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Locked, Victory Avenue Scratch From Fountain of Youth

Connections did not like how their colts were acting the morning of the race.

Locked at Keeneland before the 2023 Breeders' Cup

Locked at Keeneland before the 2023 Breeders' Cup

Anne M. Eberhardt

Last fall's Breeders' Futurity (G1) winner Locked and impressive maiden runner-up Victory Avenue were scratched from the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park March 2 the morning of the race.

Locked, a son of Gun Runner  owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Walmac Farm, was scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut for trainer Todd Pletcher. Locked ended his 2-year-old campaign with a third-place finish in the 2023 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).

"I wasn't pleased with him this morning, just didn't seem himself," Pletcher said shortly after arriving at Gulfstream Park Saturday.  "He's a pretty transparent horse and didn't seem like he was feeling right."

Asked whether the horse was injured, Pletcher said, "I'm not sure what it is, that's what we have to find out."

The Hall of Fame trainer, though, didn't sound overly concerned that the scratch would derail the colt from the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail.

"I don't anticipate any major issues. We just have to get him a hundred percent," Pletcher said.

Victory Avenue, a 3-year-old son of Arrogate, was second in his debut on Pegasus World Cup Day Jan. 27, finishing behind Fountain of Youth starter Speak Easy in a highly rated maiden race.

"He's a high energy horse and he didn't eat his food and is mouse quiet today," said Ramiro Restrepo, who represents part of Victory Avenue's ownership group. "That's totally uncharacteristic."

The Fountain of Youth is a points race, awarded on a 50-25-15-10-5 scale to the top five finishers, on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.