Holy Bull Stakes – Race 11 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 4:50 PM Eastern
Greatest Honour started his career sprinting and finished third in two races at seven furlongs, improving from a debut 84 Equibase speed figure to 89, then although regressing slightly to an 85 figure he ran a much better race when stretched out to two turns (nine furlongs), battling head-and-head the entire length of the stretch before losing by a head at the wire. Shipping to Gulfstream in December, Greatest Honour improved markedly at the distance of the Holy Bull when maturely rallying from seventh of nine early to win by a length and one-half. In doing so he improved to a field high 104 figure. This appears to make him the one to beat because even if some of the other impressive recent winners improve, they will have to improve significantly more than Greatest Honour to beat this colt, even if he just repeats his last effort. As a son of Tapit, sire of many top three year olds in recent years such as Enforceable, Hofburg and Tacitus, Greatest Honour should only get better over the course of his sophomore campaign and therefore appears to be the one to beat in this year’s Holy Bull Stakes.
Sittin On Go won his debut last summer impressively by four lengths in a five furlongs sprint, then won the Iroquois Stakes at one mile in only the second start of his career. The improvement from an 80 figure in his debut to 95 second out portended great things for this colt, but that did not pan out. After a ninth place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and sixth place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, Sittin on Go was given some time off to mature. It appears that time off helped him as he’s been in steady training at Gulfstream Park for over a month. Given that he ran so well fresh last year and that his first crop sire, Brody’s Cause, has had decent success, I think Sittin on Go could run well in the Holy Bull Stakes by repeating his Iroquois Stakes effort and should be considered a contender.
Papetu was overlooked in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes four weeks ago when sent to post at odds of 20 to 1. Although no match for the winner, Papetu nevertheless finished well for second in the field of nine with an 87 figure he could improve upon in his second start following four months off so he can be given a look at the outcome as well.
Prime Factor (89 figure winning last month) and Amount (84 figure winning last month) come from the top barn of Todd Pletcher, who according to a STATS Race Lens query wins at a hefty 33% rate with horses which are stretching out from a sprint to a route in their second career starts. Still, asking horse to both go from maiden ranks to graded stakes and at the same time from one-turn to two-turns can be a big lift and considering other horses in this race have experience in stakes and routes, I think they may fall short of being able to win. Awesome Jerry finished third in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes, one and one-quarter lengths from Papetu. He’s earned back-to-back 84 figures and is not on the same pattern for improvement to be competitive here as some of the others in my opinion. Tarantino has two wins and a nose defeat to his credit in three career starts. In the best of those three, Tarantino finished second, beaten a nose, in the Zuma Beach Stakes in October and earned an 81 figure. As a son of Pioneer of the Nile, Tarantino should run as well on dirt but even that effort if repeated appears to fall short of what it will take to win this race. Willy Boi won at first asking then beat a restricted allowance field earlier this month, earning an 85 figure in doing so. He appears to have the same double ask of running two-turns and trying stakes for the first time as many of the others. Jirafales won at first asking in November and earned a 71 figure in doing so. Even with logical improvement as a three year old it appears he could be far short of being competitive against this field.
Win: Greatest Honour at odds of 3/2 or more, a KEY low odds overlay bet.
For a smaller amount, Papetu to win at 4 to 1 or more.
Greatest Honour over ALL
For a smaller amount Papetu over Greatest Honour, Prime Factor and Sittin On Go and Awesome Gerry
Plus the opposite, which is Greatest Honour, Prime Factor and Sittin On Go and Awesome Gerry over Papetu
Greatest Honour over Papetu, Prime Factor, Sittin on Go and Awesome Gerry over ALL
Greatest Honour over ALL over Papetu, Prime Factor, Sittin on Go and Awesome Gerry