The early favorite for the 2016 Run for the Roses, Mohaymen, attempts to extend his undefeated streak into Saturday’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream. This is the second stop along the south Florida path to the Kentucky Derby following the Holy Bull, which Mohaymen won in stylish fashion four weeks ago.
Mohaymen has drawn the outside post position in a compact field of six and faces fresh challenges from a trio of lightly raced foes, all coming into this race off winning streaks of their own. However, it must be noted that none of these three challengers has ever won—or even contested—a race around two turns, something Mohaymen has done twice.
Let’s go through the field:
#1, Fellowship (20/1): He is the lone closer in a race filled with speed and stalking types. While the Pace Projector is not forecasting a fast pace, there is sure to be speed coming from Zulu, Awesome Speed, and this one’s stablemate, Awesome Banner—if that one participates. Unlike many others in this race, Fellowship has already run two races around two turns over this course and distance, and they are arguably his two best performances. He put in a visually impressive last-to-first move to win the In Reality Stakes last October and, most recently, overcame a slow pace (color-coded blue in the running line) to get up for third in the Holy Bull behind Mohaymen and Greenpointcrusader. The 107 speed figure that he earned for that effort certainly puts him in the mix here, and he appears to have an excellent chance of making it into the trifecta again.
#2, Zulu (3/1): We don’t understand the hype around this horse as a legitimate Kentucky Derby prospect. He’s clearly quite fast, but there are some serious holes in his resume as he steps up to face the leader of the division:
- He has never encountered a fast track in the afternoon, having accomplished both of his blowout wins over wet surfaces.
- His pedigree, especially on the female side, suggests that he’s cut out to be a sprinter. His two most notable siblings were both stakes winners at six furlongs or less.
- He’s beaten up on far weaker competition than what he meets today. In numerical terms, his last race received a race rating of just 96, which pales in comparison to the 111 preliminary rating assigned to this race.
While he has run relatively competitive speed figures, it’s not as if they give him any edge over other rivals that are likely to go off at higher prices. We’ll let this one beat us.
#3, Golden Ray (30/1): He could show brief speed, but he’s yet to run a particularly fast race and appears to be overmatched at this level.
#4, Awesome Speed (4/1): While not as overtly brilliant as the other two primary challengers to Mohaymen, Awesome Speed nonetheless enters this race off three consecutive victories. While Zulu and Awesome Banner have yet to race beyond seven furlongs, this colt successfully stretched out to a mile last time in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes. His speed figures are a slight cut below some of the others, but one could argue that he’s better equipped to stretch out in distance, as a son of the long-winded Awesome Again.
#5, Awesome Banner (7/2): If this colt actually participates—something that his connections have called into doubt in recent days—he would have a major impact on this race. In terms of raw talent, this Florida-bred may be Mohaymen’s equal. In each of his three starts he has earned speed figures between 109 and 115, territory that only Mohaymen has traversed up until this point. He has never had a horse in front of him at any point in his races, so he is sure to be sent to the front as he stretches out in distance, complicating the tasks of Zulu and Awesome Speed, who break to his inside. The problem for Awesome Banner is that he must deal with those two challengers early while holding off the late speed of Mohaymen and perhaps even his stablemate, Fellowship. Awesome Banner may possess the ability to compete with those horses, but we doubt that he can get the job done over this distance, since his dam-side pedigree is strongly geared towards speed rather than stamina. He’d be somewhat interesting at odds of 4/1 or higher, but we doubt we’ll get such a price.
#6, Mohaymen (6/5): The current leader of this crop has everything in his favor today. He’s handled this course and distance, he’s drawn well outside of the other speeds, and he’s consistently earned some of the fastest speed figures in the race. Junior Alvarado rides this colt with a ton of confidence, and you have to imagine that they won’t be afraid to school him behind horses—something that he did not have much of an opportunity to do in the Holy Bull, which featured such a slow pace. We don’t have any knocks against him in this race, and we expect the beat to go on for the son of Tapit.
MOHAYMEN (#6) is a very likely winner of the Fountain of Youth. While we doubt he’ll be an attractive win price, there may be value in exactas and trifectas. As previously mentioned, we’re suspicious about the capacities of Zulu, Awesome Speed, and Awesome Banner to successfully negotiate the Fountain of Youth distance. Especially if all three participate, we believe that this race could fall apart in the late stages, opening up the bottom rungs of the exacta and trifecta to Fellowship (#1).
6 – 1
6 with 1 with 2,4,5
6 with 2,4,5 with 1