OTB Race Previews & Odds
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Prime Factor (WinStar Farm LLC and CHC Inc) and Amount (Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable) are scheduled to bring a combined total of two races of experience into the 30th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, January 30.
Jumping from maiden special weight company into a graded-stakes may be a lot to ask of lightly raced 3-year-olds, but their trainer, Todd Pletcher, has a history of success with late-developing colts during the winter months at Gulfstream.
The 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull, the first graded stakes for 3-year-olds on the Road to the Curlin Florida Derby presented by Hill `n Dale at Xalapa Farm, will headline a 12-race program with five graded stakes worth $600,000 in purses.
Race 11 at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, January 30 - Post 4:50 PM
|2||Willy Boi||10-1||Junior Alvarado
|6||Prime Factor||3-1||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|7||Greatest Honour||5-2||Jose Ortiz
|Claude McGaughey III|
|8||Sittin On Go||5-1||Corey Lanerie
|9||Awesome Gerry||8-1||Tyler Gaffalione
|Saffie Joseph, Jr.|
"It's kind of that time of year where you have to see where you are," Pletcher said.
The 16-time Championship Meet training champion visited the Florida Derby winner's circle with a pair of lightly raced 3-year-olds in 2014 and 2015. Constitution (2014) and Materiality (2015) both won their career debuts at Gulfstream on Jan. 11, captured their second starts against more experienced and established 3-year-olds, and won the Florida Derby within 11 weeks.
Prime Factor debuted at Gulfstream Dec. 12 with a stunning 8 ¼-length victory, running six furlongs in 1:10.38 while drawing away powerfully after closely stalking the early pace.
"He was brilliant in his debut and has trained sharply since then. We kind of considered going into an allowance race but that never materialized," said Pletcher, who has saddled the two winners of the Holy Bull, Algorithms (2012) and Audible (2018). "It's always a big step to go from maiden race against winners, giving up experience, but he can hopefully overcome it."
Defending two-time Championship Meet titlist Irad Ortiz Jr. has the return mount on the son of Quality Road, who was purchased for $900,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September sale.
Amount overcame bumping at the starts of his Dec. 26 debut, rallying from off the pace to score by 5 ¾ lengths, completing seven furlongs in 1:24.68 under Ortiz Jr.
"His debut was very professional. Again, we were limited in options," said Pletcher, who has saddled five Florida Derby winners. "I think, ultimately, he's a horse that will appreciate more distance,"
Luis Saez has the call aboard the son of Curlin, who was purchased at the 2020 OPS July 2-year-olds-in-training sale for $110,000.
Greatest Honour (Courtlandt Farms) brings four-race experience into the Holy Bull. The Shug McGaughey-trained son of Tapit finished a late-closing third in his first two starts at sprint distances before showing marked improvement when stretching out around two turns in his two most recent starts.
He was beaten by a neck while finishing second behind Known Agenda at Aqueduct at 1 1/8 miles, before graduating Dec. 26 at Gulfstream. He overcame bumping at the start and some traffic on the first turn before closing to graduate by 1 ½ lengths.
The homebred colt schooled in the paddock and walking ring during the second race at Gulfstream Wednesday.
"I'm very pleased with what I saw today, very pleased. He's developed a lot," McGaughey said. "I was just sitting there thinking if, through the winter and spring, he keeps going in that direction, he'll be good."
Jose Ortiz has the mount aboard Greatest Honour.
Sittin On Go (Albaugh Family Stables LLC), who launched his career with a debut victory and an impressive score in the Iroquois (G3), will seek to improve on off-the-board finishes in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland and Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs.
"He's ready for another big race," trainer Dale Romans said. "He's sitting on go. He's had two good works. He's ready. If he's good enough, he'll run big."
Corey Lanerie has the mount aboard the son of Brody's Cause.
Tarantino, who is a nose short of being undefeated in his three starts on turf, is slated to make his dirt debut in the Holy Bull. The son of Pioneerof the Nile broke his maiden at Del Mar before finishing second by a nose in the Zuma Beach at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert. After being transferred to trainer Rodolphe Brissett, he captured a mile optional claiming allowance Dec. 11 at Gulfstream Park.
Edgard Zayas has the return call aboard Tarantino, who is owned by SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC and partners.
Magic Stables LLC's Papetu and John Fanelli and partners' Awesome Gerry, who finished second and third in the Jan. 2 Mucho Macho Man; OMGA Investments LLC and Off the Hook LLC's Jirafales, a 4 ¾-length debut winner at Gulfstream Park West; and Lea Farms LLC's Willy Boi, who is undefeated in two starts against Florida-bred opposition at Gulfstream, round out the field.
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Grade 2 winner Mutasaabeq, who captured the Mucho Macho Man January 2 in his season debut, and Grade 3 winners Pickin' Time and Sittin On Go are among 22 sophomores nominated to the $200,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) Saturday, January 30 at Gulfstream Park.
The 30th running of the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull is the next step for 3-year-olds on Gulfstream's road to the March 28 Florida Derby (G1), and headlines a program featuring five graded-stakes worth $600,000 in purses.
Shadwell Stable's Mutasaabeq was a popular 1 ½-length winner of the one-mile Mucho Macho Man, his return to the main track after winning the 1 1/16-mile Bourbon (G2) on grass and finishing 10th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). The next four horses that finished behind him - Papetu, Awesome Gerry, Pickin' Time and Ultimate Badger - are also nominated to the Holy Bull.
John Bowers Jr.'s New Jersey homebred Pickin' Time won the Smoke Glacken at Monmouth Park and Nashua (G3) at Aqueduct in back-to-back starts last fall before a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen (G2) Dec. 5 and the Mucho Macho Man, where he wound up beaten 11 ¼ lengths after a troubled start.
Albaugh Family Stables' Sittin On Go has been training forwardly at Gulfstream for trainer Dale Romans ahead of his 3-year-old debut. Winner of his first two career stats in Kentucky, including the Iroquois (G3), before finishing ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) and sixth in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), a race where Romans-trained stablemate Smiley Sobotka and fellow Holy Bull nominee ran second by less than a length.
Slam Dunk Racing's Drain the Clock, Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained stablemate of Awesome Gerry, exits a 7 ½-length romp as the favorite in the six-furlong Limehouse Jan. 2 at Gulfstream. The Maclean's Music colt has won all three races he has finished, losing his rider when the irons broke in the Jean Laffite Nov. 30 at Delta Downs.
Championship Meet-leading trainer Todd Pletcher nominated five horses including Remsen (G2) runner-up Known Agenda and recent Gulfstream maiden winners Amount, Donegal Bay and Prime Factor. Also among nominees are Capo Kane, winner of the Jan. 1 Jerome at Aqueduct; and Gulfstream maiden winners Greatest Honour, Jiraifales, Lucky Law, Simovitch and Willy Boi, the latter improving to 2-0 with a Florida-bred allowance victory Jan. 7.
Amount, Awesome Gerry, Drain the Clock, Papetu, Sittin On Go, Smiley Sobotka, Ultimate Badger and Willy Boi are also among 22 nominees to the $100,000 Claiborne Farm Swale Stakes for 3-year-olds sprinting seven furlongs, along with Competitive Speed, winner of the 6 ½-furlong Glitter Woman Jan. 2 at Gulfstream; Hot Blooded, winner of the one-mile Proud Man on the Gulfstream turf last summer; and Poppy's Pride, a winner of three consecutive stakes and four races overall.
Along with being nominated to the Swale, John Minchello's Competitive Speed is among 16 3-year-old filly nominees to the $100,000 Forward Gal, also contested at seven furlongs. She is joined by Gulf Coast, half-length winner of the one-mile Cash Run Jan. 1 at Gulfstream; Shea D Summer, fourth in the Cash Run after winning the Juvenile Fillies Sprint Nov. 14 at Gulfstream Park West; Gasparilla winner Adios Trippi; and Gone to Cabo and Dial to Win, respectively third and fifth in the Glitter Woman.
Rounding out the stakes are a pair of $100,000 turf events for 3-year-olds - the Kitten's Joy (G3) led by stakes winners Kentucky Pharoah, Hot Blooded, Never Surprised and Omaha City, and the Sweetest Chant (G3) for fillies featuring stakes winners Con Lima, Dirty Dangle and Gulf Coast.
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