Undefeated Mohaymen Continues Winning Ways in Fountain of Youth
Undefeated Mohaymen Continues Winning Ways in Fountain of Youth: Shadwell Stable’s Mohaymen continued his impressive march toward the Triple Crown late Saturday afternoon, keeping his perfect record intact by defeating previously unbeaten Zulu and Awesome Banner in the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
The 70th running of the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth capped a spectacular day of racing that featured eight stakes, six of them graded, on a 13-race program and included victories by Cathryn Sophia in the $200,000 Davona Dale (G2), Catch a Glimpse in the $150,000 Herecomesthebride (G3), X Y Jet in the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) and Converge in the $150,000 Palm Beach (G3).
Sent off as the 2-5 favorite in a field of six 3-year-olds, Mohaymen ($2.80) avoided some early jostling on the first turn while racing on the outside, caught lightly raced Zulu approaching the stretch and drew off to win by 2 ¼ lengths in 1:42.84 over a fast main track.
Zulu, making his stakes debut in his third lifetime start, was a clear second four lengths ahead of Fellowship. Awesome Speed, Awesome Banner and 131-l long shot Golden Ray completed the order of finish.
“You just never know,” winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “Awesome Banner and Zulu were undefeated, but we faced them and we won and everything is great. There will be other ones going forward. We’re going to have to face a lot of them.”
Mohaymen has faced and defeated all challengers thus far, improving his record to 5-0 with his fourth consecutive graded stakes victory. He won the Nashua (G2) and Remsen (G2) to cap a juvenile season that saw him named a finalist for champion 2-year-old male, and kicked off his sophomore campaign with a 3 ½-length score in the Lambholm South Holy Bull (G2) Jan. 30 at Gulfstream.
“It’s special. It’s more nerve-wracking each race because we’re four-for-four going into today and you never know what’s going to happen going forward. He’s obviously a very talented colt. We just hope we don’t have any mishaps in a race like a horse bumping into him or something like that,” McLaughlin said. “He’s a special colt, very smart. You can see he’s not even blowing when he’s coming back. He just does things different.”
Breaking from outside post six under regular rider Junior Alvarado, Mohaymen found himself wider than anticipated when Golden Ray bore out on the clubhouse turn and forced Awesome Speed out as well, causing Alvarado to steer clear of trouble. They sat fifth behind pacesetting Awesome Banner through a quarter-mile in 23.52 seconds, but had moved up to third after a half in 47.07.
Alvarado kept Mohaymen in a clear path on the outside of Zulu, who tracked Awesome Banner before taking over the top spot after running six furlongs in 1:11.02. Mohaymen ranged up to launch his bid rounding the far turn and assumed the lead without resistance at the head of the stretch before sprinting clear.
“It wasn’t what I wanted [going into the first turn] but Thank God he ran his race,” Alvarado said. “I was a little wide, there was a little bumping and I didn’t want to strangle him ant take him back right away and give it easily to the other horses, but he settled nice for me. By the five-eighths pole he started to get into a nice rhythm, that gear, and he started pulling on me, asking for the next step. I just let him cruise around and he was doing it very nicely. I didn’t want to hold him back. He helps me all the time so I didn’t want to go against him.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher was pleased with the performance of Zulu, racing for the first time around two turns after winning his previous two starts at Gulfstream including a 9 ¼-length allowance victory at seven furlongs Jan. 15.
“I thought he ran super,” he said. “He put in a formidable effort against a very good horse. I was proud of his effort. He was second-best today.”
McLaughlin said the next target for Mohaymen will be the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) April 2 at Gulfstream, where he is expected to meet similarly undefeated Nyquist, the California-based champion 2-year-old male of 2015.
“We’re going to take one race at a time and we are looking at the Florida Derby in five weeks,” he said. “He’s a very talented horse and he keeps winning. We’re all happy. That’s all we can do.”
Source: Gulfstream Park