Soldat dominates Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. — Soldat solidified himself as a Kentucky Derby contender on Saturday by romping to victory in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park.

Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Alan Garcia, Soldat led virtually throughout Gulfstream's final major prep for the $1 million Florida Derby on April 3. The 7-5 favorite in the field of eight 3-year-olds returned $4.80, $3.00 and $2.20.

The final time for the 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track was 1:50.23.

"It's on to the Florida Derby now," McLaughlin said. "He's done everything right and today we got the fast track we wanted."

Gourmet Dinner finished two lengths behind Soldat and returned $3.80 and $2.60, while To Honor and Serve made a bold move for the lead before tiring. He returned $2.20 in third.

"He liked his race," said To Honor and Serve trainer Bill Mott of jockey John Velazquez, who was trying to guide the colt to his first win since the Remsen on Nov. 27. "He said (the horse) did everything he asked until he got to the quarter pole and then he said he got a little flat."

Soldat has three wins and four second-place finishes in seven career starts. The 3-year-old son of War Front increased his lifetime earnings to $554,300.

In earlier stakes action, Flashpoint drew off from heavily-favored pacesetter Travelin Man to register an impressive 7 1/4-length victory in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes.

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