Holy Bull Stakes (Gulfstream Park) Predictions, Odds & Picks
If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Prime Factor (5/2)
Post Position and Odds – Holy Bull Stakes
Check out our predictions and odds for the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park!
|J Velazquez||G Delgado|
|J Alvarado||J Engler|
|L Reyes||A Sano|
|L Saez||T Pletcher|
|E Zayas||R Brisset|
|I Ortiz Jr||T Pletcher|
|J Ortiz||C McGaughey|
|8||SITTIN ON GO||5/1|
|C Lanerie||D Romans|
|T Gaffalione||S Joseph Jr|
Best Bets for the Holy Bull Stakes
Here are my plays ($40 in total)
$20 Exacta – Prime Factor over Amount = $20
$6 Exacta Box – Prime Factor and Tarantino = $12
$4 Exacta Box – Prime Factor and Jirafales = $8
Prime Factor (5/2)
Only one week removed from dominating the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf, trainer Todd Pletcher looks to hold a very strong hand once again, this time in Saturday’s Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Topping the pair of undefeated colts that Pletcher will look to test on the trail to the Kentucky Derby is Prime Factor. The son of Quality Road looked like a really good thing running away from his maiden competition at Gulfstream Park seven weeks ago. Only having run in that one 6 furlongs maiden race, the likely favorite will need to stretch his speed another 2 ½ furlongs in the 1 1/16 mile Holy Bull against eight other 3-year-old males.
Also impressive in his only career start is the other Pletcher runner, Amount. The son of the champion Curlin, debuted at Gulfstream the day after Christmas, and although he did not show as much speed as his stablemate, he was also a romping winner after hitting the front in the early stretch of the 7-furlong race.
Of the rest, Sittin on Go is the only graded stakes winner in the field, having accounted for the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes last summer at Churchill Downs for trainer Dale Romans.
The Holy Bull will offer the top four finishers Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a scale of 10-4-2-1.
How to Watch the Holy Bull Stakes
|Holy Bull Stakes Information|
|What||Holy Bull Stakes (Grade 3)|
|When||Saturday, January 30 — 4:50 pm Eastern time|
|How to Watch||TVG|
Watching him win his debut performance on December 12, this son of Quality Road gives every impression of being a graded stakes winner. Jumping up from a 6-furlong maiden race to a 1 1/16 graded stakes race is not easy, but the way he looked like a seasoned pro chasing fast fractions and then taking complete control by the time they turned for home makes me believe he is that kind of horse who is ready to successfully make the leap in his second career start. Bigger tests are in his future, especially as distances increase, but right now, I believe his speed and talent make him the clear choice in Saturday’s Holy Bull.
Like Prime Factor, he was an eye-catching winner of his debut at Gulfstream Park, coming from a bit off the pace to make easy work of his foes five weeks ago. Bred to excel going longer, and having rallied at 7 furlongs, he will have less of a bump up in distance than the likely favorite sees on Saturday. What he might lack against Prime Factor right now, though, is the look of a horse ready to win at a high level right off the bat. He certainly has the potential to be any kind, and may actually have a better opportunity when the calendar moves to classic distances, but for now, I think Prime Factor is the more likely winner on Saturday.
Sittin on Go
The only graded stakes winner in the field was unable to build upon his impressive win in last year’s Iroquois, as he did not threaten subsequently in either the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland or the Kentucky Jockey Club back at Churchill Downs. On the plus side, he is experienced at the distance and should appreciate the fast fractions likely in here. Perhaps running against less experienced foes will be the tonic that ails him, but as talented as I suspect the two Pletcher runners are, I have a feeling this will be the third consecutive non-threatening performance for the son of Brody’s Cause.
An improving son of Tapit for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, this one finally broke through with a win in his fourth-lifetime start. The win was a good looking one and came as an overwhelming favorite in his first try at Gulfstream Park. He does have promise for a trainer who knows how to develop horses, but I think he will have trouble keeping up with some very fast horses in the early stages here. Having faced good horses in each of his first three spots, he has the experience and a good closing kick, but in the end, I think he might not be quite fast enough on Saturday.
The turf to dirt angle has been used to great effect in recent years, and this looks like another candidate to succeed. Trained by Rudolphe Brisset, this Pioneerof the Nile colt has turned in three strong performances, all on turf, at three different racetracks to begin his career. He’s also proven in stakes company, having just missed in his second start at Santa Anita. He has good tactical speed and he has been working on the dirt in the mornings. Bred to handle the surface switch, I believe he is the most likely upsetter to the two talented Pletcher favorites.
If you can throw out his Saratoga form, this son of Dialed In looks like a nice horse who could contend on Saturday. His two graded stakes tries at Saratoga were so poor, it does give some cause to pause about his overall class, though. Having said that, his three races at Gulfstream are very good, and that is where he’s running this time. In the Mucho Macho Man, he proved that he is better than what he showed at Saratoga. I do prefer a few others better, but he is certainly a candidate to be picking up the pieces underneath in the exotics.
He was passed late by Papetu for second last time in the one mile Mucho Macho Man, and with more talent and speed signed on for the Holy Bull, it would seem to be a tough spot for the speedy son of Liam’s Map. He does have as much stakes experience as anyone in the field, and perhaps if he can sit just off the early pace, he would have a better chance, but I like others better.
This one has not run since rolling from last to first in a Florida-bred maiden sprint at Gulfstream Park West more than two months ago. Obviously, the competition will be significantly tougher on Saturday for this Gustavo Delgado trainee, but the late run he uncorked that November afternoon gives hope that he has some real talent. The early speed signed on in here should also give him something to run at. He is a deserving longshot, but not without hope.
Although he has done nothing wrong in winning his first two career starts, this son of Uncaptured looks to be making a big jump into the deep end of the pool in the Holy Bull. Both his wins came over the track at Gulfstream Park, where he was the game-winner of two Statebred sprints. Neither performance will strike fear into the hearts of this field. His most likely impact would come in the first half of the race.
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Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
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