HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. — Eskendereya took the lead entering the final turn and pulled away for an 8½ -length victory Saturday in the $250,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Eskendereya, ridden by John Velazquez and trained by Todd Pletcher, covered the 11⁄8 miles in 1:48.87 for his third victory in five starts.
"You've got to be excited when they perform like that in these kinds of races at this time of year," Pletcher said. "I was particularly pleased with the way he finished. I don't think we've ever gotten to the bottom of him."
Jackson Bend was second, followed by Aikenite in third another three-quarters of a length back. Race favorite Buddy's Saint was bumped going around the first turn and finished ninth in the 10-horse field.
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Pletcher said the Zayat Stable-owned Eskendereya would likely run March 20 in the $750,000 Florida Derby.
■ In another 3-year-old prep race at Gulfstream, D'Funnybone moved three-wide along the turn before driving away from six others to win the $150,000 Hutcheson by a length while covering 7 furlongs in 1:22.14. Trainer Richard Dutrow said D'Funnybone would likely be pointed toward the Florida Derby.
Discreetly Mine wires field
NEW ORLEANS — Discreetly Mine won the $300,000 Risen Star Stakes by a length on Saturday in the final prep for the Louisiana Derby. Todd Pletcher trains Discreetly Mine.
With 5-1 morning-line odds improving to 5-2 at the post, Discreetly Mine led from start to finish with Javier Castellano in the saddle, holding off Tempted to Tapit and 50-1 shot Northern Giant for the win at Fair Grounds.
Drosselmeyer, a 3-2 favorite, finished fourth. Ron the Greek, who started the day at 3-1, finished sixth, a disappointment after winning the Lecomte Stakes last week.
Conveyance tops Dublin
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Conveyance surged out to an early lead and never looked back to win the $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Saturday. Conveyance finished a length and three-quarters ahead of the second-place horse, the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Dublin.
The winner of the $100,000 San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita, Conveyance was to have had Garrett Gomez aboard for the race on President's Day. Gomez had another commitment so Martin Garcia was aboard the Bob Baffert-trained horse.
Connemara wins El Camino
Berkeley, Calif. — Jockey Russell Baze won the $150,000 El Camino Real Derby for the fifth time in six years when he guided 6-5 favorite Connemara from last to first in Saturday's race at Golden Gate Fields.
Connemara's 11/4-length victory over 25-1 shot Haimish Hy capped a big day for the Todd Pletcher stable.