By J.J. Hysell
Trainer Mark Casse hinted during his interview with Horse Racing Radio Network over the weekend that Conquest Titan, No. 1 on Derby Gauge, might bypass Saturday’s Fountain of Youth.
Casse confirmed Monday through Gulfstream Park that the son of Birdstone, second in the Holy Bull Stakes in his last start, will await the Florida Derby on March 29.
“We’re going to pass on it (Fountain of Youth),” Casse said. “His last race, he came out of it good but I thought he lost a few pounds. He worked really well last week and he trained great this morning, but we can’t make all the dances. We’re just going to wait for the Florida Derby.”
“He’s not a big horse, anyway. He’s just kind of an average-sized horse, and the Fountain of Youth is going to come up tough. We’re always at a disadvantage with him going a mile and a sixteenth, especially with a speed-favoring track. I talked with (owner) Ernie (Semersky) and we just decided to wait and go straight to the Florida Derby.”
The Florida Derby at 1 1/8-miles also better suits the colt’s late-closing running style. The Fountain of Youth is 1 1/16-miles.