Todd Pletcher: saddles 14-1 Derby hope Violence at Gulfstream ParkPICTURE: Getty
Violence faces Fountain of Youth examination
Preview: USA, Saturday 10.35pm GMT
Gulfstream Park: Fountain of Youth Stakes (Grade 2) 1m½f, dirt, 3yo
LEADING Kentucky Derby contender Violence (Todd Pletcher/Javier Castellano) bids to take his unbeaten record to four on his seasonal debut in the Fountain of Youth, Gulfstream's major prep race for next month's Florida Derby.
Already a Grade 1 winner in the CashCall Futurity in December, the son of Medaglia d'Oro is drawn three in a double-figure field for Saturday's $400,000 contest, where rivals are headed by Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up He's Had Enough (Doug O'Neill/Mario Gutierrez) and Grade 3 winner Falling Sky (John Terranova/Jose Espinoza).
Violence, 14-1 for Kentucky with British bookmakers, is just one of several horses trainer by Todd Pletcher towards the top end of the Kentucky Derby ante-post market alongside Breeders' Cup winner Shanghai Bobby and flashy Gulfstream scorer Verrazano.
"Violence has done really well so far and everything has gone according to plan while we've focused on getting him ready for the Fountain of Youth," said Pletcher. "The main thing in choosing to run him in the CashCall was the timing and the fact that Hollywood, although it is a synthetic track, plays more like dirt than any of the other synthetics."
Fountain of Youth
Ladbrokes: 6-4 Violence, 6 Majestic Hussar, 7 Cerro, Orb, 8 Falling Sky, He's Had Enough, 16 bar
Also on Saturday
Fair Grounds: Risen Star Stakes (Grade 2) 1m½f, dirt, 3yo (10.57pm GMT)
Another $400,000 contest on the road to the Kentucky Derby. Oxbow (D Wayne Lukas/Jon Court) comes in off a runaway Grade 3 victory at this venue, while Gary Stevens jets in from California to ride Proud Strike (Steve Asmussen) after graded wins on each of the last two weekends.
It wouldn't be a Derby trial without Todd Pletcher, who has won this in two of the last three seasons. He runs Palice Malice (Rosie Napravnik), who will like going around two turns for the first time.
Normandy Invasion (Chad Brown/Jose Lezcano) also has his supporters with Churchill Downs in mind after just getting touched off in the Grade 2 Remsen last term.
Ladbrokes: 9-4 Normandy Invasion, 5 Oxbow, Palace Malice, 8 Code West, Mylute, 10 bar