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ARCADIA, CA – Courtlandt Farms homebred Greatest Honour rolled four-wide through the far turn and drew off in the stretch to triumph in Saturday’s $200,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Greatest Honour was the 5/2 second choice as he broke from post 7 with Jose Ortiz in the irons, then traveled two-wide into the clubhouse turn while near the rear of the field.
Jirafales, Amount, Tarantino, and the even-money favorite Prime Factor briefly raced four-abreast while cornering before Amount and Prime Factor backed off slightly.
Jirafales raced just ahead of Tarantino through opening fractions of :23.28 and :46.97 but came under fire as the field bunched heading into the far turn.
The top choice on the tote ranged up three-wide midway through and looked for a moment as if he might run off, but he failed to quicken as Greatest Honour came rallying along his outside.
The Shug McGaughey trainee cut the corner sharply and drew off impressively, crossing 5 3/4 lengths clear in a final time of 1:43.19 for the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route.
“He broke well today,” Ortiz said. “I was able to have a clean run to the first turn. He sat pretty nicely. He wanted to back up a little and I tapped him on the shoulder and he picked me up and he took me on a great ride. I was really, really happy going to the 5/8 (pole). I was following Prime Factor and I was just on the inside of him. Luckily, I didn’t have to fight for any position. I was just able to take it. Honestly, when I put myself four-wide in the clear, I showed him the whip one time and from that point, I knew I was going to have a really, really good shot to win. When we got to the 1/4 pole, I knew I had it.”
Tarantino fought on well to save second by 3 3/4 lengths over Prime Factor, himself 3/4 of a length in front of Papetu.
A three-way photo for fifth went to Jirafales over Sittin On Go and Awesome Gerry by a pair of noses, respectively, while Willy Boi completed the order of finish in the race restricted to 3-year-olds.
Amount was pulled up in the stretch and walked off under his own power.
The Holy Bull is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Greatest Honour earned 10 points for the win, with Tarantino receiving 4 for second, Prime Factor 2 for third, and Papetu 1 for fourth.
Greatest Honour’s win was his second straight following a maiden-breaking effort over this course and distance on December 26 and improved his overall record to 5-2-1-2. The Tapit colt has now bankrolled $175,240 and will point to the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) here on February 27.
“He was kind of a big clown and did what he wanted to do all summer,” McGaughey said of the struggle to get him to break his maiden. “We got him ready to run at Saratoga. Sprinting wasn’t going to be his bag, but I think those two sprint races sort of helped him to learn and learn how to finish. We took him over to Aqueduct and he had a big race there and just got beat. He came here and his 2 races here have been very good. The distances helped too – two turns. I think the farther we go, the better.”
Greatest Honour returned $7.60 to win, $4.40 to place, and $2.60 to show. Tarantino brought back $14.60 to place and $5.60 to show, while Prime Factor paid $2.40 to show.
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