Tami Bobo’s Simplification circled the field on the turn into the homestretch and drew away in the stretch to capture Saturday’s $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park, stamping himself as a serious contender for the 2022 Triple Crown.
The 76th running of the Fountain of Youth was featured during the 1/ST Saturday promotion between Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita, which host 15 stakes (14 graded stakes) between them. The 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds served as a prep for the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G2) April 2 at Gulfstream.
A total of 14 winners of the Fountain of Youth have gone on to win the Florida Derby. There have also been 14 Fountain of Youth victors who have gone on to capture the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Simplification, who finished a courageous second behind highly regarded White Abarrio in the Feb. 5 Holy Bull (G3) following a troubled start, earned 50 qualifying points for this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) with his first graded-stakes win in his first race around two turns.
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Simplification ($7) rated well of a fast early pace set by long shot Markhamian, who was chased by Dean Delivers and In Due Time along the backstretch during fractions of 23.77 and 48.27 seconds for a first half mile. As Dean Delivers took a tentative lead on the turn into the homestretch, Emmanuel, the 5-2 second betting choice who got away from the starting gate slowly and was forced to race extremely wide throughout the race, entered contention. However, neither were a match for Simplification, who made an impressive five-wide move on the final turn and swept to a decisive 3 ½-length victory under Jose Ortiz.
Fountain of Youth Replay
“For me I liked the trip. I talked to Jose this morning and said you don’t need to be in the front. The start was very important. If the horse has a good start and a safe trip, you won’t have a problem,” Sano said. “I wanted him to stay outside. Our horse in front with the speed horses won’t have a chance. The horse responded to Jose. He said, ‘Go,’ and it was all good.”
Simplification ran 1 1/16-miles in 1:44.04 while narrowly favored at 5-2, providing Sano with his second Fountain of Youth success. Sano saddled Gunnevera for a victory in the tradition-rich stakes in 2017.
Forbidden Kingdom Wires San Felipe Field
Brilliant, stunningly brilliant. That best describes the Richard Mandella-trained Forbidden Kingdom, who in his first two turn assignment, showed six rivals nothing but four heels as he completely dominated Saturday’s Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita and thus stamped his ticket to both the Santa Anita and Kentucky Derbies. Ridden by Juan Hernandez, Forbidden Kingdom, a chestnut colt by American Pharoah, won by 5 ¾ lengths over the Bob Baffert-trained Doppelganger while getting a mile and one sixteenth in 1:43.98.
Breaking like a rocket from post position six, Forbidden Kingdom was immediately in charge and settled into a rhythmic stride up the backside as Hernandez sat motionless. With an eight-length advantage at the three furlong marker, Forbidden Kingdom prevailed by a similar margin turning for home over Doppelganger as the rest of the field struggled to keep up.
“I was anxious to see this race and see if he would get two turns,” said Mandella, who notched his third San Felipe win. “He looked even better. I was a little nervous when I saw the 45 (45.90) on the board for the first half. He just did what he likes to do. The next step is the Santa Anita Derby next month (Grade I, $$750,000 on April 9)…This guy is turning the corner and he’s grown up.”
San Felipe Replay
With legendary Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr. presenting the San Felipe trophy, a huge throng of owners with MyRacehorse reveled in the Winner’s Circle ceremony. A 2 ¼ length winner of the Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Jan. 29, Forbidden Kingdom was off as the even money favorite and paid $4.00, $2.40 and $2.20.
Owned as well by Spendthrift Farm, LLC, Forbidden Kingdom, a $300,000 purchase as a yearling, picked up $240,000 for the win, as well as 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. With total earnings of $434,000, Forbidden Kingdom, who picked up his second stakes win, is now 5-3-1-1.