The road to Bluegrass glory travels through Florida this week in the G2 Fountain of Ute where 14 talented colts will face off to further their journey towards infamy. The race is highlighted by four horses who have already earned themselves graded honors in TARTON SQUIRT, YOUARENOTSOFUNNY, BEF, and COAGULATE HIDE. Fresh off his victory in the G3 Legoland, TARTON SQUIRT heads into today’s race as the 5-1 favorite. Its worth mentioning that anyone who’s been in or following along the Bluegrass trail has seen Given’s influence in just about every race. Given has essentially turned into the Todd Pletcher of derby preps, sending out multiple entries in just about every race thus far and today’s race is no different as he’ll be sending ONYX EXCHANGE, DWARVEN ARROWS, & DOORS CLOSING to the gate.
Fountain of Ute History Lesson
Before we meet the field lets delve into the history of the sim a bit. The last 5 years of the Fountain of Ute has had a hand in producing at least three Bluegrass hopefuls in YANKEE PHAROAH (2019), LAWERENCE DURRELL (2017), & AWESOME KINGMAMBO (2016). As you might expect before finding their way to Kentucky those three colts kept their talents in South Beach to give the Florida Derby a shot the following month. Only LAWERENCE DURRELL would obtain positive results finishing 2nd in the Florida Derby and ultimately solidifying his Bluegrass Derby bid. Despite not making any noise in the Florida Derby both YANKEE PHAROAH and AWESOME KINGMAMBO would go on to run in the Bluegrass as well. However, between the three horses none of them could muster a finish better than 10th in the first jewel of the Triple Crown. Furthermore, of the last five winners in the Fountain of Ute only one horse has gone on to win a graded race again. Who’s that horse you ask? None other than GANG RELATED (2015) who elected to skip the Bluegrass after finishing 4th in the Florida Derby. GANG RELATED would go on to win the G1 Ambien Shakes Handicap later that year. If the above wasn’t a good enough indicator of what exactly happens to winners after this race, try this on for size. The last 5 winners have gone a combined 1-34 in graded races since winning this race. You can’t even get a job volunteering as a recreational little league batting coach with a percentage like that! Needless to say the sim has not been kind to the winners of this race and we can only hope that today’s winner doesn’t suffer the same fate as the annals would suggest.
TARTON SQUIRT (MR SPEAKER x EL CORREDOR)
He’s a multiple G3 winner taking down the Cornstalk and opened up his 3 year old campaign with a win in the G3 Legoland where he ran a 106 speed fig. Most of his mare’s (SQUIRTER CB) progeny has done their best work at sprinting to 8.5F range. He’s looking to break through the genetic ceiling this week as he’ll test the waters at 9F.
ONYX EXCHANGE (CURLIN x DANZIG)
A scratch bred son of CURLIN who’s best run to date was in the G1 End of the Line Futurity where he’d finish 3rd by a length. He does own a listed victory at 8F as a two year old but distance may be a real question mark here. His first race as a 3 year old came in another listed where he led them around the track before needing a breather and finishing 7th by 4.
BEF (GOLD SHIP (JPN) x DROSSELMEYER)
He’s out of the 250K allowance winning mare KAN who did most of her damage as a sprinter. Her son has been fantastic as a two year old winning four out of five which includes the G3 Happy New Year. He makes his three year old debut in today’s race and should be a force in the early pace.
YOUARENOTSOFUNNY (GRAYDAR x DISTORTED HUMOR)
He may be finding his best stride at the right time. He threw in an inexplicable dud in the Pro Deed Dirt Juvenile as a two year old, but then bounced back with a win in the IHM Rockets Memorial Stakes (6F) and debuted as a three year old with a victory in the G3 Family of Dragons last month. He’s out of the mare COMARE who was competent at today’s distance leading me to believe he may be a force in this one.
COAGULATE HIDE (RUN AWAY AND HIDE x SYMBOLI KRIS S)
His only loss thus far was in the 5.5F maiden debut where he was a game 3rd. Since then he’s rattled off three in a row at 8.5F which includes a G3 victory in the Happy Boxing Day. He’s out of the graded placed mare KRIS MASS who did her best work sprinting which means he’s already broken the mold of sorts.
DOORS CLOSING (CANDY RIDE x FORTY NINER)
Winning the Get In Fast Stakes as a two year old has been his crowning achievement thus far. He gave G1 company a go in the Back Up Battle to round out his two year old season but finished 6th by 4 lengths. He then went on to start his three year old season with a 3rd place finish in the Long Bomber Dirt Mile stakes. He’ll get his chance to prove this weekend if he’s more than a miler.
DWARVEN ARROWS (ARROGATE x GIANT’S CAUSEWAY)
Out of the G2 turf winning mare GIANT’S DWARF, he’s been running true to his momma’s form finding the winners circle 4 times which includes a listed victory in the 8.5F Small Horse Challenge Stakes. On the flip side his last two performances have been very ugly finishing 10th in the G3 Sam’s Town Delta Jackpot and 4th by 9 lengths in the 9.5F Intergalactic Dirt Route.
FIERCELY FROSTED (FROSTED x DYNAFORMER)
The lightly raced scratch bred out of FROSTED has been very tough through 4 starts. His only hiccup came in his first start against winners where he finished 2nd by a length and a half. He ended his 2 year old campaign with a victory in the 8.5F Gulliver Dirt Juvenile stakes in which he earned a 98 speed fig. He’s heading into the first race of his three year old campaign coming off a two month layoff.
UNION JACKS (UNION RAGS x WILD AGAIN)
Scratch bred son of UNION RAGS who’s been very good at a mile, winning two of his three at the distance including a listed victory. His two year old season didn’t finish the way he’d hoped as he never left the gate in the G1 Movieland Futurity and finished 8th by 9 lengths in the G2 Ransom. It’s possible that with maturity and some rest he could find his way back to the winners circle.
RED HOLIDAY (DECORATED KNIGHT x HARLAN’S HOLIDAY)
Out of the turf heavy mare RED MOUNTAINS this guy started his career on the turf but didn’t take to it. You’d figure a grandson of GALILEO would enjoy the turf but he’s gone against the grain and found success winning a couple of sprints on the dirt as a two year old and debuted with a victory in the 9.5F Franco Invasion Dirt Route as a 3 year old. The only hang-up with him is he’s had two shots in graded as a two year old and finished 8th in the G2 Big Hill and 6th in the G3 Cryogenics.
WESTWARD WINDS (WEST COAST x UNBRIDLED)
His four wins have all come in sprints which include a victory in the 5.5F Alyoro Dirt Juvenile. He rounded out his 2 year old campaign with a 4th place finish in the G3 Nashua and a 3rd place in the G3 Happy Boxing Day. Despite most of his success coming in sprints it’s hard to argue against the improvement in each of his races.
FROSTED BALLS (FROSTED x SAINT BALLADO)
He’s another who’s had all of his success come in sprints with that defining moment coming in the 7F Deus Ex Dirt Juvenile. He’s run twice against G3 company and finished 2nd in the 7F Los Angeles Prevue and 11th in the 6F Happytime Stakes to close out his 2 year old season. He’s making his route and three year old debut in today’s G2 Fountain of Ute.
A SMOOTH MOVER (SPEIGHTSTOWN x NEW APPROACH (IRE))
Out of the 250K allowance winning mare SMOOTH APPROACH, he’s already outdone his momma earning the SP badge by finishing 2nd in the Mr. Personality Dirt Juvenile. He opened up his three year old season with a victory in a 9F allowance race against a four horse field. His lone graded performance to date was in the 8.5F Sam’s Town Delta Jackpot where he finished 4th by 4.5 lengths.
FROCKED (DISTORTED HUMOR x PULPIT)
First two starts of his career he went 2-2 taking down both 7F races. Since then this scratch bred son of DISTORTED HUMOR hasn’t won a race. He did manage to earn SP honors finishing 2nd in the Long Bomber Dirt Mile as a 3 year old. Maybe he’s starting to turn the corner.
1. ONYX EXCHANGE
2. TARTON SQUIRT
3. WESTWARD WINDS