Holy Bull Stakes Preview

The Picks:

Best bet to win – #4 Hansen

Best longshot – #1 Silver Max

Top 4 – 4,6,2,1

About the Race:  Florida’s road to the Kentucky Derby starts off with a bang Sunday when recently crowned two year old of the year champion Hansen, squares off in the $400,000 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park against five other rivals.  The Grade 3 Holy Bull serves as the first of three preps for the Kentucky Derby at Gulfstream, along with the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on Feb. 26 and Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 31.  The field is a bit disappointing considering that $400,000 worth of graded earnings are available.  With only six horses running, it might show how much the other trainers think of Hansen.  He’ll be tough to beat at this distance.

The Field:

1. Silver Max (KY)It took Silver Max 6 races to break his maiden, but don’t let that fool you.  In his previous five races he finished second in all five of them, and was never beaten more than 2 lengths in any of the five.  His last race was a stylish performance as he cruised in wire to wire fashion going one mile, easing to a three and one-quarter length victory.  One has to wonder, has the light came on and is Silver Max ready to take the next step, or did he catch a weak group of maidens and will he be out-classed here?  Chances are the answer is a little bit of both.  He won’t have things all his way up front like he did in the last one.  I would view him as a value play in this race.  He’s got the most upside besides Algorithms and Hansen, so why not play him if you like longer priced horses.

2. Consortium (KY)His maiden victory at Aqueduct was extremely sharp, and he was actually favored over Algorithms in an Allowance in his next race.  Even thought Algorithms got the best of him that day, Consortium didn’t embarrass himself, and with a little improvement he can compete with the top two.  Like Silver Max, Consortium has a lot of upside.  Unlike Silver Max, I don’t think you’ll quite get the value that will be needed to bet him.

3. My Adonis (KY)Something obviously went wrong in his last race, the Delta Jackpot, as he faded badly finishing 9th beaten 27 lengths.  It’s questionable as to how talented this horse really can be.  He competed nicely in a couple of ungraded stakes, but can he be a graded stakes horse?  I’m thinking not, but this is a logical place for him to try.  The field has come up short, and outside the top two, 3rd place seems wide open.

4. Hansen (KY)There is no need to go on and on about Hansen.  Bottom line: If he runs to his two-year old form, he should be able to win this race.  His only real challenge will come from Algorithms, but Hansen is the class of the field

5. Fort Loudon (FL)This will be Fort Loudon’s first race since finishing an average 7th in the Breeders Cup Juvenile last November.  As far as class is concerned, he is the second best horse in the field.  The jury is still out on just how talented this one is though.  As a two-year old he took full advantage of Florida Bred races, and that strategy lead to several wins.  Now he has to consistently go up against open company if he wants to become a Derby horse, and I’m not sure he can handle that.

6. Algorithms (KY)Algorithms looks to be the main threat to Hansen, at least in my eyes.  He’s only raced twice, but has been flawless in both of them.  His maiden win at Belmont was a breeze for him, and his Allowance win of Consortium was done very nicely as well.  Todd Pletcher is dominating Gulfstream, and Algorithms taking the Holy Bull would not be shocking to anyone.  I would be more inclined to pick him first, but I think the longer races will actually suit this horse better.  He may not be able to take down Hansen at a mile, but Algorithms is by Bernardini so he’s bred to go long.

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