We’re playing along for fun with the $25,000 Kentucky Derby Dream Bet and I would’ve qualified last week, if eligible, with my selection of Gun Runner, who wound up drifting up to 5-1 odds before winning the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds.
With the pressure off, I won’t take the easy road and select Mohaymen in Saturday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) – he has too much of a seasoning edge at this point over a rival like Zulu, who will be making his first start at two turns and on a fast track. I’m viewing it as a two-horse race and will side with the value, Awesome Banner.
Awesome Banner isn’t a legitimate Kentucky Derby win contender in my opinion, but neither were 2014 Fountain of Youth winner Wildcat Red and countless other 3-year-olds who’ve captured two-turn prep races but faced the insurmountable task of stretching out effectively to the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby distance.
To paraphrase three-time Kentucky Derby winner Kent Desormeaux, the difference between nine (1 1/8 miles) and 10 furlongs for some horses is akin to crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
I expect Awesome Banner to handle his first attempt at two turns Saturday; the key will be whether Zulu or Awesome Speed sacrifice their own chances to apply pressure upon the speed of the speed.
Three for three overall, Awesome Banner exits a pair of impressive wins sprinting in the Swale (G2) and Hutcheson (G3) at Gulfstream and if his Fountain of Youth rivals allow him a breather on the front end, the Stanley Gold-trained colt could be gone by the time the field reaches the short stretch drive at the 1 1/16-mile distance.
Compete for 2 Million Bonus Points on Saturday’s spectacular Fountain of Youth card at Gulfstream Park. Complete Details: http://www.twinspires.com/2-million-points-fountain-youth-betting-contest