Hallandale Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Hutcheson Stakes winner Wildcat Red got the head bob at the wire over General a Rod to win Saturday's $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Part of the Kentucky Derby points system, Wildcat Red earned 50 points in winning the Fountain of Youth toward a place in the Run for the Roses on May 3. The 1 1/16-mile stakes is also a prep for Gulfstream's Florida Derby on March 29.
Ridden by Luis Saez, Wildcat Red, the 9-2 fourth selection, dueled for the lead with 3-1 second choice General a Rod and jockey Javier Castellano. Trailing the 12-horse field was 2-1 favorite Top Billing with 7-2 third pick Commissioner in the middle of the pack.
The top two runners continued on the lead around the final turn as Top Billing and jockey Joel Rosario began to rally from the outside. Wildcat Red and General a Rod were alone on the lead down the stretch as Top Billing took over third-place.
The two leaders battled through the stretch with Wildcat Red getting his nose on the wire first over General a Rod. Top Billing finished third in his stakes debut with 70-1 longshot East Hall getting fourth.
"We proved that we were right, that the horse could get the distance," trainer Jose Garoffalo said. "I thought (General a Rod) was the horse to beat and the race was a copy of the last race, the Gulfstream Park Derby, but this time I got lucky and I beat him."
Completing the order of finish were Medal Count, Commissioner, Our Caravan, We Miss Artie, Best Plan Yet, C. Zee, Almost Famous and Hesinfront. Casiguapo was an early scratch.
The time for the Fountain of Youth was 1:41.85 on a fast track.
Owned by Honors Stable, Wildcat Red added $240,000 to his earnings. The colt has won four of six starts with two seconds for $475,850.
Wildcat Red had finished second to General a Rod in the Gulfstream Park Derby on Jan. 1. The colt was held out of last month's Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream with an illness.
"The Florida Derby will be the next step, depending on how the horse comes back, and then we'll see. If everything goes the right way, we will go straight to Churchill Downs, hopefully," Garoffalo stated.
Wildcat Red returned $11.00, $5.00 and $3.40. General a Rod paid $4.60 and $3.20, and Top Billing paid $2.60 to show.