All it takes is one win.
That’s what the field will be chasing on Mar. 5 when the starting bell rings at the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The legendary race is part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series, with the winner earning enough qualification points to get into the starting gate at Churchill Downs.
Odds for the race are not available yet, but bettors can keep an eye on BetMGM’s horse racing app as the race approaches.
Though sports betting in Florida is illegal, placing bets on horse races in and outside of the state is not.
Why the Fountain of Youth Stakes matters
The Kentucky Derby Championship Series is a points-based series of races that lead up to the Kentucky Derby. Horses earn points by finishing first, second, third, or fourth. It typically takes about 30 points to qualify for the Derby.
The Fountain of Youth Stakes is a critical part of the Derby prep series because the winner earns 50 points, which all but guarantees a spot in the field. Second place earns 20 points, third gets 10, and fourth gets five.
The Fountain of Youth is one of three Derby prep races that take place at Gulfstream. The Holy Bull Stakes is the first of the three races. It took place on Feb. 5, with White Abarrio winning and earning 10 points.
The Fountain of Youth is the second race in the series, and the Florida Derby is the third and most significant race. It awards 100 points to the winner and 40 points to the second-place finisher.
Five horses have won the Fountain and the Derby
The Fountain of Youth Stakes first ran in 1945. Five horses have won both the Fountain of Youth and the Kentucky Derby:
- Tim Tam: 1958
- Kauai King: 1966
- Spectacular Bid: 1979
- Thunder Gulch: 1995
- Orb: 2013
Of the five double winners, Spectacular Bid and Thunder Gulch stand out as the two horses that won the Derby and a second Triple Crown race.
Spectacular Bid won the Derby and the Preakness Stakes in 1979 and went on to win the American Horse of the Year in 1980. The thoroughbred may have been a Triple Crown winner had he not hurt his foot before the Belmont Stakes and finished third.
Thunder Gulch won the Derby and the Belmont Stakes, but finished third at the Preakness, losing to stablemate Timber Country.
2021 winner never made it to the derby
Greatest Honour, the Courtlandt Farms horse trained by Claude R. McGaughey III, won the 2021 Fountain of Youth Stakes, beating out Drain the Clock and Papetu.
The colt then raced in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream and finished third behind Known Agenda and Soup and Sandwich.
At that point, Greatest Honour had enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. However, two weeks later the colt pulled out because of bone bruises to both ankles. He has not raced since.
The 2020 Fountain of Youth winner also did not run at Churchill Downs. Ete Indien finished third in that year’s Florida Derby and did not participate in the Triple Crown races.