Ten Things You Should Know: Fountain of Youth
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
1) The Fountain of Youth Stakes is a race held at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. It is restricted to 3-year-olds and run at a distance of 1 1/16 miles. This year’s edition is part of the Kentucky Derby qualifying system with points being awarded to the top four finishers.
2) The race is a prep for Gulfstream Park’s premier race: the Florida Derby. The Florida Derby has been a major prep race for the Kentucky Derby since the 1950s.
3) The race was run for the first time in 1945. The distance varied until 1953, when it was set to 1 1/16 miles. The distance changed again in 2005, to 1 1/8, miles due to a change of track configuration at Gulfstream Park. In 2012, track management added a second finish line so the race could return to 1 1/16 miles.
4) A total of 14 colts have won the Fountain of Youth and the Florida Derby. Only four horses have swept those two races and the Kentucky Derby: Tim Tam (1958), Spectacular Bid (1979), Thunder Gulch (1995) and Orb (2013).
5) Union Rags, the 2012 winner of the Fountain of Youth, finished a disappointing seventh in the Kentucky Derby. He returned three five weeks later to win the Belmont Stakes in a thrilling stretch run.
6) The 2010 winner Eskendereya holds the stakes record for the race’s short history at a 1 1/8 miles. The 1 1/16 miles record was set by Sensitive Prince in 1978.
7) Gen. Duke, the 1957 winner of the Fountain of Youth, would go on to match the world record time for 1 1/8 miles in the Florida Derby. Gen. Duke was injured while finishing second in the Derby Trial, a week before the Kentucky Derby, and never raced again.
8) In 1958, Tim Tam was the first Fountain of Youth winner who would go on to win the Kentucky Derby. He also won that year’s Florida Derby and Preakness Stakes.
9) Jockey Jerry Bailey won the Fountain of Youth four times in three different decades. His winning mounts included: Naked Sky (1980), Lil’s Lad (1998), Read the Footnotes (2004), and High Fly (2005).
10) From 1957 to 1959, Jockey Bill Hartack won three straight editions of the Fountain of Youth. He rode the previously mentioned Gen. Duke. He rode the second place finisher in the 1957 Fountain of Youth (Iron Liege) to victory in the Kentucky Derby.