Dennis’ Moment did everything right twice last year, breaking his maiden by a 19 1/4-length margin and posting a convincing win in the Iroquois (G3), but misfortune struck in a pair of starts as he clipped heels in his career debut and stumbled out of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) starting gate as the 4-5 favorite. Unraced since early November, the well-regarded colt will look to confirm himself as a serious Kentucky Derby contender when he returns to action in Saturday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Installed as the 2-1 favorite among 12 runners, the Dale Romans-trained Dennis’ Moment will get a substitute jockey in Flavien Prat due to Irad Ortiz Jr. being in Saudi Arabia to ride. The 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth will award points on a 50-20-10-5 scale to the top four finishers as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series.
A $400,000 2-year-old in training purchase, Dennis’ Moment is by two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow. His dam is by Elusive Quality, sire of 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones, and Dennis’ Moment has been backed in both Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools, bet down as the 12-1 second favorite among individual interests in Pool 1 and the 10-1 third choice in Pool 2. He drew well in post 5 Saturday.
Chance It comes next at 7-2 on the morning line following a game head score in the Jan. 4 Mucho Macho Man. He was flattered when third-placer Sole Volate came back to capture the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs next out, and the Florida-bred son of Currency Swap appears to be training forwardly for his first graded attempt with a recent bullet drill over the track. Chance It has registered excellent Brisnet Speed ratings in his last three starts (103-102-103), and won his lone two-turn try by open lengths, but the front-running colt must overcome the extreme outside post with Tyler Gaffalione.
Ete Indien merits respect after finishing a clear second to Tiz the Law in the Feb. 1 Holy Bull (G3), netting a field-best 104 Brisnet Speed number, and he’s really come on for Patrick Biancone after switching from turf to dirt two starts ago. However, the Summer Front colt likes to be forward (triple-digit E1 Pace ratings) and drew poorly in post 11 with a short run to the first turn. Florent Geroux picks up the mount.
As Seen On Tv will try two turns after a head second in the Mucho Macho Man. Paco Lopez guides the Florida-bred son of Lookin at Lucky, and As Seen on Tv will likely look to settle just off the speed from post 6. Kelly Breen trains the early 9-2 third choice. Shotski invades from his Maryland base for Jeremiah O’Dwyer. An upset winner of the Remsen (G2) two back, the front-running son of Blame weakened to second after dueling on the lead in the Feb. 1 Withers (G3) at Aqueduct. Shotski figures to add to pace with new pilot John Velazquez.
Country Grammer and Candy Tycoon will jump to stakes competition off convincing maiden wins for Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher, respectively. Fourth when debuting on turf, Country Grammer graduated stylishly when switching to dirt in a 1 1/8-mile test at Aqueduct in mid-November, and the son of Tonalist adds the services of Javier Castellano. Candy Tycoon earned his first win by four-length margin when stretching out to two turns at Gulfstream on Jan. 25, and the Twirling Candy colt drew well at the rail with new rider Manny Franco. Both sophomores are 15-1 on the morning line.
Gulfstream will offer a pair of additional graded events for 3-year-olds on the undercard of the 14-race program.
In the $150,000 Palm Beach (G3), Vitalogy will make his first start since finishing a neck second as the favorite in Bourbon (G3) at Keeneland last October. Brendan Walsh trains the English-bred son of No Nay Never, and Castellano will be back aboard. Vitalogy drew the far outside among 12 runners in the 1 1/16-mile turf affair.
Other contenders include Bee Catcher, Fancy Liquor, Fenwick Station, Life on Top, South Bend, and Tiesto.
Multiple stakes winner Shivaree, second to Mischevious Alex in the Feb. 1 Swale (G3), heads a seven-horse field in the $100,000 Hutcheson at 6-furlongs on the main track.