And so it begins.
The road to the Kentucky Derby begins this weekend with the Holy Bull Stakes from Gulfstream Park. This is the first of three graded races from the prestigious Florida race track that may eventually produce a Derby winner. Past winners of the Holy Bull Stakes include: Go For Gin (1994), Hal’s Hope (2000), Barbaro (2006). Named after an American Hall of Fame thoroughbred, Holy Bull, winner of the 1994 Florida Derby, went off as the Derby favorite in 1994 before finishing 12th in the race. Despite his loss, Holy Bull dominated the summer races and was eventually named 3 year old champion and Horse of the Year.
A field of nine horses will enter the gate on Sunday to try to live up to the reputation of the great Holy Bull. Despite the recent defection of probable favorite Boys at Tosconova, trained by Richard Dutrow, a solid field of 3 year old thoroughbreds will vie for the right to move onto the Fountain of Youth Stakes and eventually the Florida Derby.
We are not reading too much into this race at the moment. It is early in the Derby season and we are keeping a close eye on this race as the road to the Derby moves forward. Mucho Macho Man has been tearing up the track at Gulfstream with blazing speed turning in consistent bullet works; his last clocked at :59 flat. Black N Beauty trained by one of our favorite trainers Dale Romans is steadily improving and could be a threat this weekend. And don’t count out Nick Zito. He always finds a way to Louisville on the first Saturday in May. He saddles Dialed In, son of multiple G.I winner Mineshaft. Dialed In is 1 for 1 in his racing career but has not raced since Novemeber. However, he does have red hot Julien Leparoux in the irons.
$400,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III, Race 10, 5:26 p.m.), 3-Year-olds, 1 Mile
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Gourmet Dinner (FL), S O Madrid, 120, S W Standridge
2. Major Gain (KY), J Castellano, 120, W M Catalano
3. Printing Press (KY), E Trujillo, 116, T M Pompay
4. Black N Beauty (ON), K J Desormeaux, 116, D L Romans
5. Ribo Bobo (FL), E S Prado, 120, M J Azpurua
6. Leave of Absence (FL), R Maragh, 116, R A Violette Jr.
7. Mucho Macho Man (FL), E Coa, 116, K Ritvo
8. Sweet Ducky (KY), J Bravo, 120, K J Breen
9. Dialed In (KY), J R Leparoux, 116, N P Zito
We are leaving this decision to the bettors. We like Black N Beauty and Dialed In to hit the board. Mucho Macho Man may hold an advantage with his speed going only a one turn mile. Only time will tell.