This weekend’s 2018 Fountain of Youth Stakes is like a stick of dynamite – it’s small but packed with punch. The always threatening Free Drop Billy will attempt to score his first victory as a three-year-old after finishing second in the Holy Bull, while the promising Marconi will attempt to put a third place finish in the Withers behind him. Both will go after Good Magic who makes his long awaited 2018 debut on Gulfstream’s track.
Good Magic punished a half-mile during a drilling session last week in :48 and change, and that signalled that he is ready to compete. “He did perfect,” trainer Chad Brown exclaimed happily. “He’s been working great every week, today was more of the same. The horse seems ready to get back to racing.”
The 2018 Fountain of Youth Stakes is a precursor to the Florida Derby, which in itself serves as a contender maker for the Kentucky Derby. Brown made sure not to get ahead of himself as Good Magic’s sole victory is in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He finished second in his two races prior to that, including the Champagne Stakes. More wins would probably be more encouraging.
“He’s doing what you want to see 2 to 3,” Brown admitted. “He’s filled out physically some, and we’ll take a stronger horse this time around. I’m just taking one race at a time,” Brown said. “Right now, just focus on the Fountain of Youth and see how he runs.”
The 2018 Fountain of Youth Stakes runs Saturday, March 3rd at Gulfstream Park and will also feature Strike Power, Storm Runner and Belle Tapiserrie who are all coming off of victories. The dark horse is Promises Fulfilled, who hasn’t competed since the 2017 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes where he finished third. Good Magic will obviously start out as the favorite, and remains one of the leaders for the Kentucky Derby, but he still has a little bit to prove before we establish him as a contender. A lot is changing on the forefront of the Triple Crown and Good Magic needs to re-establish his place as the horse to beat like he did at Del Mar in the world championships.