Two Chances for Bill Mott in G2 Fountain of Youth

March 2, 2023

Bill Mott (Derbe Glass)

Gulfstream Park Press Release

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott will seek to make an already lucrative Championship Meet even more fruitful Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where he is slated to saddle Frank Fletcher Racing Operations Inc.’s Rocket Can and Peachtree Stable’s Shadow Dragon for starts in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2).

The Fountain of Youth, a dress rehearsal for the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1), will be featured on a 14-race program with nine stakes, eight graded. The 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds will offer 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby to the winner.

Mott is atop the purses-won standings for trainers with $2,691,095 with huge assists from Art Collector, who captured the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 28 and Rocket Can and Shadow Dragon, who finished 1-2 in the $250,000 Holy Bull (G3) Feb. 4.

“Even a blind sow can find an acorn once in a while,” Mott quipped. “We have been lucky, I guess. You have to have the right horses and we have been lucky enough to have a few of the right horses to take over there.”

There was nothing lucky about Rocket Can’s triumph in the Holy Bull, in which he was forced to race four-wide under Junior Alvarado throughout the 1 1/16-mile stop on the road to the April 1 Florida Derby. The son off Into Mischief had every reason to weaken late, but he kicked in to open a lead in the stretch and held gamely to prevail over Shadow Dragon, who rallied from last under Jose Ortiz at 34-1 odds.

The water gets a lot deeper in the Fountain of Youth as the Mott 3-year-olds will be facing Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Forte, last year’s Eclipse Award winning 2-year-old colt. Forte, making his first start of the season, is the 7-5 morning-line favorite in the field of 10.

“Obviously, Forte is a champion, so, naturally, he deserves to get all the attention,” Mott said. “We will run the race and hope we are good enough to get a little attention afterwards.”

Rocket Can notched his first graded-stakes victory in the Holy Bull while scoring as the 5-2 second choice and collected his second win in five starts.

Shadow Dragon, a New York-bred son of Army Mule, was making only his third career start in the Holy Bull after breaking his maiden at first asking and finishing off the board in a stakes against state-breds.

“That was an interesting finish for him,” Mott said. “He ran extremely well.”

Shadow Dragon is 12-1 on the Fountain of Youth morning line; Rocket Can is 8-1.

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