“Bad call…the horse ran great, we just don’t get credit for it.” – Rick Violette, trainer of Upstart, who was disqualified from first to second in the Fountain of Youth Stakes.
Week 6 of the Road to Kentucky contest continued at Fair Grounds with a 12-race card, including the featured Risen Star. The Fountain of Youth Stakes from Gulfstream Park was an added bonus race. As the quote above suggests, it was a controversial Fountain of Youth Stakes this year, as favored Upstart crossed the wire in front but was disqualified and placed second for interference against Itsaknockout (5-1).
Because Upstart won the race by nearly three lengths, most observers on Twitter that crossed my timeline seemed to disagree with the stewards’ decision to disqualify Upstart from first to second for interference in the stretch. To these eyes, it seems unlikely that any interference that occurred cost Itsaknockout a better placing. But it was a good result for contest players who selected the Pletcher-trained colt in the contest, as they received 436 points for the 5-1 winner.
Points were in abundance this week as the maximum score was 4,294 points. There were two longshot winners over 20-1 this week, including Street Babe in Race 8 who was the winner of the Grade III Mineshaft Handicap. He was by far the most lightly raced horse in the field making only his third career start for trainer Michael Dilger. Street Babe had a strong pedigree as he was by Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense. Interestingly enough, the grandsire on the dam side was Richman who finished second in the 1991 St. Paul Derby at Canterbury Downs. Congratulations if you selected Street Babe in the contest! The other longshot winner was Ahh Chocolate, a 24-1 maiden special weight winner in Race 6. Trained by Neil Howard, Ahh Chocolate was sired by Candy Ride and showed a series of above average workouts for his debut. His Morning Line was 8-1 but he drifted to 24-1 at post time!
I wasn’t able to find either of those longshots and had a tough contest day. I just missed with a 32-1 shot in Race 3 as Belomor came up ½ length short in a runner-up effort. In the featured Risen Star, my selection of St. Joe Bay (29-1) led into the stretch but faded grudgingly to finish a close 4th, beaten 3 lengths for all the money. My Fountain of Youth selection was Juan and Bina (15-1) and he was not a threat after finishing 4th in the Holy Bull Stakes at 80-1 odds. I was hoping for a move forward but didn’t get it.
I’m expecting a winning score in the 2,300 point range this week. It was a good week to move up the leaderboard with all the available scoring!
This Saturday the contest moves to Turfway Park for the featured John Battaglia Memorial Stakes and a bevy of polytrack claiming races. Note a later post time of 5:00 p.m. Hope to see you here!