Mohaymen remains perfect, easing to win in Fountain of Youth
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) Mohaymen knew exactly what to do when the cameras were pointed his way. Without any prodding, he turned his head toward the group capturing his latest winner's circle trip and posed for as long as they needed.
Of course, he's had a little practice.
The gray colt remained perfect Saturday, improving his record to 5-for-5 with a relatively easy win in the Grade 2, $400,000 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park in what will likely be his next-to-last tuneup before the Kentucky Derby.
''He just does things different,'' said Kiaran McLaughlin, Mohaymen's trainer. ''He's a special colt.''
Another one might be there to challenge Mohaymen.
Barring any unforeseen problems, Mohaymen's next start will be the Florida Derby at Gulfstream on April 2 - and Nyquist, another unbeaten who many consider the Kentucky Derby favorite, may ship in from California to be there as well. Because he was purchased at Fasig-Tipton's sale at Gulfstream last year, Nyquist would be in line for a $1 million bonus if he wins the Florida Derby on top of the $600,000 prize awaiting the winner.
''It would be fun, it would be exciting,'' said Rick Nichols, who manages Mohaymen owner Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Farm. ''We would welcome the challenge. We're arguably the best 3-year-old on the East Coast. He's arguably the best on the West Coast.''
Sent off as the overwhelming favorite, Mohaymen wasn't bothered by settling in early behind four other horses in the field of six. He coolly moved his way through the pack, and he and Zulu - another horse who entered Saturday unbeaten - were stride for stride as they entered the stretch.
Zulu jockey John Velazquez pleaded with his horse for more run, and Mohaymen jockey Junior Alvarado barely moved a muscle. He knew his horse was in control.
''I've got the best horse today, and he makes my job very easy,'' Alvarado said.
Mohaymen finished the 1 1-16 miles in 1 minute, 42.84 seconds, prevailing by 2 1-4 lengths. He now has 70 points in the Kentucky Derby qualifying standings, more than enough to assure a spot in the Run for the Roses if he remains sound.
Zulu picked up 20 points for second, putting him in good position on the Derby trail as well.
''It's something to improve on and build on,'' Zulu trainer Todd Pletcher said. ''He gave us the impression he wanted more distance and I think he showed he can handle that.''
But if anyone can handle Mohaymen, no one has yet shown that. So far, the toughest battle has been Alvarado trying to keep him from running too hard.
''Junior said he was pulling him all along and kept him a little in check,'' Nichols said. ''He didn't want to use him a lot in the end because we still have a long way ahead. Wonderful.''
There were six other stakes events on Saturday's Gulfstream card, highlighted by Cathryn Sophia ($2.40) improving her perfect career record to 4-for-4 with an easy win in the Grade 2, $200,000 Davona Dale.
Catch a Glimpse ($3.20) won the Grade 3, $150,000 Herecomesthebride, while Heart to Heart ($3.80) won the Grade 3, $150,000 Canadian Turf, and X Y Jet ($3) took the Grade 3, $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint.
Faufiler ($27.80) pulled off an upset in the $100,000 Sand Springs and Manhattan Dan ($6.80) won the $75,000 Texas Glitter over five furlongs on the turf.