Hallandale Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - A sizable field of 13 3-year-olds will start Saturday in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The 1 1/16-mile race is a prep for the Florida Derby coming up on Saturday, March 29.
Part of the Kentucky Derby points system, winning the Fountain of Youth is worth 50 points toward a place in the Run for the Roses on May 3.
Making his stakes debut Saturday is highly regarded colt Top Billing. Owned by breeders William S. Farish and E. J. Hudson Jr., Top Billing will start from post 12 with his regular jockey Joel Rosario. The colt's trainer, Shug MaGaughey, won last year's Fountain of Youth with Orb who went on to capture both the Florida and Kentucky Derbies.
Top Billing is coming off an impressive win at Gulfstream on Jan. 25 when he circled the field to post a 2 3/4-length victory. He won his debut race at Laurel Park last December and finished second on Jan. 3 at Gulfstream, a neck behind Commissioner.
"I think he is going in the right direction," McGaughey said. "I think he's doing good, he looks good, and everything's in order."
Trainer Todd Pletcher has two colts entered in the Fountain of Youth, Commissioner and We Miss Artie. The 3-year-olds will start from the two inside posts with Commissioner on the rail.
Commissioner, owned by WinStar Farm, regains the services of Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. The colt was second in his initial career start and has won his last two races, including his maiden victory with Velazquez last August.
"I think he's progressed a lot from the summer," Pletcher said. "He's an A.P. Indy, and you don't necessarily anticipate those horses being July 2-year- olds. He was able to break his maiden at Saratoga, and he's a horse that we've always felt would improve at longer distances."
We Miss Artie, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, will be making his seventh career start with $327,000 in earnings.
After breaking his maiden in his second start, the colt was sixth in the With Anticipation Stakes on the grass at Saratoga on Aug. 29. He followed by winning the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last October and finishing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. We Miss Artie was second in his most recent start, the Kitten's Joy Stakes at Gulfstream on the turf last month.
Here is the Fountain of Youth field from the rail out: Commissioner, John Velazquez; We Miss Artie, Joe Bravo; Medal Count, Joe Rocco Jr.; Wildcat Red, Luis Saez; General a Rod, Javier Castellano; Casiguapo, Jose Lezcano; C. Zee, Edgard Zayas; Almost Famous, Calvin Borel; Best Plan Yet, Paco Lopez; Our Caravan, Corey Lanerie; Hesinfront, Abdiel Jaen; Top Billing, Joel Rosario and East Hall, Juan Leyva.
The Fountain of Youth has an approximate post-time of 5:33 p.m. ET.