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Jackson Bend Tops Holy Bull

Jackson Bend
Photo: Jim Lisa Photos

Robert LaPenta’s Jackson Bend, William Schettine’s Piscitelli and Dogwood Stable’s Aikenite are three of the high-profile 3-year-olds in a field of nine entered to make their highly-anticipated season debuts in Saturday’s $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park. The one-turn mile test is almost certain to identify candidates for the Florida Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) in the months ahead.

Jockey Jeremy Rose will ride Jackson Bend for the first time as he makes his first start for LaPenta and trainer Nick Zito. A majority interest in the chestnut colt was purchased privately after he drew off to a very impressive 2 ¾ lengths victory in the $400,000 In Reality Division finale of the Florida Stallion Stakes going 1 1/16 miles at Calder Race Course on Oct. 17 for owner-breeder Jacks or Better Farm and trainer Stanley Gold.

A Florida-bred chestnut son of freshman stallion Hear No Evil, Jackson Bend won his last five starts at Calder after a runner-up debut there on May 9 and overcame a very poor beginning when stumbling badly leaving the gate at the start of the In Reality with Thank U Philippe second and Bim Bam third.

While Jackson Bend established his reputation in restricted races at Calder, Piscitelli and Aikenite were last seen on the larger stage at Santa Anita finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, in the $ 2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) on Nov. 7. They both make their first starts since with Kent Desormeaux back aboard the Piscitelli and John R. Velazquez getting the call on Aikenite.

Piscitelli went into the Breeders’ Cup a 50-to-1 longshot and surprised when going to the front early in the race after closing from last of 14 and finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland in his previous appearance. A son of Victory Gallop, Piscitelli came again when headed in mid-stretch and fought on gamely to fourth, beaten only three-quarters of a length for it all.

While Piscitelli was up front setting pace in the Juvenile, Aikenite was in tight quarters behind him, finishing fifth, beaten 2 ½ lengths by the winner. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Aikenite is a son of Yes It’s True that won his debut at Saratoga, finished third in the Hopeful (G1) at the Spa and second in the Breeders’ Futurity, beaten a half-length by Noble’s Promise prior to the Breeders’ Cup.

Also likely to attract support in the highly-accomplished field assembled for the Holy Bull is Louis Lazzinarro and partners’ Homeboykris with Edgar Prado aboard for trainer Rick Dutrow. The son of Roman Ruler was a private purchase after two starts at Calder and won the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park in October. In one start since, he finished fifth in the Remsen Stakes (G2) behind Buddy’s Saint.

Completing the field for the Holy Bull are Kramer Stables and William Rosenfeld’s Thank U Philippe, Eddie Castro; Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Litigation Risk, Alan Garcia; Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s William’s Kitten, Julien Leparoux; Fox Hill Farm’s Winslow Homer, Ramon Dominguez; and Vinery Stables’ Wild Lime, Jose Lezcano.


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Older Comments about Jackson Bend Tops Holy Bull...

Hope you're right about Winslow Homer, because he's my pick in the Holy Bull.
If you go back and watch Winslow Homer's first three races he shows definitive improvement both in terms of overall ability, push-button speed and ratability. I expect him to run big in the Holy Bull.
This is a big early test for Jackson Bend. Winslow Home, however, is bred to run far and Tony Dutrow is winning everything in sight but the lottery.

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