July 14, 2024

Hidden Scroll faces seasoned opposition in Fountain of Youth

Hidden Scroll winning his racing debut at Gulfstream Park under jockey Joel Rosario on January 26, 2019 (c) Adam Coglianese Photography/Leslie Martin

Producing the most sensational display turned in by a three-year-old so far this winter in Florida when taking his debut by 14 lengths in the slop on January 26, Hidden Scroll will attempt to back up that performance and officially enter the Kentucky Derby (G1) picture on Saturday in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park.

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A homebred racing for Juddmonte Farms, the son of Hard Spun was a mild surprise at the mutuel windows when he won for fun at odds of 8-1.

“It was a surprise he won as easily as he did, but I think we were excited and high on him going into the race,” trainer Bill Mott said. “I don’t think it was any surprise to us that he won, but the way he won in the fashion that he won was a bit of a surprise and awesome, to put it mildly.”

Vekoma and Signalman both displayed potential long-term talent at two and make their season debuts here. Vekoma won both starts for trainer George Weaver, including the one-mile Nashua (G3) at Aqueduct, while Signalman prevailed in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs after placing in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).

“He’s a very talented horse and we need to find out whether we’ll be headed to the Derby,” Weaver said of Vekoma. “He’s a good colt. If he can get a mile and a sixteenth, we’ll take on a mile and an eighth and see how he does that.”

Saratoga debut winner Code of Honor looks to get back to better form after a disappointing fourth as an odds-on favorite in the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man in early January. The Champagne (G1) runner-up had to miss intended starts in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Remsen (G2).

“I thought maybe he needed the race,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “He’s never been a really big-statured horse, so I never trained him hard.”

Bourbon War, by Tapit, enters the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth with two wins in three starts. He won a track-and-distance allowance by more than two lengths on January 18 after running fourth in the Remsen. Meanwhile, Global Campaign makes his stakes debut for trainer Stan Hough after starting the season two-for-two by a combined margin of eight lengths.

Two Holy Bull (G2) alumni — 128-1 runner-up Everfast and fourth-placed pacesetter Epic Dreamer — are also among the field of 11.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby series prep offers qualifying points of 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers, virtually assuring the winner a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.