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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Pletcher Pleased with New FOY Distance


In the aftermath of the Grade II Fountain of Youth, Todd Pletcher will have at least one fewer undefeated 3-year-old colt in his stable -- barring a dead-heat.

Both Algorithms and Discreet Dancer will be making their first starts at two turns, and Pletcher isn't really happy that they'll be going against each other. Starlight Racing owns Alorithms, and E. Paul Robsham Stable has Discreet Dancer.

“I don’t like running two horses against each other ever, especially two very talented colts that are undefeated. One of them is going to have a loss after this race, and you hate that,” said Pletcher, who’s clicking at a win-rate approaching 40 percent at the currrent Gulfstream Park meeting.

“But at the same time, I think it’s best for each horse’s development. That’s mainly where our focus is, not so much just about this weekend, but hopefully moving forward, as well,” Pletcher said.

Both Algorithms and Discreet Dancer have won twice at the current Gulfstream meeting by a combined 21 1/4 lengths, creating considerable buzz. Neither has run beyond a mile -- or two turns -- which makes the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth a crucial step on the Road to the Derby for both. Not to mention the graded earnings that are available.

The Fountain of Youth has been shortened from 1 1/8 mile -- its distance since the track was rebuilt a few years ago. Gulfstream management installed a second-finish line, similar to the ones that Keeneland has, to allow for the new distance.

“It gives you that extra option that you want with a young 3-year-old,” Pletcher said. “I’d rather not push out to a mile-and-an-eighth just yet, so I think it’s been a very favorable change.”

Algorithms is the more experienced of the two Pletcher colts. The son of Bernardini debuted on June 3 at Belmont Park with a 5 3/4-length victory at five furlongs. On Dec. 16, the Kentucky-bred colt stretched out to 6 1/2 furlongs for his second start, and he closed from off the pace to win by a length in a Gulfstream allowance race.  His five-length win in the Grade III Holy Bull was next.

Discreet Dancer was unraced until he debuted at 5 1/2 furlongs against Florida-bred maidens at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 3. He rolled to a track-record victory by 9 3/4 lengths. The son of Discreet Cat stretched out to one-mile without a problem a month later to win an entry-level allowance by 5 1/2 lengths. Pletcher said the 1 1/16-mile distance is a particularly attractive for Discreet Dancer.

“A colt like Discreet Dancer, making only his third lifetime start and having run 5 1/2 and a mile, it’s great,” Pletcher said. “If this race were a mile-and-an-eighth, we probably wouldn’t be doing that. For a horse like that, it’s really important. He’d be one example of staying home when we might have looked for another option for a different distance."

“I think (the new distance has) worked out really well. I was concerned a little bit with the configuration that might present some unfair advantages to the horses drawn inside,” he said. “I haven’t looked at it statistically real closely but I have not noticed it being a real issue. I know I just won a race from Post 9, so I think it’s been great.”

--Edited Gulfstream Park release

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