For most horsemen, having more than one Kentucky Derby prospect is never too much of a good thing. Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, who already has Remsen winner Honor Code readying for his three-year-old debut, will see if Mr Speaker fits the classics mold in Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park.
The 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull marks the dirt debut of Mr Speaker, a son of Pulpit owned and bred by Jockey Club chairman Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps, who celebrated his family’s first Kentucky Derby win a year ago with Orb, whom he co-owned and bred with cousin Stuart Janney III. It was also the first Derby victory for McGaughey.
Sixth and third in his first two outings, Mr Speaker put it all together breaking his maiden in wire-to-wire fashion over Belmont’s inner turf in mid-October, and then came back to pull off a come-from-behind 10-1 upset in the Gulfstream’s Dania Beach over a mile on the turf December 21.
Two of the colts Honor Code defeated in the November 30 Remsen at Aqueduct, Cairo Prince and Wicked Strong, return for the Holy Bull. In a strangely run race, where glacial fractions of :52 3/5 and 1:17 2/5 were set, Cairo Prince appeared to be on his way to victory after edging clear of Honor Code at the eighth pole. However, Honor Code came back along the inside to poke his nose in front at the wire with Wicked Strong a half-length behind in third.
Other Holy Bull entrants who competed in one or both of the Aqueduct stakes are Financial Mogul, who rallied for second in the Nashua after a slow start, and Intense Holiday, fourth in both the Nashua and Remsen but unfortunately saddled with the undesirable post 11 in Saturday’s race.
Making his stakes debut in the Holy Bull is Coup de Grace, an odds-on winner of his Aqueduct debut and a one-mile Gulfstream allowance last month for trainer Chad Brown.
The rest of the Holy Bull field consists of Almost Famous, a six-length allowance winner at Churchill Downs for Pat Byrne in early November; Our Caravan, a three-length, 35-1 upset winner of his Gulfstream debut over 1 1/16 miles last month; Best Plan Yet, a multiple stakes winner at Calder who came home last in the Gulfstream Park Derby; Conquest Titan, a Canadian stakes winner who impressively turned in a last-to-first allowance score at Churchill; and the Canadian Grade 3-placed Big Bazinga, a well-beaten seventh in the Delta Downs Jackpot most recently.
Also notable is that four of the 11 entrants were part of Kentucky Derby future wager pool one: the aforementioned trio of Almost Famous (30.4-to-1), Cairo Prince (26.8-to-1), and Coup de Grace (48.6-to-1) plus Nashua runner-up Financial Mogul (225.7-to-1).
Earlier in the card, seven three-year-old fillies will travel seven furlongs in the Grade 2, $200,000 Forward Gal.
First post at Gulfstream Park on Saturday is set for 12:40pm ET/9:40am PT.
Gulfstream Park Wagering Highlights – Gulfstream Park Racing will offer a $200,000 guaranteed 50-cent Pick 4 and $100,000 guaranteed 50-cent Pick 5 Saturday, January 25.
2014 G2 $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes Information
Date: Saturday, January 25
Where: Gulfstream Park
Distance:1 1/16 Mile Dirt
Conditions: FOR THREE YEAR OLDS
Holy Bull Stakes Post Time: approx. 5:03pm ET/2:03pm PT (Race #10)
Holy Bull Stakes wagering: $1 Daily Double / $1 Exacta / $.50 Trifecta / $.10 Superfecta
Field and odds for the Holy Bull Stakes (click here for FREE Holy Bull PP’s)
|1||Coup De Grace||L||116||Velazquez John R.||Brown Chad C.|
|2||Financial Mogul||L||116||Ortiz Jose L.||Violette, Jr. Richard A.|
|3||Best Plan Yet||L||120||Zayas Edgard J.||Gold Stanley I.|
|4||Almost Famous||L||116||Borel Calvin H.||Byrne Patrick B.|
|5||Our Caravan||L||116||Lanerie Corey J.||Dilger Michael|
|6||Mr Speaker||120||Lezcano Jose||McGaughey III Claude R.|
|7||Cairo Prince||L||122||Saez Luis||McLaughlin Kiaran P.|
|8||Wicked Strong||L||116||Castellano Javier||Jerkens James A.|
|9||Conquest Titan||L||116||Bridgmohan Shaun||Casse Mark E.|
|10||Big Bazinga||L||116||Bravo Joe||Vassilieva Katerina|
|11||Intense Holiday||L||116||Rosario Joel||Pletcher Todd A.|
2014 Holy Bull Stakes Day Information
Date: Saturday, January 25
Where: Gulfstream Park Racetrack
First post time: 12:40pm ET/9:40am PT
Gulfstream Park wagering may include: Win, Place, Show, Quinella, Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Daily Double, Pick 3, Pick 4 and Rainbow 6.
The $400,000, GII Holy Bull Stakes, for 3yo’s, at 1 1 1/16 mile, over the Gulfstream main is the first important graded test of the 2014 Kentucky Derby Trail season at Gulfstream Park!
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For more Gulfstream Park information click here.