Maker to switch Fire At Will to dirt in Fountain of Youth

After lengthy reflection as to whether to give Fire At Will an opportunity on the Kentucky Derby trail, trainer Mike Maker has decided to switch the winner of the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf off the grass and run him in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park.

Maker said Fire At Will “went super” when breezing five furlongs early Saturday in 1:01.60 over a fast Gulfstream main track.

“It looked like he handled it well,” said Maker.

Fire At Will, by Declaration of War, is owned by the Three Diamonds Farm of Kirk Wycoff. The dark bay colt has won his last three starts, starting with his only attempt on dirt, the off-turf With Anticipation at Saratoga in early September. He then gained the Oct. 3 Pilgrim at 13-1 and the Nov. 6 BC Juvenile Turf at 30-1.

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Maker stated Monday he expected to confirm a riding assignment for the Fountain of Youth.

Ricardo Santana Jr., based at Oaklawn Park, rode Fire At Will in the Breeders’ Cup.

The 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth is one of nine graded stakes to be run here Feb. 27. The Palm Beach, for 3-year-olds on the grass, had been considered by Maker as an alternative spot for Fire At Will’s seasonal debut.

Fire At Will closed at 45-1 in Pool 2 of the 2021 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, held Jan. 22-24. Pool 3 runs this weekend.

Javier Castellano remains on target for a Feb. 17 return to action at Gulfstream after returning to exercising horses last week in New York. The four-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey has not ridden since Nov. 15, having undergone elective surgery on his right leg, near his hip, shortly thereafter. “He’s feeling great,” stated Castellano’s agent, John Panagot.

The highlights of the coming weekend are a pair of $100,000 races for older horses, the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint and the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint, both on Saturday.

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