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Across the Board with Mike B

Kentucky Derby 2014: A Look Back at The Holy Bull

Cairo Prince HB 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire


Going into The Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park, we all knew it was loaded with talent and the best prep on paper to date. Well, it did not disappoint as the winner, Cairo Prince, put on a powerful performance in demolishing this field. As we take a look back at the race now, some of the perceived talent just did not pan out for some reason or another. I am not taking anything away from the winner, he was definitely impressive. I just thought a few horses I was very high on did not show their best that day. It is very possible I was just flat wrong in assessing a few of the contenders and gave them more credit than they deserved. Regardless, here is my take on this race moving forward…


Cairo PrinceGoing into this race I knew he could win, but I wasn’t completely sold either. Boy, did he prove me wrong. He annihilated this field. He was 5-6 wide going into the first turn, pressed a quick pace while wide the whole backstretch, and then took over at the quarter pole and crushed the field. It was an impressive performance to say the least. He is obviously super talented and will be a major contender wherever he ends up next.


Wicked StrongThis guy was my top selection in here. I really loved him going into this race and I haven’t a clue what to make of him now. He was 4-5 wide on the first turn, 3-4 wide on the backstretch in what I thought was a nice spot stalking considering the pace, and then he showed absolutely nothing without an excuse. He just dropped right out of it. No idea what to make of him moving forward. Wherever he ends up next I would demand a price if you even want to forgive him. He needs to show more if he wants to continue on the Derby Trail.  


Conquest TitanI am not sure of what to make of the runner up moving forward. I do believe he definitely needs pace to close into. He dropped to the rail at the back of the pack in this race, swung wide into the lane turning for home, but he never threatened the winner. It will be interesting to see how he progresses from this race and as the distances increase. Maybe more ground will help his late running style.


Intense HolidayI thought this Pletcher trainee ran very well to capture third in here. He broke widest of all and was 7-8 wide into the first turn, raced at the back of the pack, and still got up for third. He got an education this race for sure. He took some dirt in his face and raced in traffic while going between horses. Going forward I am not too high on him, but he’s not that bad either. He is one to keep an eye on I suppose.


Mr SpeakerIt will be interesting to see if he stays on the Derby Trail, or becomes strictly a turf horse. He was 4 wide going into the first turn, pressed a quick pace in a perfect spot, and then faded and had nothing late. It wasn’t a terrible first try on the main track against a pretty nice field. Was it the pace that hurt him or did he just not like the dirt? If he showed up in another Derby prep I’d give him a look possibly.


Almost FamousThis colt dueled up front with Coup De Grace (who is officially off the Derby Trail) while pressing quick fractions. He may need an easy lead to show his best. If he doesn’t learn to rate I don’t think he will do much damage moving forward. He did hold on to fill out the Super, which I guess is okay. But moving forward I do not think I will be backing him.


Financial MogulHe had a stalking trip from the rail behind that quick pace then made a middle move and flattened out. I was not impressed.


As we rumble along the Derby Trail towards the first Saturday in May, I think there are a few key horses we need to keep an eye on moving forward. First is the obvious, Cairo Prince. This was a very nice win for him and he is obviously talented. He is on the short list of legit Derby contenders right now in my eyes. With that said, I am not completely sold on him yet and I am not exactly sure why. I look forward to seeing how he progresses coming out of this race. He may indeed be the real deal. Conquest Titan and Intense Holiday are a couple of horses that we should keep on the back burner and see how they improve going forward. I am not that high on either, but I don’t want to count them out just yet. I have not heard yet what the plans are for Mr Speaker. If he were to get another shot on the Derby Trail, I might give him another look it is quite possible he could improve. And lastly, maybe I am a bitter bettor because I had him on top and cannot believe he ran so poorly, but I have a feeling Wicked Strong will show a better account of himself in his next start.




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Older Comments about Kentucky Derby 2014: A Look Back at The Holy Bull...

CP was passed by most of the field after the wire. He can probably beat this bunch all day long at this distance - provided he gets the same setup. But that's really not saying much.
I think your right Dani, I just couldn't put my finger on it. I look forward to seeing a lot of these colts next out
Shug said after the Holy Bull that Mr Speaker was going back to turf races. I believe he'll show up in the Palm Beach next. Conquest Titan needs to not be so far out of it. He is definitely a one run type of runner, but he was not supposed to have been dead last in the Holy Bull.
Maybe you aren't sold because, despite the fact he was nearly 6 clear, he was being ridden while displaying body language that did not sugest that he wanted to run much farther. He also did get the perfect set up. He rated just off a fast pace and took over when the speed stopped. I think that contributed more to his win, the fact that most of the pace folded as he made his move. He didn't give the impression of wanting to go much longer, even after he had a fairly decent trip, in the clear, tracking the pace. In his only try at 9f, he was again in the clear, made the same move he has in every other race, but did not put Honor Code away. IMO, it looks like he tops out at 9f, and that a talented closer will gobble him up at that distance, if he faces another honest pace.
Wicked Strong was a mess in post parade. Castellano had to get off him quite a few times and then was a mess in the gate. MAy be worth another shot at double digit odds.
Runs great and gorgeous to boot! Still a bit early to make any predictions,
One horse I am not giving up on is Almost Famous. He looked great in the post parade, and he battled early. Fourth in the Holy Bull, but I see improvement in his future.

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 Meet Michael Barry   


 It all started 5 years ago for me after a spur of the moment trip to Saratoga Springs with my future wife.  I had always bet on the Triple Crown races, and made a few trips to Suffolk Downs annually, but not until that journey to The Spa did things get serious for me.  I fell in love with horse racing right then and there and I haven’t looked back since.  The following year I read every handicapping book I could get my hands on.  I became, and still am, a very passionate student of the game. 


Through this blog I hope to take you guys through my favorite aspect of the game, which is breaking down races and doping out winners.  I focus my attention between the NYRA circuit (mostly), Gulfstream Park, and Keeneland.  I also plan to provide very thorough coverage leading up to the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup.  I love analyzing the prep races leading up to both of those grand events. 


Wagering wise, I love playing pick 4’s and 5’s, and I have enjoyed some success in the past playing those types of exotics.  In any given race, I try to attack based on strength of opinion and value.  That may be in the form of an exacta, trifecta, superfecta, daily double, pick 3, or by laddering my choice across the board.  Every race is its own animal and must be played accordingly.


Personally, I am a graduate of Boston University and reside on the South Shore of Massachusetts with my beautiful wife Tara and wonderful son Finn.  I work as a technician for a communications company by day. 


I can be found on Twitter @mbarry24 and I’m always up to discuss anything horse racing related.

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