If the second meeting between Read The Footnotes and Second Of June is anything like the first, the Florida Derby on March 13 will be a classic.
Two of the best 3-year-olds in the country put on quite a show in Saturday's $250,000 Fountain Of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park with Read The Footnotes, the 2-1 second choice, prevailing by a neck.
Inactive since winning the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 29, Read The Footnotes, a son of Smoke Glacken, outfought Second Of June, who had won his previous three starts, after a stretch-long battle to win in 1:42.71 for the 1 1/16 miles.
Owned by Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables and trained by Richard Violette Jr., Read The Footnotes won for the fifth time in six starts and is unbeaten in four races with jockey Jerry Bailey aloft.
"It was a very hard race and he showed he's the real deal," Violette said. "It was the first time Jerry had to get into him, so I wasn't sure what to expect. He did a lot of things very well today.
"He settled, then attacked when Jerry was ready and won a long battle off a layoff."
Read The Footnotes wasn't the only 3-year-old winner for the team of Klarman, Violette and Bailey. Two races before the Fountain Of Youth, Swingforthefences was impressive beating favored Shaniko in a $34,000 allowance at 1 1/8 miles.
It was the second victory in four starts for the son of Boston Harbor, who had broken his maiden at Aqueduct on Nov. 1.
Second Of June, who gave way grudgingly, finished 7 1/2 lengths in front of Silver Wagon, then came El Prado Rob, Sir Oscar, who lost for the first time in seven races, Broadway View, Frisky Spider and Hopefortheroses.
On paper, the 30th running of the La Canada Stakes looked like one of the weaker renewals of the Grade II and it played out accordingly.
Cat Fighter, who had been third in her graded stakes debut in the El Encino on Jan. 18, outgamed 8-1 longshot Fencelineneighbor by a head under jockey Alex Solis. The final time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:50.41, making this the slowest La Canada.
Owned by the Thoroughbred Corp. and trained by Bob Baffert, Cat Fighter, a 4-year-old Storm Cat filly, raced coupled with also-ran Atlantic Ocean and the entry paid $8.80 as the third choice. Cat Fighter and Atlantic Ocean will be part of the Thoroughbred Corp.'s dispersal on March 6 at Barretts in Pomona.
Tangle, who was making her first start on dirt, finished third, then came Valentine Dancer, the 5-2 second choice, Bartok's Blithe, Atlantic Ocean, Sea Jewel and 19-10 favorite Victory Encounter finished last, only her second defeat in eight races on dirt.
McCann's Mojave, a 10-1 longshot, made a successful turf debut, beating 9-10 favorite Lennyfromalibu by half a length in the $109,900 Sensational Star Handicap at Santa Anita.
Owned and bred by local inter-track and radio show host Mike Willman and Nikki Hunt, the 4-year-old Memo colt, who is trained by Leonard Dorfman, won in 1:12.34 at about 6 1/2 furlongs. He was ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr.
Idle since Oct. 4, Limehouse ($10.80) ran away from pacesetter Deputy Storm in the final sixteenth of a mile to win the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Todd Pletcher for Dogwood Stable, the 3-year-old Grand Slam colt completed the seven furlongs in 1:22.23 under jockey John Velazquez. It was his fourth victory in seven lifetime starts.
Wynn Dot Comma, the 2-1 favorite, finished fourth.
Madcap Escapade, who had beaten maidens by 10 lengths at 16-1 in her first race on Jan. 4, was even more impressive at a much shorter price in the $100,000 Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream.
The 3-year-old Hennessy filly, who is trained by Frank Brothers for Bruce Lunsford, won by 11 3/4 lengths under jockey Rene Douglas as the 8-5 favorite. She ran six furlongs in 1:08.85.
Making his first start since winning the Champagne at Belmont Park on Oct. 4, Birdstone beat four outclassed rivals in a $36,000 allowance at Gulfstream.
The 1-5 favorite for owner Marylou Whitney and trainer Nick Zito, the 3-year-old Grindstone colt won by three lengths under Bailey in 1:42.40 for the mile and 70 yards.