2020 Holy Bull Stakes Cheat Sheet

Racing
Grade 1 winner Tiz the Law headlines Saturday’s Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park, a qualifying points race for the 2020 Kentucky Derby. (Joe Labozzetta/NYRA Photo)

Gulfstream Park kicks off its three-race prep series for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on Saturday with the $350,000 Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile contest for 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown Trail.

The Holy Bull is an important race in and of itself, and is also the lead-in to Gulfstream’s richer Derby preps, the $400,000, Grade 2 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth Stakes on Feb. 29 and the $1 million, Grade 1 Xpressbet.com Florida Derby on March 28.

Winners of the Holy Bull over the past quarter-century include 1994 Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin, 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, and last year’s Kentucky Derby disqualified first-place finisher and champion 3-year-old male Maximum Security.

This year’s race has attracted a field of seven Kentucky Derby hopefuls gunning for qualifying points that will be distributed 10-4-2-1 to the first four finishers. Learn about all of them below.


1. Toledo (7-2)

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Trainer: Chad Brown

Owner: Juddmonte Farms

Career record: 3 starts – 1 win – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $61,900

Earnings per start: $20,633

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 97

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 0

Pedigree: Into Mischief – Endless Chat, by Bernardini

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This Juddmonte Farms homebred will need to improve in his first start as a 3-year-old to win the Holy Bull, but is certainly eligible to do just that having made only three career starts, each at a different track. He finished second in his debut in September at Belmont Park and then impressed in a seven-furlong maiden win at Aqueduct on Nov. 9, stalking the pace and drawing clear for a 3 ¾-length score. In his most recent start, Toledo finished second to longshot and Holy Bull foe Ete Indien in a one-turn mile allowance-optional claiming race at Gulfstream on Dec. 20 as the 7-10 favorite. He stalked the pace set by Ete Indien through six furlongs and had clear sights on that foe in early stretch, but did not make up any ground. He’s been favored in all three of his starts, and while that won’t be the case on Saturday he’s still liable to have solid backing based on his connections. Chad Brown, who won his fourth consecutive Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer last week and also was voted America’s Best Racing’s Fan Choice Awards Best Trainer in December, has put this colt through a series of steady workouts at Palm Meadows in south Florida since his last start and should have this son of 2019 leading North American general sire Into Mischief ready to take the next step in his development.


Toledo
Ryan Thompson/Coglianese photo

2. Uncork the Bottle (12-1)

Jockey: Edgard Zayas

Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.

Owner: Bassett Stables

Career record: 3 starts – 3 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $35,400

Earnings per start: $11,800

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 85

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 0

Pedigree: Colonel John – Winekeeper, by Pure Prize

Color: Bay

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This undefeated colt has impressed on the south Florida circuit since his debut in last August but faces a huge class hike in Saturday’s Holy Bull. He was claimed by owner Bassett Stables and trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. out of his debut maiden win by 10 ¾ lengths at Gulfstream Park. Since then, Uncork the Bottle has won two starter optional claiming races for modest purses at Gulfstream Park West and Tampa Bay Downs. The most recent score came on Jan. 15 in a one-mile turf race at Tampa Bay Downs, which gives him two-turn experience, but his best Equibase Speed Figure of 85 (earned in that race) counterbalances that as it’s easily the lowest top speed figure in the Holy Bull field. Uncork the Bottle figures to sit in midpack through the backstretch in the Holy Bull before jockey Egard Zayas calls on his run, and to his credit, this son of 2008 Travers Stakes winner Colonel John has shown a good turn of foot in all three of his races so far, albeit against competition far below what he’ll face on Saturday.


Eclipse Sportswire

3. Tiz the Law (3-5)

Jockey: Manuel Franco

Trainer: Barclay Tagg

Owner: Sackatoga Stable

Career record: 3 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $347,000

Earnings per start: $115,667

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 95

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 12

Pedigree: Constitution – Tizfiz, by Tiznow

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This highly regarded New York-bred colt from the ownership group that campaigned 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Funny Cide makes his 3-year-old debut having lost some luster after a third-place showing in his most recent start, but he still is among the top tier of 2020 Kentucky Derby contenders in the future books and the odds-on morning line favorite for Saturday's Holy Bull. After posting two dominant wins in a 6 ½-furlong Saratoga maiden race and then in the one-turn mile Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park in early October, Tiz the Law regressed in his first two-turn try on Nov. 30 in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. Running on a sloppy track, he sat a good, ground-saving trip just behind the pace but was forced to split horses in midstretch and switched to his wrong lead, losing second late to longshot Finnick the Fierce in a race won by Silver Prospector (who finished fourth in last week’s Smarty Jones Stakes). This well-bred son of young sire Constitution out of Grade 2 winner Tizfiz has been training well for Barclay Tagg in south Florida and is a good bet to take a step forward in his development in the Holy Bull … and he’ll have to, as his best Equibase Speed Figures actually place him behind several other contenders. Look for regular rider Manny Franco to place Tiz the Law in a similar position to his stalking spot in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes with hopes for a better result this time. Tagg trained 2007 Holy Bull winner Nobiz Like Shobiz; Funny Cide finished fifth in the 2003 Holy Bull prior to his memorable wins in that spring’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness.


Ete Indien
Ryan Thompson/Coglianese photo

4. Ete Indien (6-1)

Jockey: Luca Panici

Trainer: Patrick Biancone

Owners: Linda Shanahan, Sanford Bacon, Dream With Me Stable, Horse France America, D P Racing, and Patrick Biancone Racing

Career record: 3 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $48,556

Earnings per start: $16,185

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 101

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 0

Pedigree: Summer Front – East India, by Mizzen Mast

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Pacesetter

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This son of turf graded stakes winner Summer Front looms as a bit of a wild card in Saturday’s Holy Bull based on his most recent start. After winning his career debut on turf at Gulfstream Park back in September and then running eighth in the Grade 3 Dixiana Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland where he made up some late ground, he switched to dirt for a one-turn allowance-optional claiming race at Gulfstream Dec. 20 and scored a 14-1 upset over fellow Holy Bull entrant Toledo (who was the 7-10 favorite) in an impressive performance that netted him a career-best 101 Equibase Speed Figure. He dueled for the early lead in that race instead of sitting well back as he did in his two turf starts, and raced greenly on his wrong lead in the stretch once clear, but still won by 2 ½ lengths. Based on his only dirt start, Ete Indien figures to be a player in the pace scenario again in the Holy Bull, joining Relentless Dancer among the front rank. He’ll have to improve against this field to score another upset, but has an interesting extended pedigree on his dam’s (mother’s side) that includes a lot of turf and all-weather stakes winners (including 2008 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Raven’s Pass) but also gives him a solid stamina foundation.


5. Clear Destination (20-1)

Jockey: Paco Lopez

Trainer: Ashlee Brnjas

Owner: Colebrook Farms

Career record: 9 starts – 2 wins – 3 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $100,513

Earnings per start: $11,168

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 93

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 0

Pedigree: Seek Again – Fantastic Voyage, by Congrats

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This Florida-bred son of turf Grade 1 winner Seek Again returns to dirt after making six straight starts on turf and all-weather surfaces at Woodbine, and he’ll be one of the longest shots on the board once the Holy Bull starting gate opens on Saturday. He made two starts on dirt last spring at Keeneland and Churchill Downs, finishing a well-beaten fourth and fifth, respectively. He improved once sent north of the border to his current trainer, winning twice and finishing second three times. Clear Destination arrives off of his best performance to date, a four-length win in a seven-furlong allowance-optional claiming race on Woodbine’s synthetic main track. He should be among the horses contesting the early pace but will need to improve substantially on a surface he’s shown no affinity for to hit the board in the Holy Bull.


Coady Photography

6. Relentless Dancer (8-1)

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Trainer: Mike Maker

Owners: Paradise Farms Corp., Terry Raymond, and Jana Wagner

Career record: 3 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $85,261

Earnings per start: $28,420

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 91

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 0

Pedigree: Midshipman - Passion for Words, by Benchmark

Color: Dark Bay or Brown

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This Midshipman colt has not raced since a 10 ½-length runaway victory against Louisiana-breds in the Louisiana Legacy Stakes Oct. 19 at Delta Downs in his third start, but he has been training steadily in Florida since mid-December. He debuted on the grass and ran sixth in August at Saratoga, but since trainer Mike Maker switched him to the main track Relentless Dancer has been very good. He won a 6 ½-furlong maiden race Sept. 27 at Churchill Downs in a dead heat with Silver State, who recently ran a good second in the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes. Relentless Dancer then shipped to Louisiana, where he dominated his stakes debut. He will be stretching out in distance beyond seven furlongs for the first time in the Holy Bull while also tackling open stakes company — significant challenges — and he will need to improve upon his career-best Equibase Speed Figure of 91 to be a factor. He figures to challenge for the early lead and could become brave if he’s in front at the top of the stretch. Relentless Dancer’s half-brother (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) Rock N Sake was a stakes winner at one mile and sire Midshipman was a Grade 1 winner around two turns.


Mayberry Deputy
Lauren King/Coglianese photo

7. Mayberry Deputy (15-1)

Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Trainer: Ken McPeek

Owner: Walking L Thoroughbreds

Career record: 3 starts – 1 first – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $44,057

Earnings per start: $14,686

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 102

Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 0

Pedigree: Majesticperfection – Wyn Jym, by Proud Citizen

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Aside from appealing to the retirement-age cohort of fans that still enjoy watching reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show” and/or anything featuring Don Knotts, this improving colt from the barn of Ken McPeek also offers intrigue as a longshot win candidate in Saturday’s Holy Bull, following along the lines of last year’s McPeek-trained 29.60-1 Holy Bull winner Harvey Wallbanger. Mayberry Deputy will make his sophomore debut on the heels of easily his career-best race, a 2 ½-length score in a one-turn mile maiden race at Gulfstream on Dec. 28. He made his first two starts last fall at Churchill Downs, finishing eighth in his first race and then second in November to Gold Street in a six-furlong race on a sloppy track. Gold Street has since won a stakes race at Fair Grounds and last week took the one-mile Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park, a Kentucky Derby points race. Mayberry Deputy went off at 15.20-1 in his own breakthrough win at Gulfstream, and has a good stalking style that should place him in touch with the early Holy Bull leaders and ahead of the rear guard as the field sweeps through the far turn and into the homestretch. His pedigree is more sprint-oriented than some other Holy Bull starters, however, as a son of sprinter Majesticperfection and from a female family consisting largely of sprinters and milers.

2020 Holy Bull S.
February 1st, 2020

Winning Time: 1:42.04
  • Purse: $250,000
  • Distance: 1 1/16 Miles
  • Age: 3 yo
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Winning Time: 1:42.04
Results
Win
Place
Show
1st
3 Tiz the Law
$4.60
$3.00
$2.20
3rd
1 Toledo
$2.20
5th
7 Mayberry Deputy
6th
2 Uncork the Bottle
7th
5 Clear Destination
  • Owner / Colebrook Farms
  • Breeder / Seek Again Syndicate & Cedar Gate Farm LLC
Payoff
Pick 3
1-4-3
1-4-3
$109
Daily Double
4-3
4-3
$51
Exacta
3-4
3-4
$10
Quinella
3-4
3-4
$12
Superfecta
3-4-1-6
3-4-1-6
$5
Super High Five
3-4-1-6-7
3-4-1-6-7
$102
Trifecta
3-4-1
3-4-1
$9
Race Replay
Play
Payoff
Pick 3
1-4-3
1-4-3
$109
Daily Double
4-3
4-3
$51
Exacta
3-4
3-4
$10
Quinella
3-4
3-4
$12
Superfecta
3-4-1-6
3-4-1-6
$5
Super High Five
3-4-1-6-7
3-4-1-6-7
$102
Trifecta
3-4-1
3-4-1
$9

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