Holy Bull Stakes Attracts Promising Sophomores

by Greg Melikov

posted on January 28, 2011 in General Discussion, Other Events | 4 Comments >>

Several promising 3-year-olds have targeted the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes on Sunday at Gulfstream Park as their first race on the Road to the Roses.

Boys at Tosconova, runner-up to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo last fall at Churchill Downs, has been training well at the South Florida track. The son of Officer worked for the fourth time since last month, breezing six furlongs on the main track in a bullet 1:13 3/5 on Jan. 13.

Gourmet Dinner, winner of the $1 million Delta Jackpot last fall before finishing a troubled fourth in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity Dec, 18 at Hollywood Park, posted a bullet work on Jan. 20. The son of Trippi zipped five furlongs at Gulfstream in a dazzling 58 2/5, fastest of more than 40 horses, and galloped out six furlongs in 1:11 2/5.

“The work went a little quicker than I was looking for,” trainer Steve Standridge said. “What I liked best . . . he did it the right way. The horse is good right now. He obviously likes the track.”

Yet another contender posted a bullet on Sunday. Mucho Macho Man traveled five furlongs in 59 seconds on the main track, his third straight bullet work and fastest of more than 40 horses.

The son of Macho Uno was runner-up behind To Honor and Serve in both the Nashua and Remsen stakes last year at Aqueduct.

Dialed In is headed to the one-mile Grade 3 since trainer Nick Zito scratched the son of Mineshaft less than three hours from the featured ninth race on Jan. 21 when the Gulfstream strip came up sloppy.

In his lone race, Dialed In overcame a slow break and rough trip to score at 6 ½ furlongs last fall at Churchill Downs. “I just couldn’t take a chance on running him over this racetrack not knowing whether he would handle it or not,” Zito said.

The colt fired a bullet 47 2/5 for a half-mile over the Palm Meadows training track on Monday.

Black N Beauty, who broke his maiden at Churchill Downs in November, scored a 2 ½-length victory on Jan. 7 in a Gulfstream allowance contest at a mile.

The son of Devil His Due breezed four furlongs in 49 seconds at the track on Sunday.

Other possible runners in the wide open race include Leave of Absence, second at six furlongs in the Spectacular Bid on Jan. 8, and Decisive Moment, second-best shipping from Florida to Louisiana for the Delta Jackpot, but rebounding on Jan. 14 to capture the Jean Lafitte.

The traditional prep for the Florida Derby renamed in 1996 for Holy Bull has been staged at three distances since Home at Last won the inaugural in ’90 at 1 1/8 miles. It was shortened to 1 1/16 miles from ’91 through 2005.

I especially remember the ’94 renewal when it was called the Preview Stakes. Go for Gin defeated Halo’s Image and ran the fastest time for 14 of the races staged at 1 1/16 miles – 1:41 3/5.

Holy Bull swallowed his palate and finished off the board. But the loser had surgery and bounced back in the Florida Derby to triumph by 5 ¾ lengths while Go for Gin ran fourth.

In the 120th Kentucky Derby, the tables were turned again as Go for Gin won in the slop while Holy Bull ran 12th after breaking slowly and being carried very wide on the first turn.

Go for Gin finished second in the following two legs of the Triple Crown. Holy Bull rested up and then reeled off five consecutive victories in graded stakes, earning top 3-year-old honors and Horse of the Year.

The race was run at 1 3/16 miles in ’08 and at 1 1/8 miles in ’09. This is the third time in its 21 years that the Holy Bull will be held at a mile.