value and K+ letter grade make this horse the play at 5-2 Morning Line.  Last race was solid 3rd in Breeders Cup Juvenile.  Work-outs are modest for this comeback race getting a "N" in Fitness Column &running style is a concern. Contender to win & strong bet to hit the exacta.

9) Dancing Groom - Another closer, this horse has run against solid company in last 3 races but was beaten soundly.  This horse is too slow on ENERGY to make an impact and will toss this horse from all vertical exotics despite its prominent position in PFDS Odds.

Bottom Line - This race comes down to the two Pletcher horses, Speak Easy "B" and Locked "K+", ridden by the Ortiz brothers.  I expect both of them to hit the trifecta and one of them to win.  Speak Easy will get the jump on his stable mate and has a race this year to improve from while Locked has superb 2yo form but work-outs are weak for the come-back race and closing style is a disadvantage.  I prefer Speak Easy slightly at 9-2 odds.  Either Dornoch or Victory Avenue could get the final spot in the trifecta but Dornoch needs to be faded at 2-1 odds.  Real Macho and Frankie's Empire are the other 2 horses you could consider underneath. Trifecta play could like this:  1,8 / 1,3,8 / 1,3,4,7,8 or just play that exacta 1,8 / 1,3,8. Good Luck folks! #CHV 

UPDATE AFTER SCRATCHES - With scratch of Victory Avenue, pace softens substantially which is an advantage for Dornoch. Speak Easy will track a bit closer and I still feel will run by Dornoch, similar to Sierra Leone Remsen movie. Dornoch should be able to hold 2nd place.  With only 7 horses you have to play it a bit skinnier.  I'm promoting Dancing Groom to bottom of trifecta ticket.  So Trifecta is now 1 / 5 / 4,7,9.