2015 Holy Bull Stakes Preview
The only Kentucky Derby Prep race this weekend will take place on Saturday, January 24 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida in the form of the Holy Bull Stakes. This Grade 2 event will be 1 1/16 miles over the main track with 10 three-year olds entered. The Holy Bull Stakes represents the first of three races at Gulfstream that serve as Kentucky Derby prep races. The other two are the Fountain of Youth on February 21 and the Florida Derby on March 28.
The purse for this event is $400,000 and post time is scheduled for 4:34 PM Eastern Time. Showers are expected in the morning, however, the track should be in good shape come race time. As with all the races thus far on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, this race will feature points awarded in the format of 10, 4, 2, and 1 to the top four finishers respectively.
Let’s take a look at each horse in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes.
1. Frosted (5-2 Morning Line) – This son of Tapit has never finished outside of the exacta in his 4 career starts, but three of those races were in the maiden ranks. His fourth career start was the Grade 2 Remsen where he finished second by a half-length and could not reel in the winner. In addition, that race was on November 29, but his workouts have been very good in this return. He is a horse that figures in this race.
2. Keen Ice (6-1 ML) – He too exits the Grade 2 Remsen and he finished a well beaten third 8 1/2 lengths behind the winner. His other start in graded competition was the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland where he finished 5th beaten 13 lengths. It feels as if he is a step behind the horse to his inside and will need this race as a tightener.
3. High Noon Rider (15-1 ML) – A pair of turf tries resulted in a sixth and third place finish at Belmont Park before he broke his maiden in an off the track affair at Aqueduct on November 19. He shipped to Remington Park for a listed stakes race where he finished third by 4 1/2 lengths over a muddy track. There are mixed feelings about him, but his best chances seem to be finishing underneath in the exotics at best.
4. Bluegrass Singer (4-1 ML) – He is far and away the most experienced horse in this race with 7 career starts (the next highest amount is 4 starts shared by 6 different horses). After a poor debut in August, he has finished on the board in last 6 starts and his last two starts are both wins here at Gulfstream Park. Both of those races came at the one turn mile distance and he went gate-to-wire as well. He should be able to control the race from this post and rates a big threat to the top 2 morning line choices if he is to run in this race (he is cross-entered in the Hutcheson Stakes, which is race 7 on the card).
5. Juan and Bina (20-1 ML) – He broke his maiden in his debut and subsequently was entered in back-to-back stakes races with mixed results. In his second race he finished second by 4 1/2 lengths before losing a duel on the lead with the horse to his inside last out. He ended up finishing fifth by 14 lengths and will have make a big step up to contend in this spot.
6. First Down (12-1 ML) – The Super Bowl is still more than a week away, but that does not mean one cannot make a hunch play on this guy. He broke his maiden at Belmont by three-quarters of a length in his debut. In that race he beat the rail horse in this race (Frosted). His next start was the Grade 2 Nashua and he was crushed finishing fourth by 10 lengths. He has not raced since then and his works have been rather pedestrian. His trainer, Tom Albertrani, is batting 0 for 35 this meet at Gulfstream. One positive is First Down will be on lasix for the first time.
7. Frammento (12-1 ML) – In four career races he has never finished worse than fourth, but he has not raced in a higher class than an optional claimer. His latest was a second place finisher to Bluegrass Singer, who makes an appearance in this race as well. He does have two decent works since that race and Nick Zito, but he will have a tough time contending for the win in this race.
8. Upstart (2-1 ML) – The morning line favorite in this race began in a New York bred maiden special weight at Saratoga before moving up to the New York Bred Stakes ranks. He won both of his career starts and then was thrown into the deep waters in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont. He finished second by 2 1/2 lengths and followed that up with a third place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. His works have been very good leading up to this race and he is an obvious candidate for the win.
9. Dom The Bomb (30-1 ML) – The Illinois-bred son of Bring the Heat is an impressive 3 of 4 in his career. He broke his maiden in state-bred competition at Arlington by 4 3/4 lengths and then went to Keeneland and finished fourth by that same margin. A return to the Prairie State did him well as he won by 11 lengths in the Sun Power Stakes. His latest race was excellent as he crushed 11 foes in his first start at a route of ground while also going two turns. He won by 5 1/4 lengths in the Futurity at Hawthorne on December 13. He does have a front-running style, which will be difficult from this post. If he can rate he will have a chance at hitting the ticket. Do not expect near the 30-1 morning line provided. In addition, he too is cross-entered in the Hutcheson in Race 7. The connections of this horse and Bluegrass Singer are playing mind games to determine which horse will run in which race.
10. Decision Day (30-1 ML) – He sports a 2 for 3 record and his lone blemish was a second place finish to start his career. After that debut, he won a maiden race going a mile and 70 yards before winning the Coronation Futurity at a mile and an eighth by a head on November 29. Unraced since then, he has shown steady works in south Florida leading up to this race. Interesting horse for the exotics.
The picks for this race are a bit complicated because it is not known which horse between Bluegrass Singer or Dom The Bomb will run in the Hutcheson and both horses are intriguing from this point of view.
Despite the uncertainty regarding those two horses, the top players are still Upstart, Bluegrass Singer, and Frosted in that order. Behind those three, Dom The Bomb, Decision Day, and Keen Ice are the next trio. The final order of horses are High Noon Rider, First Down, Frammento, and Juan and Bina.
2. Bluegrass Singer
4. Dom The Bomb
5. Decision Day
Be sure to check out the recap of the Holy Bull Stakes on Saturday night.