Saturday, March 5, 2022
HALLANDALE BEACH - Tami Bobo’s Simplification circled the field on the turn into the homestretch and drew away in the stretch to capture the $400,000, Gr. II Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park, stamping himself as a serious contender for the 2022 Triple Crown.
The 76th running of the Fountain of Youth was featured during the 1/ST promotion between Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita, which host 15 stakes (14 graded stakes) between them. The 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds served as a prep for the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby April 2 at Gulfstream.
There have been 14 winners of the Fountain of Youth who have gone on to win the Florida Derby. There have also been 14 Fountain of Youth victors who have gone on to capture the Kentucky Derby.
Simplification, who finished a courageous second behind highly regarded White Abarrio in the Feb. 5 Holy Bull following a troubled start, earned 50 qualifying points for this year’s Kentucky Derby with his first graded stakes win in his first race around two turns.
Simplification ($7) rated well off a fast early pace set by long shot Markhamian, who was chased by Dean Delivers and In Due Time along the backstretch in fractions of :23.77 and :48.27 seconds for a first half mile. As Dean Delivers took a tentative lead on the turn into the homestretch, Emmanuel, the 5-2 second betting choice who got away from the starting gate slowly and was forced to race extremely wide throughout the race, entered contention. However, neither were a match for Simplification, who made an impressive five-wide move on the final turn and swept to a decisive 3 ½-length victory under Jose Ortiz.
“For me I liked the trip," Sano said. "I talked to Jose this morning and said you don’t need to be in the front. The start was very important. If the horse has a good start and a safe trip, you won’t have a problem. I wanted him to stay outside. Our horse in front with the speed horses won’t have a chance. The horse responded to Jose. He said, ‘Go,’ and it was all good.”
Simplification raced 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.04 while narrowly favored at 5-2, providing Sano with his second Fountain of Youth success. Sano saddled Gunnevera for a victory in the tradition-rich stakes in 2017. “Five years ago here, we had No. 2 [with Gunnevera], and now we have No. 2 again. We repeat history,” Sano said.
Ortiz was riding Simplification, a son of Not This Time, for the first time but entered the Fountain of Youth with confidence in his mount. “I knew he was going to be tough," Ortiz said. "I worked him and Antonio had a lot of confidence in him. He broke well. He pulled me into the race. He put me there. At the three-eighths pole, I decided to go wide and follow Emmanuel and he was there for me.”
By taking the final turn widest of all, Simplification avoided a two-horse spill, in which High Oak fell in traffic approaching the stretch, unseating jockey Junior Alvarado. Galt subsequently fell avoiding his Bill Mott stablemate, also unseating jockey Joel Rosario. Both horses escaped injury and walked back to the barn while Rosario reported back soreness and Alvarado was taken to a nearby hospital to evaluate a sore ankle.
In Due Time, who dropped back after chasing the early pace, made a strong late run to finish second, a length ahead of O Captain, an 87-1 shot ridden by Javier Castellano. Emmanuel faded to fourth following his extremely wide trip.
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Simplification, who was winning for the third time in six career starts, was an impressive front-running winner of the one-turn mile Mucho Macho Man Jan. 1 at Gulfstream.
“When my horse broke bad last time I thought, ‘What a disaster.’ I learned that the horse can run in the front or from behind. He doesn’t have to be in the front,” Sano said. “The plan today for the race was that he didn’t need the front.”
Sano said Simplification would likely be pointed toward the Curlin Florida Derby.