By Dick Downey
The Downey Profile
The gate opened, and Ete Indien and Florent Geroux, as the old saying goes, went to the lead and increased their advantage.
In the end, it was all Ete Indien as he won the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes by 8 1/2 lengths. Of the three horses that were in closest touch with the winner going into the far turn, only As Seen on Tv was around at the finish, but Candy Tycoon edged him for second by a neck. Shotski, who was third leaving the far turn, was a head back in fourth. Country Grammer, who broke very poorly and was ninth of 11 runners at the first call, finished another neck back in fifth.
They were followed by Masterday, The Falcon, Gear Jockey, Liam’s Lucky Charm and Dennis’ Moment, the 6-5 post-time favorite. Chance It and Makabim were scratched.
Chance It's connections didn't like his outside post. They will show up for the Tampa Bay Derby next Saturday if things go according to plan, where they'll face Ete Indien's stable mate, Sole Volante, winner of the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa.
According to a tweet by DRF's Mike Welsch, Dennis' Moment's jockey, Flavien Prat, told trainer Dale Romans that the colt grabbed a quarter during the race. Romans said he was going to the barn to take a look.
Ete Indien set inital fractions of 23.14, 46.72 and 1:11.30 before hitting the finish line in 1:43.02 in the 74th running of the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth.
The winner, who was on our Looking Good list before this race, is by Summer Front out of East India, by Mizzen Mast, and was bred in Kentucky by Robert B. Tillyer and Eric Buckley.
He's trained by Patrick Biancone and is owned by Linda Shanahan, Sanford Bacon, Dream With Me Stable, Inc., Horse France America, D P Racing LLC and Patrick L. Biancone Racing LLC, so the winner's circle was full.
Kentucky Derby points: 50 to Ete Indien, 20 to Candy Tycoon, 10 to As Seen on Tv and 5 to Shotski.
Ete Indien paid $8.60 to win, $4.40 to place and $3.00 to show off an 8-1 morning line. Candy Tycoon paid $16.40 to place and $7.60 to show. As Seen on Tv paid $3.20 to show.
Biancone said that if Ete Indien is in good shape during the next few days, he will be pointed to the Florida Derby.
Winning trainer Patrick Biancone: “We have been through a week of hiccups. First we lose our jockey (Luca Panici, to injury) and second we draw (outside), but good horses can overcome everything, and I think he’s an exceptional horse. We look forward to the future. I want to see how he comes back, how he works the next time. He’ll need to improve a little bit to be able to win the Florida Derby. We’re here in Florida, he’s training in Florida and we love Florida. I think we’ll take a shot if he’s in good form.”
Winning jockey Florent Geroux: “The horse needs to cooperate, especially in the first turn. This is when you need to focus on the start and how you’ll take the first turn. As soon as I secured a spot, I just put the horse on cruise control and the horse was nice and easy, started flopping his head and took a nice breather. When he got into a rhythm, he just felt very good. He wanted to get out at first when he saw the lights, but he’s very professional. I didn’t think he was that quick, to be honest. I didn’t think he had this kind of speed, which gives us way more options in the future.
Patrick flew me over earlier this week to get a good feel for him and breeze him nice and easy, so it was very important for me to get a good feeling on him before the race. I really loved him when I breezed him, I was very excited and looking forward to today. I’m feeling very bad and sorry for the jockey who used to ride this horse, Luca Panici. I know it’s part of the game. I’ve been injured before, and people rode my horses, that’s how it goes.
"A little concerned with the post today. It’s not the best post when you have this kind of disadvantage. When the horse broke really sharp from the gate, the race was pretty much over.”
Trainer Dale Romans (Dennis’ Moment, last): “I just hope he’s all right. We’l take him back and check him out. That wasn’t what I was expecting. When he didn’t get to the lead early, I was concerned.”
Jockey Flavien Prat (Dennis’ Moment, last): “He bobbled out of the gate but then after that he regrouped, and I thought I was in a good spot. When I hit the five-eighths pole, he just dropped the bit and after that I was done. After that, there was no reason to beat him up. He didn’t want to go.”
Jockey Paco Lopez (As Seen On Tv, third): “He didn’t really like dirt in his face too much and I had to use him too much early. He tried very hard.”
Jockey Javier Castellano (Country Grammer, fifth): “It was pretty rough out of the gate. The horse stumbled a little bit and the other inside horses squeezed a little bit out of the gate. But he’s a young horse and still developing. He never had dirt hit him in the face but he came running. Unfortunately, it was too late.”
Jockey Marcos Meneses (The Falcon, seventh): “He’s amazing. He ran a big race. It was a tough race, but he tried. He’s an amazing horse. I think in the future he’ll be a better horse.”