Calvin Borel will again move his tack to Florida for a 3-year-old stakes race, returning to ride in the Fountain of Youth Stakes aboard Almost Famous.
After close to a three-month layoff, Almost Famous contested the early pace in the Holy Bull Stakes, only to fade to fourth in the stretch, beaten a little over a length for the place.
"He ran big in the Holy Bull," trainer Pat Byrne said. "We were really happy with his race because he showed a lot of guts. He ran hard down the backside, didn't catch a breather, and I didn't have him fully cranked for the race."
Almost Famous, a $500,000 purchase as a 2-year-old in training, had a four-furlong breeze in :49.00 seconds at Palm Meadows last Saturday.
"It was a maintenance work, a nice half-mile, and I'm really happy with him," Byrne said. "We came out of the race in good shape, he looks strong and we're hoping to move forward."
Almost Famous has been a pace factor in each of his four starts to date, but Byrne believes his charge is amenable to different tactics.
"He doesn't have to be on the lead, he just found himself in that position," Byrne said. "He's ready to go, and we look forward to bringing him back and trying them again. Depending on the pace scenario, he can sit off of it."
As for Borel, he and Byrne teamed up to win the 2012 Florida Derby in a front-running effort by Take Charge Indy for Chuck and Maribeth Sandford, who also own Almost Famous.
""He's a great rider and we're happy to have him back aboard," Byrne said.
The Fountain of Youth will offer Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a 50-20-10-5 basis. The mile-and-a-sixteenth event is expected to attract Conquest Titan, the runner-up in the Holy Bull; highly regarded allowance winners Commissioner and Top Billing; and Hutcheson Stakes winner Wildcat Red.
"It will be a plenty salty race," Byrne said.
Edited Gulfstream Park release