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Breeders Cup 2015

Preakness bonus series starts in Holy Bull

The 2011 Preakness is still more than four months away, but the MI Developments Preakness 5.5 kicks off here next Sunday with the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes. The Preakness 5.5 is a $5.5 million bonus that will be awarded to the owner and trainer of any 3-year-old who wins a series of races at MID tracks culminating with the Preakness at Pimlico on May 21. To earn the bonus, a horse must first win the Holy Bull or Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream; the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields; or the Grade 2 Robert Lewis or Grade 2 San Felipe at Santa Anita. Those qualifiers must then win either the Grade 1 Florida Derby or Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby as a prelude to a victory in the Preakness.

MID is also offering a $2.2 million companion bonus for 3-year-old fillies culminating with a victory in Pimlico’s Black-Eyed Susan on May 20.

The Holy Bull is shaping up to be the best 3-year-old race to date in 2011. A field of eight to 10 is expected, topped by Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Boys at Tosconova, Delta Jackpot winner Gourmet Dinner, Nashua and Remsen runner-up Mucho Macho Man, Black N Beauty, and several others from among a group that includes Casper’s Touch, Reprized Halo, Sweet Ducky, Shadow Warrior, Leave of Absence, Printing Press, and Rescind the Offer, according to racing secretary Dan Bork.

On Thursday, Gourmet Dinner had his most serious work since shipping locally from Calder two weeks ago, zipping five furlongs in 58.40 seconds under jockey Sebastian Madrid in company shortly after the first renovation break here. Gourmet Dinner posted splits of 34.70 for three-eighths and 46.52 for a half, leaving his company approaching the eighth pole before shading 12 for his final furlong when put to some pressure by Madrid. Gourmet Bull galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.52.

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