The Brock Talk

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Holy Bull Has Plenty of Character

Since there is no official starting date when the road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands begins, it is fair to say, “we are underway” with Sunday’s Holy Bull Stakes (gr. 3) at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. Yes, some say last weekend’s Le Comte Stakes at Fair Grounds may have been more of an official launching point, but never-the-less, things are starting to heat up a little in the 3-year-old thoroughbred ranks.

Some may say that the defection of Boys At Tosconova, who has been among the favorites for the Derby over the winter, compromises the Holy Bull in terms of it actually being a Derby prep, but there is certainly plenty of character - if not down right potential - among the remainders.

In the short 21-year history of the Holy Bull, it has produced two Kentucky Derby winners in Go For Gin (1994) and Barbaro in 2006. So its place as the launching pad of Derby preps at Gulfstream Park has served it well. Although Barbaro won the Holy Bull when it was run at 1-1/8 miles and Go For Gin won a 1-1/16 mile version of the Holy Bull. For second consecutive years now, the Holy Bull will be run at a mile around one turn.

The next stops are the Feb. 26, $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes and the $1 million Florida Derby April 3, both at 1-1/8 miles.

Among those still going into the Holy Bull is Mucho Macho Man, a son of the Holy Bull sire Macho Uno. Mucho Macho Man has been the runner-up to To Honor and Serve – another prime Derby hopeful – in his last two races in the Nashua Stakes Nov. 6 and the Remsen Stakes Nov. 27, both grade 2 stakes at Aqueduct and both very fast. Intriguing for Much Macho Man fans however, was the fact that he made up two lengths on To Honor and Serve in the Remsen at 1-1/8 miles. How he handles his short winter vacation and the one-turn mile will be signs that might boost him on Derby lists.

Another character in the Holy Bull is Gourmet Dinner, winner of the grade 3 Delta Jackpot Stakes at Delta Downs in Louisiana November 20. What makes Gourmet Dinner a bit of a Derby stratagem is that the Delta Jackpot featured a $750,000 purse giving him – in all likelihood – more than enough graded earnings to qualify for the Run for the Roses. The Florida-bred son of Trippi, who now stands in South Africa, added to his credibility with a fourth place finish after a less than optimal trip in the grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park.

Of course one should hardly talk of any winter horse racing event in South Florida having charisma without the appearance of trainer Nick Zito. He has entered Dialed In, an impressive son of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, who broke his maiden in come-from-behind fashion at Churchill Downs Nov. 12. Zito is looking for his third Holy Bull after winning the stake back-to-back with Go For Gin and Suave Prospect in 1995.

Add to the cast a Dale Romans-trained son of Devil His Due in Black N Beauty, coming out of consecutive wins in a Churchill maiden special weight and a Gulfstream allowance and the Holy Bull looks to have plenty of interests and opportunities on which it can stand.


Roseann said...

I like Black an Beauty here..

Brock Sheridan said...

May be a good pick Roseann. As I said on Facebook, Romans may be a new star after his handling of First Dude last year and now Black N Beauty.

Wayward Lad said...

Goog looking blog, Brock. I've been following the horses here in the UK since Royal Palace beat Ribocco in the 1967 Derby (I was just a 7yo).
Feel free to take a look at my own blog, and add a link.
Ian (Wayward Lad)