the questions we were waiting on have been answered. Shanghai Bobby isn’t perfect
and there is more room on the list of 2013 Kentucky Derby contenders. Itsmyluckyday was much the best in the G3 Holy Bull Stakes and the huge effort was
rewarded with the unlikeliest of achievements: a new track record.
Bobby broke fast from the inside and set the pace with legitimate fractions out
front :23.34 and :46.68. Clearly Now was pressing while Itsmyluckday was
tracking three-wide in third. Clearly Now backed out at the 3/16th pole and
Itsmyluckyday went to work on the undefeated 2-yr-old champion. Wearing him
down became a success at the top of the stretch and from there it was all Itsmyluckyday
who scored going away by 2
¾ lengths. Clearly Now held check for third and Joshua’s Comprise was urged
from the back of the pack to get up for fourth.
jumps out at you right away in the 2013 Holy Bull Stakes is not that
Itsmyluckyday was game enough to win but rather how he did it; in Record time.
1:41.81 is the new the track record on the dirt at Gulfstream Park for the
distance of 1 1/16 mile. The winning time also becomes the fastest Holy Bull
Stakes since Go for Gin’s victory in 1994. But, are we willing to compare him to
Itsmyluckyday? I know I’m not ready to go there yet but for now I will say that
this horse is a justifiable contender.
begin with what everybody probably likes most about the new face on the
Kentucky Derby trail. He’s 2 for 2 at Gulfstream Park in January and looks like
he’s only getting better. His 3-yr-old campaign began on New Year’s Day in the 1
Mile Gulfstream Park Derby. He didn’t set any track records but his performance
was almost as impressive. He came away with a 6 ¾ length victory and a BSF that
should have got more attention than it did going into the Holy Bull. He proved
today that he was prepared to hold form and that leads me to believe that he,
just like his daddy, will be able to carry it even further.
Lawyer Ron concluded his 2-yr-old season just like Itsmyluckyday opened his 3-yr-old season. When you look these two races a little closer you’ll see that there is
only one calendar day difference between the two. Lawyer Ron rang in the New
Year a little earlier when he scored the non-graded Diamond Jo Stakes at
Evangeline Downs on December 31, 2005. Then, on the third weekend of the year
he made a huge step towards the Kentucky Derby when
he scored his first ever Graded Stakes victory, the G3 Risen Star. From there
he remained undefeated on the year after scoring the Oaklawn trifecta, Southwest – Rebel –
Arkansas Derby, before finishing a disappointing 12th on the first Saturday
you agree that these two look a lot alike so far? They were both very active
2-yr-olds but didn’t get the derby train rolling until they scored back
to back stakes victories by mid-January of the 3-yr-old season. What’s even
more reassembly is that those wins came in such convincing fashion for both
father and son. But, that’s where the comparison ends for now as we wait to see Itsmyluckyday next time out. Until then, I
like this comparison so far and I very much like what I saw today in the Holy
Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
On to our second place finisher and what this means about his road to the Kentucky Derby. There
has been much talk about Shanghai Bobby since he became the hard working
2-yr-old champion that refused to lose in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa
Anita last November. While this race will put more of a spotlight on his
ability to perform in the Kentucky Derby distance of 1 ¼ mile there are still
some positive takeaways. This was a two horse race and he was
second best by over 11 lengths. Coming into the Holy Bull Stakes Bern Identity, Frac Daddy and Dewey Square appeared to be carrying their weight so far on the road to the Kentucky
Derby. But today, they were nowhere to be found. Shanghai Bobby
on the other hand was there and he raced tough.
look at how this race would have unfolded if Itsmyluckyday wasn’t racing. If
so, Shanghai Bobby would have won. In fact, he probably would have won big and
his Kentucky Derby stock would have gone up again. But, that’s not what
happened. What did happen, however, shouldn’t be overanalyzed, or at
least not yet. Shanghai Bobby just returned after a 2 ½ month layoff and today he met
his match, a horse that was fresh and just beginning to find it. SB wasn’t
intimidated though and he gave his challenger all that he had. At the end of the day
it wasn’t enough but if I had to guess, Todd Pletcher and Starlight Racing aren’t
feeling defeated. In my estimation the start to his 2013
campaign was successful. His journey to the next stop, the G1 Florida Derby, is
on and while there is work to be done, he’s still on course for now.
for the no shows today I won’t speculate on their Derby hopes until word from their
connections become official. Of course we hope that they return to their barns
in good health but if so, that will raise a lot of questions about where they
will go next and if they will be able to write this one off. Fortunately, the
road is still in the early stages so I hope to see them get back on track and
return with a better effort next time out.
Finally, where do you now rank Itsmyluckyday and what do you make of his chances of becoming the next Holy Bull Stakes entry to win the Roses? It's been done by Go for Gin in 1994, Funny Cide in 2003 (finished 5th in Holy Bull) and Barbaro in 2006 (Won the Holy Bull) and will likely be done again in the near future because the race is a perfect prep for the G1 Florida Derby. Is this new Kentucky Derby contender in a good position to follow these champions or is it too early to tell? For me, I will need to see more but again, I like what I saw today.