Friday, January 25, 2013

Holy Bull: Shanghai Bobby vs. the rest

History is against Shanghai Bobby winning the Holy Bull. Read why here.

In Florida, a select group of ten colts take their first major step on the Triple Crown Trail in Sunday’s Holy Bull Stakes (G-3). The one mile contest is the highly anticipated three year old debut of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Champ SHANGHAI BOBBY. The speedy colt has raced on or near the lead in every start, and was all out to hold off He's Had Enough in the BC Juvenile. The Holy Bull contains plenty of early and pace pressing speed to test the Two Year Old Champ's mettle. Read his pedigree profile here.

One of the quickest colts in the Holy Bull field is BERN IDENTITY. The Sanford Stakes (G-2) winner was reeling in Goldencents in the Delta Jackpot (G-3) but ran out of real estate after being blocked in the stretch. He hasn't raced since November, but the son of Bernstein is firing bullets like a machine gun. Additionally, Bern Identity will sit wherever his jockey places him. Read his pedigree profile here.

FRAC DADDY (Scat Daddy - Skipper's Mate, by Skip Away) is a neck away from being a Grade 2 stakes winner. Racing 4 wide, the McPeek trainee pressed the pace and fought tenaciously down the stretch, in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, only to miss by a neck to the more experienced and undefeated Uncaptured. Frac Daddy should be at his best around two turns. His sire has produced stakes winners up to 1 1/8 miles over dirt and 1 ¼ miles on the lawn. Frac Daddy's damsire is three time HOY Skip Away. The colt has plenty of stamina in his distaff line, as his second dam Power Play won the Delaware Handicap at 1 ¼ miles. Frac Daddy has been training regularly at Gulfstream since December. Read his pedigree profile here.

Exiting the same race, DEWEY SQUARE (Bernardini - Somethinaboutbetty, by Forestry) was also wide in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and made up ground to place third, 1 ½ lengths behind the winner. Dewey Square carries some class in his distaff line. His dam is a multiple stakes veteran who won up to 1 1/16 miles and she's the best foal produced by her dam. The son of Bernardini has been training strongly at Gulfstream for Eclipse Award Trainer Dale Romans.

One of the local hopes, ITSMYLUCKYDAY (Lawyer Ron - Viva La Slew, by Doneraile Court) made short work of his rivals, including Holy Bull rival Sr. Quisqueyano in the Gulfstream Derby, drawing off to a 6 ¾ length win. He has three stakes wins under his girth. Itsmyluckyday threw in a clunker in the Delta Jackpot. Was he outclassed or didn't he like the track? Itsmyluckyday's dam is a stakes placed sprinter. Florida Derby winner Vicar was produced from this female family.

CLEARLY NOW (Horse Greeley - Bend, by Arch) tired to third in his first two-turn attempt in the Display Stakes at Woodbine in December, finishing over five lengths behind Avie's Quality. That one was unplaced in last week's LeComte Stakes (G-3). Clearly Now's first crop sire has produced only four winners, none past seven furlongs. Clearly Now has plenty of Claiborne class and stamina on his distaff side and his first five dams, all own blacktype. He's bred for the dirt and his works at Palm Meadows are average.

Of the four longshots in the field, TULIRA CASTLE ( War Pass - Tulira, by General Assembly) appears to have the most upside. A 2 ¼ length winner in his first try over the Gulfstream dirt in an optional claimer, the son of War Pass hasn't skipped a beat in his training. He's a half brother to the stakes winning sprinter Mountain General and their dam's half sister foaled Wood Memorial hero Storm Tower. The major drawback? Trainer James DiVito's charges are 0 for 13 in graded stakes races.

Another interesting longshot is FREDERICKSBURG (Speightstown - Choreograph, by Dynaformer). In his first attempt over dirt, the Michael Matz trainee finished second to Tulira Castle in a dirt mile race at Gulfstream. Fredericksburg bobbled at the start but made up ground going four wide to finish second. The son of Speightstown is a full brother to the stakes placed turf miler Dancing To Town and a half to the multiple stakes winner Welcome Dance, a turf router.

SR. QUISQUEYANO (Exclusive Quality - Royal Navy, by Polish Navy) was no match for Itsmyluckyday in the Gulfstream Derby or the Foolish Pleasure Stakes. The Luis Olivares trainee has finished second in his last four races. Sr. Quisqueyano's dam is a half to two stakes winners and a couple of stakes placed runners.

The colt with the most starts in the field (15) is also the longest shot on the board. JOSHUA'S COMPRISE (Comprise - Princess Alert, by Katowice) has been whipped by over 50 lengths in his last four starts. He placed last year in restricted statebred races, but appears to be in deep here. His dam is a half sister to the multiple stakes winning sprinter Smokey Stover.


Track bias: Early speed generally rules at Gulfstream. Those stuck on the outside, especially going around the turn, are usually at a disadvantage. This is the first time that the race will be held at 1 1/16 miles since 2004.

Shanghai Bobby will be overbet and history indicates that, unless he's something really special, he will lose his first start of the year. Bern Identity owns :21 early speed, which could earn him the lead if he wants it. He's won all of his starts off of a layoff and posted a last out bullet. Frac Daddy and Dewey Square can also be competitive in here. Frac Daddy has a slow-fast-slow breeze pattern indicating that he could ready to go. Itsmyluckyday freaked in his last race, both visually and speed figure wise. It's a question of what did he beat and can he carry that momentum into the Holy Bull? A Michael Matz horse with morning line odds of 30-1? That's what you get with Fredericksburg. He dons a hood and owns a host of good works.

#4 Bern Identity

#2 Frac Daddy

#1 Shanghai Bobby

#9 Fredericksburg – longshot play