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Fountain Of Youth Stakes Odds & Preview: Can Emmanuel Go Wire-to-Wire Again?

Dave F.

by Dave F. in Horse Racing

Mar 4, 2022 · 7:30 AM PST

Fountain of Youth Stakes
Three race tracks at Gulfstream Park are shown, dirt, foreground, Tapeta, center, and turf, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, in Hallandale Beach, Fla. Gulfstream's new racing surface made its debut Thursday, and with that the South Florida track becomes the first in the U.S. that will offer races on traditional dirt and turf courses as well as an all-weather synthetic option. The new track surface is called Tapeta, a blend of fine sand and wax-covered rubber fibers. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
  • Saturday’s Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park is a major prep on the Road to the Kentucky Derby
  • Emmanuel is the only unbeaten horse among the 12 entries
  • Can we find any betting value Saturday in Hallandale Beach, FL?

The Kentucky Derby is two months away. This is a huge weekend on the Road to the Triple Crown, with prep races taking place around the country. The Fountain of Youth Stakes has produced 13 Derby winners, but none since Orb in 2013. With the scratch of Mo Donegal after he spiked a fever, unbeaten Emmanuel is the favorite.

While you should always be up-to-date on Kentucky Derby betting trends, the prep races leading up to the first Saturday in May are about learning who is a legitimate contender, and who are pretenders.

Let’s look carefully at the full field and consider where there might be betting value.

2022 Fountain of Youth Stakes Odds

Horse Odds
Emmanuel +220
Simplification +330
Rattle N Roll +675
In Due Time +800
Dean Delivers +800
Howling Time +1200
Galt +1400
High Oak +1400
A.P.’s Secret +1400
Giant Game +1800
O Captain +4000
Markhamian +4000

Odds as of March 3

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The Fountain of Youth offers 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner while allocating 20 to the second-place horse, 10 to the third-place finisher, and five for the entrant who is fourth. The horses that win these points will likely see their Kentucky Derby odds fluctuate.

The dozen contenders will go a-mile-and-a-sixteenth on the dirt course with a purse of $400,000 on the line. Weather Saturday in south Florida is slated to be in the high 70s without any rain. Post time is scheduled for 5:42 pm EST. CNBC has television coverage.

With Mo Donegal out of the race, it is possible that Emmanuel will get hammered at the betting window. That could offer an opportunity to take advantage of how pari-mutuel wagering works. If Emmanuel takes a ton of dough, necessarily other horses will present value

How Good Is Emmanuel?

Trainer Todd Pletcher has won this race three times. Emmanuel is a $350,000 son of More Than Ready who has not trailed in two races. His win as a big favorite last time out in an optional claiming race at Tampa Bay Downs was visually very impressive.

The Fountain of Youth will provide the stiffest competition to date for Emmanuel by a large margin. While he may fair well against better horses, it is unclear how he’ll perform with a likely hotter pace and running further.

Could Simplifcation Be Coming Off A “Good” Loss?

A month ago Simplification was among the favorites in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes following his incredibly impressive victory in a stakes race on January 1 at Gulfstream Park.

Simplification was unable to back up that easy score with another victory, but he ran second in his first try against graded stakes foes and has a very reasonable excuse. He got out of the gate poorly. He threw his head at the start of the race, and that put him in an uncomfortable position. Interestingly, he responded to being behind, and now the connections know he doesn’t need to get involved in the likely speed battle up front. He can settle and try to pounce down the lane. Simplification has two wins in five starts and is working out very impressively.

What About A Horse ThaT Can Pay A Decent Price?

Rattle N Roll, High Oak, and Howling Time are making their 2022 debuts. Horses tend to improve significantly between age two and three.

Rattle N Roll needed three races to break his maiden, but responded last time out in his graded stakes debut.

High Oak won at first asking in June, and returned at +1020 to impressively take a graded stakes event at Saratoga.

High Oak finished fourth in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes in September and has been off since then.

Howling Time may not have gotten the best ride last time out in a Grade 2 event at Churchill Downs. He finished fifth in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

The Jockey Club has proven to be a big-time race. Three horses have returned to win key Derby preps. Could Howling Time be the fourth one?

Fountain of Youth Stakes Best Bet

When horses at big prices have a legitimate chance to win they are worth considering in many different betting pools. There are several of them in this event, and that means finding one to play on the nose and maybe using others in different ways. Howling Time is a good price and didn’t need to be on the lead last time. He should sit off the pace on Saturday and might be facing a less established group than he competed with in November. Rattle N Roll and High Oak could be worth using in some way too.

Pick: Howling Time (+1200)

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