|The Fountain of Youth Stakes
is run at the beginning of March each year at Gulfstream Park in
Hallandale Beach, Florida, and is considered an important U.S. prep race
for the prestigious Kentucky Derby. The Fountain of Youth Stakes is a Gr
2 event contended over 1 1/8 miles on dirt for three-year-old
It is also the last stakes prep race before the Florida Derby, which is
held at the end of March or beginning of April also at Gulfstream Park.
Inaugurated in 1945, the Fountain of Youth Stakes was run at a multitude
of distances until it was set at 1 1/16 miles in 1953. However, since
2005 it has been run at 1 1/8 miles.
With its generous purse (currently $350,000), the Fountain of Youth
Stakes has always attracted top Florida 3-year-olds which is probably
why so many of its winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby. These
include Tim Tam in 1958, Kauai King in 1966, Spectacular Bid in 1979 and
Thunder Gulch in 1995.
Proud Truth, winner of the Fountain of Youth Stakes in 1985, went on to
win the Florida Derby, the Peter Pan Stakes, the Discovery Handicap and
the Breeders' Cup Classic that same year, while Bet Twice, who won the
Fountain Youth Stakes in 1987, went on to win the auspicious Belmont
Stakes later that same year.
The fastest runners in the Fountain of Youth are First Samurai who set a
record time over 1 1/8 miles of 1:49.00 in 2006 and Sensitive Prince who
set a record time over 1 1/16 miles of 1.41.00 in 1978. Since 1987,
Jerry D. Bailey is the only jockey with 3 Fountain of Youth? wins to his
name - in 1998, 2004 and 2005.