Undefeated “TDN Rising Star” Zulu (Bernardini), Mucho Macho Man S. winner Awesome Speed (Awesome Again) and fellow “TDN Rising Star” Cherry Wine (Paddy O’Prado) all breezed in Florida Sunday morning in preparation for Gulfstream’s GII Fountain of Youth S. Feb. 27.
Owned by Stonestreet Stables, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, Zulu worked a half-mile in :48.21 (4/19) at trainer Todd Pletcher’s Palm Beach Downs base.
“It went very well,” Pletcher remarked. “He went in 48-and-1. He breezed by himself with John Velazquez aboard. He got into a nice comfortable rhythm and clicked off 12s around there all the way around. He looked good and galloped out well. I’m very happy with it. All is on schedule.”
A debut winner sprinting over this strip Dec. 5, Zulu romped by 7 1/4 lengths in a seven-furlong optional claimer here Jan. 15. The bay makes his first attempt around two turns in Saturday’s test, where he will face a strong field that includes undefeated GII Holy Bull S. winner Mohaymen (Tapit).
“We certainly could have opted for an easier spot and shipped out of town somewhere,” said Pletcher, who won last year’s renewal with Itsaknockout (Lemon Drop Kid) via DQ. “We just felt like he’s two-for-two at Gulfstream. It’s nice to keep him on a consistent path where he’s familiar with where he’s running. We know he likes the surface, but it’s obviously a tall order.”
Also set to line up for the Fountain of Youth is Colts Neck Stables’ Awesome Speed, who fired a best-of-45 half-mile bullet in :48.30 at Palm Meadows.
“He went great,” said trainer Alan Goldberg, who flew in from his New Jersey base to supervise the work. “He got off in :13, went :48 and one or two, galloped out in a minute and change, and galloped out three-quarters in 1:14. He came back fine and not blowing. Everything is all good. We’re ready.”
Failing to fire when seventh in his career bow sprinting at Parx Aug. 31, Awesome Speed earned his diploma next out with a decisive victory at Laurel Oct. 10 and followed suit with a win in that venue’s James F. Lewis III S. next out Nov. 14. The dark bay was last seen winning the Mucho Macho Man S. going Gulfstream’s one-turn mile Jan. 2.
Frank Jones, Jr. and William Pacella’s Cherry Wine also breezed Sunday for the Fountain of Youth, covering five furlongs in 1:00.11 (2/21) at Gulfstream Park.
The Dale Romans trainee took a few starts to figure things out, but put it all together ina big way with a 9 1/4-length romp in a sloppy 1 1/16-mile off-the-turfer at Churchill Nov. 28. The gray earned “TDN Rising Star” status last out when unleashing a powerful late rally to score by six lengths in a track-and-trip optional claimer Jan. 9.