The first of 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying races for the month of March began with Saturday’s running of the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park.
Some qualifying races are most important than others due to points awarded. The Fountain of Youth had 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points up for grabs to the winner, with 20 points going to second place, 10 points to third and five points to fourth.
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To earn a spot in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby starting gate in May, horses must qualify through a series of races at tracks across the globe.
Promises Fulfilled kept his longshot Kentucky Derby dreams alive by leading wire to wire in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes. The 18-1 horse trained by Dale Romans won by 2 1/4 lengths to give Irad Ortiz his fifth win on Saturday.
With a time of 1:44.17 in the 1 1/16-mile race, Promises Fulfilled out-ran both 7-2 Strike Power and 3-5 favorite Good Magic for a $38.40 pay day.
“He’s right up there,” said veteran horse owner Robert J. Baron’s when asked if Promises Fulfilled is the best horse he has ever owned. “I’ve never won the Fountain of Youth, I’ll tell you that much, and we’re on the Derby trail so it’s very exciting. This is the biggest win of my career. Been with Dale since 1997 or ’98. We’ve been together a long time. He’s like family.”
Next up on the Road to the Kentucky Derby is another 50-point qualifying race Gotham held at Aqueduct Saturday, March 10. The first major 100-point qualifying race will be held later this month at Fair Grounds with the 1 1/8-mile Louisiana Derby.
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