A week after Shanghai Bobby
was named 2012 Eclipse champion
2-year-old in ceremonies at Gulfstream Park, the undefeated early
favorite for the Kentucky Derby (G1) launches his 2013 season as a solid
favorite in Saturday’s $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles.
Jockey Rosie Napravnik flies in from New Orleans for the mount on
Shanghai Bobby in the deep and talented field of 10 potential Triple
Crown prospects. Napravnik rode Shanghai Bobby to all five of his
victories last year for trainer Todd Pletcher, climaxed by a hard-fought
head decision in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa
Anita on Nov. 3.
Shanghai Bobby drew the rail for Saturday’s race. He was made the 4-5 morning-line favorite.
After posting his final workout for the Holy Bull at Palm Meadows on
Sunday morning Pletcher said, “It went great. It looks like he’s right
"He’s grown up, filling out, all the things you want to see from him
going into his 3-year-old year,” added the nine-time defending
Gulfstream training champion.
Purchased for $105,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales by
Starlight Racing, the son of Harlan’s Holiday is now co-owned by the
Coolmore team of Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.
Prior to the Breeders’ Cup Shanghai Bobby posted major stakes
victories in the Hopeful Stakes (G2) at Saratoga by 3 ¾ lengths and
Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park by five lengths. Starlight Racing
raced Harlan’s Holiday, winner of the 2002 Florida Derby (G1).
The presence of Shanghai Bobby in the field obviously didn’t
discourage the connections of other owners and trainers that hope to
have a prospect for the $1 million Florida Derby here on March 30 later
in the meet and Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday
Prominent among the challengers are Magic City Thoroughbred
Partners’ Frac Daddy, David Cohen; Sienna Farm’s Dewey Square, Corey
Lanarie; Lori and George Hall’s Bern Identity, Paco Lopez; Trilogy
Stable and Laurie Plesa’s Itsmyluckyday, Paco Lopez; and Curtis Green’s
Tulira Castle, Javier Castellano.
A son of 2007 Florida Derby hero Scat Daddy, Frac Daddy is trained
by Ken McPeek and makes his first start since losing a neck decision
when second to Uncaptured in the 1 1/16 miles Kentucky Jockey Club
Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24.
In two previous starts Frac Daddy finished third in his debut going a
mile on a ‘muddy’ track at Belmont in early October and broke his
maiden by nearly 10 lengths stretching out to 1 1/16 miles at Churchill
on Nov. 3.
McPeek echoed the sentiments of several other trainers in Saturday's
race when he said: “At some point, we’ve got to figure out whether we
can or we can’t run with him (Shanghai Bobby). I’d rather find out now
than find out later. He’s (Frac Daddy) a horse that will run all day.
Even if he didn’t win at this particular distance, I wouldn’t be
Dewey Square also comes into the Holy Bull after three starts as a
2-year-old for trainer Dale Romans, who collected his own Eclipse Award
last Saturday evening. A son of Bernardini, Dewey Square won his first
two starts, the first at Hoosier Park in September going 7 ½ furlongs
and a 1 1/16 miles allowance at Churchill Downs in October before
rallying to a good third-place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club,
beaten 1 ½ lengths for it all.
Trained by Kelly Breen, Bern Identity will get his share of support.
The son of Bernstein had three wins, two seconds and a third in as many
starts last year, winning the Sanford Stakes (G2) and finishing third
in the Hopeful behind Shanghai Bobby at Saratoga. He makes his first
start since finishing second in the rich Delta Jackpot (G3) at Delta
Downs on Nov. 17.
Itsmyluckyday has the advantage of a stakes victory over the
Gulfstream track and Holy Bull distance as he drew off to capture the
$100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby by 6 ¾ lengths on New Year’s Day for
trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr. The victory was his fourth in eight starts
after racing at Monmouth Park, Calder and Delta Downs last year. The son
of Lawyer Ron was purchased for $110,000 at the OBS March 2-year-old
Tulira Castle also has a win over the Gulfstream track at the meet
as he was very impressive in a 2 ¼ lengths allowance score going a mile
on Dec. 8 in his first start on dirt for trainer Jim DiVito. The
Kentucky homebred by War Pass finished second and first in two starts at
Arlington Park to begin his career before a good runner-up effort in a
Keeneland allowance in mid-October, all three races run on Polytrack
“It is what it is,” said Divito when asked about facing Shanghai
Bobby. “At least we’ll know where we fit in the 3-year-old program.
That’s the thing I want to see. There are races at other places for him
and other races here. We’ll give it a shot and go for it. We’re here;
he’s training good and he’s in good shape.”
A longshot that deserves respect in the field is Up Hill Stable’s
Clearly Now with jockey Luis Saez to ride for trainer Brian Lynch. The
son of Horse Greeley ran three times at Woodbine in Canada last year
winning his first two starts sprinting and finishing third in the
$250,000 Display Stakes at 1 1/16 miles after setting the pace to
“He showed ability from the start with his first two wins,” said
Lynch. “I might have had him a little too fresh for his first start
going a distance in the Display, but I think I learned a little bit
about him that will help this time. This is the time of year (for a
3-year-old) you want to see what you have.”
Completing the field are Rosa Stephany Tavera’ Sr. Quisqueyano, Joel
Rosario; Ramona Bass’ Fredericksburg, John Velazquez; and Rose Family
Stable’s Joshua’s Comprise.