Friday, January 30, 2009

Holy Bull Stakes

A little over 3 months until Derby Day and its as good a time as any to start looking at the main 3 year 0ld races leading up to the first Saturday in May.

The Holy Bull Stakes (g. III) is being contested Saturday January 31st at Gulfstream Park at 1 1/8 miles after running last year at the unusual 1 3/16 distance. This race was won in 2006 by Barbaro on his way to capturing the Kentucky Derby and coincidentally his full brother Nicanor (Dynaformer/La Ville Rouge - Carson City) begins his career in the following race.

Leading Contenders

West Side Bernie (Bernstein/Time Honored - Gilded Time) enters off a 2nd place finish in the Boyd Gaming Delta Jackpot Stakes (g. III) following a 6th place finish in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (g. I), three lengths behind champion Midshipmen. Bernie is favored (3-1) despite starting in the 10 hole; posts 8 and above have not fared well in routes at Gulfstream this season. He has been working well for his return including a sharp 1:00 flat 5F bullet on the 18th.

Beethoven (Sky Mesa/Moonlight Sonata - Carson City) has two game victories in a row, the most recent coming in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes where he held off Friday's Hutcheson Stakes (g. II) winner Capt. Candyman Can by a half length.

Beethoven drew the far outside post and carries 122lbs which could hurt his chances, but the race's only 3-time winner should be in contention when they turn for home.

Danger to Society (Harlan's Holiday/Elrose - Deputy Minister) is a horse I really like in this race. He's 2-2 lifetime including an easy allowance victory over this track 23 days ago. His dam Elrose is a half sister to Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm, and he's already won at this 9F distance. He has good tactical speed, in a race devoid of any true front-runners, and is getting 8 lbs from the two horses above. I think Albarado may lead them around the track in this one, and you should see this colt's name popping up on folks' contender lists.

The Others
Rockland hails from the Michael Matz barn and comes in off of 2 straight wins, the most recent a turf route. Nicely bred son of Smarty Jones is half to Haskel runner-up Coal Play. Todd Pletcher is always tough in Derby prep stakes and sends out Idol Maker who was impressive in his debut at Belmont in October but faltered in deeper waters in the Remsen (g. II). Been working nicely and gets Velazquez, looms a threat. Bear's Rocket is a 2-time winner shipping in from Woodbine by Lion Heart out of a Deputy Minister dam, Saratoga Sinner recently broke his maiden at this track and distance, and Stately Character recorded his only victory in a minor stakes two back.
Live Longshot

El Crespo (A.P. Indy/Commodities - Private Account) is a son of A.P. Indy who may just be better suited for turf with 2 turf stakes winning siblings, but his sire is an outstanding producer of dirt routers, and he's yet to try the brown stuff. At 12-1 he may be a decent play to win at a price.

The Bet
I'll make my bets just like I would if I was at the track. I really like the 2 and will bet him to win at odds of 7-2 or better (ML 5-1). The gameness of Beethoven is enough to put him underneath and boxed with the 2. I'll mix the 5 in there underneath as well.

$10 win 2
$4 exacta box 2/11
$1 exacta box 2/5

$20 total


  1. Sounds like the best betting opportunity is in the following race - Nicanor figures to be overbet (full sib to Barbaro). We all loved Barbaro, but this isn't Barbaro, and I want to make a buck!

  2. Well, I wasn't the only one to like Danger to Society as he went off as the 6-5 favorite, but he didn't run a lick. Bear's Rocket couldn't hold off Saratoga Sinner who prevailed by 3/4 lengths.

    Since #2 didn't meet odds criteria that bet is null, but we still lost the others putting the season's totals at -$10.

  3. Hey thanks for the link. email the contact on the homepge if you'd like to become a member.