Gulfstream Park Racing Secretary Dan Bork has released nominations to five graded stakes to be run over the Feb. 25-26 weekend with highlights including a meeting of leading Kentucky Derby (G1) hopefuls Union Rags and Algorithms in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and 2011 Eclipse champion 3-year-old filly Royal Delta and 5-year-old mare Awesome Maria in the $100,000 Sabin Stakes (G3).
The Fountain of Youth, to be run that Sunday at 1 1/16 miles, is coming up very strong with Chadds Ford Stable's Champagne Stakes (G1) hero and Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) runner-up Union Rags set to face off against Starlight Racing's Holy Bull Stakes (G3) winner Algorithms in a race that will point out leading contenders for the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) here on March 31.
Trained by Michael Matz, Union Rags was the solid favorite for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile after the son of Dixie Union was an impressive winner of his first three starts. He ran greenly in the stretch in the Breeders' Cup, however, and lost a head decision to front-running Hansen. He makes his 3-year-old debut in the 68th running of the Fountain of Youth.
Algorithms is the current leader in an arsenal of Derby prospects this season trained by Todd Pletcher, and remained undefeated in three career starts with a stunning five-length victory in the one-mile Holy Bull Stakes (G3) here on Jan. 29 under regular rider Javier Castellano. The son of Bernardini won his debut at Belmont Park in June by 5 ¾ lengths and an allowance race here on Dec. 16.
Pletcher has indicated he also plans to run E. Paul Robsham Stable's Florida homebred Discreet Dancer in the Fountain of Youth as well, and he has established a following of his own with a pair of brilliant victories at the meet to begin his career. He won his debut by 9 ¾ lengths on Dec. 3 and a one-mile allowance by 5 ¼ lengths on Jan. 7. The son of Discreet Cat set a track record for 5 ½ furlongs in his debut.
Also to be run on Sunday's Fountain of Youth card will be the $150,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) for 4-year-olds and up at 1 3/8 miles on turf. Prominent among the nominees are Phipps Stable's Boisterous, Stella Perdomo's Musketier, Augustin Stable's Smart Bid and Alex and Joanne Lieblong's Telling.
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