Saturday's Grade III Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Preview

Zach Tirpak@@ZachTirpakContributor IJanuary 25, 2013

Saturday's Grade III Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Preview

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    Learning this would be two-year-old champion Shanghai Bobby's first test as a three-year-old, race fans have been anticipating the Grade III Holy Bull for weeks.  The race itself is one of the more high-profile Derby preps and the field in this year's race doesn't disappoint. 

    Let's look at how this race will shake out and the prediction of winners and losers on Saturday.

Race Vitals

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    Location: Gulfstream Park in  Hallandale Beach, FL

    Date: Saturday January 26, 2012

    Post Time 5:05 ET

    Number of Starters: 10

    Distance: 1 1/16 Miles

    Surface: Dirt

Meet the Field

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    1. Shanghai Bobby (4-5) : The morning line favorite will certainly be the favorite at post time as well. It's his first test as a three year old and everyone can't wait to watch him.
    2. Frac Daddy (8-1): Ken McPeek is looking for big things out of this colt.  Lost a heart-breaker his last time out in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.
    3. Clearly Now (12-1): The first-time dirt runner will look to capitalize on some recent experience at the 1 1/16 mile distance.
    4. Bern Identity (4-1): One of the more successful two-year-olds had a great last start in the Grade III Delta Downs Jackpot and looks fresh after some fantastic preparation in Palm Meadows.
    5. Sr. Quisqueyano (20-1): Looks to be a great quarter-mile horse and one of the speedsters in this field.  He's making his graded stakes debut for trainer Luis Olivares.
    6. Dewey Square (12-1): Dale Romans looks to hit the Derby trail running with this colt who impressed in his last race, running a close third in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.
    7. Itsmyluckyday (20-1): This son of Lawyer Ron posted an impressive 95 Beyer his last time out, where he blew away the field by over six lengths in the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby.
    8. Tulira Castle (30-1): Making his second start at distance over seven furlongs, he's never finished outside the top two.
    9. Fredericksburg (30-1): Michael Matz scored with Union Rags last year at the Gulfstream meet.  He'll looks to repeat that success with this colt, making his second start on dirt
    10. Joshua's Compromise (50-1): What this horse lacks in wins he makes up for in experience.  The Florida-bred has amassed fifteen career races and looks to show up in front of a home crowd.

    *Note: All odds are the morning line odds determined by the Daily Racing Form

Race Dynamics

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    The Speed

    • Itsmyluckyday will likely be the strongest speed horse in the group.  He'll be up near the lead early and will likely be a leader well into the second turn.  
    • Clearly Now is a sprinter to the core and he'll likely try to tire the field with a blistering pace into turn one.
    • Trainer Michael Matz is putting the blinkers on Fredericksburg, so he could challenge the lead early as well.
    • There doesn't seem to be a ton of lone speed here and I expect the pace to be mild to fast.

    The Pressers

    • Shanghai Bobby will run his race here, pressing a mild pace inside two lengths back.  He'll make his run at around the half-mile mark
    • Dewey Square will likely be Bobby's running partner.  I see him trying the same strategy, pressing the lead early and trying to stretch out in the late stages.
    • The race should set up for the pressers really well.  I don't see the pace being blistering and the second-level horses will be able to control their runs.

    The Stalkers

    • I see Tulira Castle running mid-pack in this one.  He has shown more of a stalking tendency, but without much speed I think he'll be a bit closer to the front.
    • Sr. Quisqueyano has shown the ability to hang within a stride of fast paces, albeit at shorter distance.  He might try and mix it up and conserve some energy by stalking here.
    • These horses will have some ground to make up on the horses who chase the lead.  I have a feeling that either Bobby or Dewey Square will stretch in front before these horses can gain on them.

     The Closers

    • Frac Daddy should hang about two lengths back until about the second turn.  Especially if its a fast pace, Daddy will save his most of his energy for a late dig to the wire.
    • Bern Identity should set himself up to be the shot-out-of-a-cannon closer here.  Look for him to be middle of the pack the whole way and charge hard coming out of turn two.
    • Joshua's Comprise will be the trailer for most of the way if he follows his recent strategy.  I don't really see him making up too much ground, but he'll make his move late.
    • Bern Identity could pose a real threat to the leaders coming down the stretch for home.  Frac Daddy can't get caught wasting energy early and he could challenge leaders late as well if he's got the lungs.

The Predictions

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    Win: Shanghai Bobby

    Place: Dewey Square

    Show: Frac Daddy

    Fourth: Fredericksburg

    I think that Shanghai Bobby over-matches his competition too heavily to predict anyone will beat him.  He's shown a resiliency to battle to the wire and the race seems like it will set up nicely for his style. 

    Bern Identity could be the surprise here. 

    Dewey Square could go stride for stride with Bobby here and could challenge him the whole way to the finish while holding off a late-charger. 

    Frac Daddy looks to be that late charger.  If the pace is mild, Daddy will be closer to the front a give a kick down the stretch.  I see the early speed fading fast and the top-flight horses running away with it.