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Itsmyluckyday Wins the Holy Bull in Record Time

So 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.

Shanghai 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.
What 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.
Let’s 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 in May.
Would 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 IdentityFrac 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.
Let’s 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.  
As 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. 


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Older Comments about Itsmyluckyday Wins the Holy Bull in Record Time...

To call this well reasoned article "completely FLAWED" based on one discrepancy (an erroneous one at that) is over the top.
*Editor's Note* - Just because there was a name change, impeachthespeaker, does not mean the race did not exist before becoming the Holy Bull.
Go for Gin was a recipient of what many winning K, Derby colts received: PEAKING on the right weekend.
I think this article is completely FLAWED. The year that Go For Gin raced this race DID not exist. This race was named (ironically so) after Holy Bull who raced AGAINST Go for Gin in 1994. Go For Gin was never much and was one of those "fluke horses" who caught a sloppy track in a year that the favorite Holy Bull was only to lose two races. Some even say The "Bull was drugged prior to the KD and that it was a fix because of all the money the bookmakers took on the Bull leading up to the race.
Bobby isn't getting any credit at all from most people, despite the layoff, despite coming from the one and setting a solid pace, and despite the "BC curse." IMLD is fast. If you couldn't see that after his GP Derby win you were blind. I don't think any horse has run a faster mile than him this meet. That will most likely hold true for 8.5f as well, now. He did not show a limitation today, he got beaten by a faster and better horse on the day. IMLD was sharper, had a better post, and IMO was the horse who posed the biggest threat to Bobby. If I didn't think that the horse wouldn't have been so high up on my initial Derby list. Both horses ran tremendous races. Bobby really had no excuse, simply was beaten. But those calling out distance limitations better take a second look. All of their favorites that were supposed to nail him finished over 11 in back of him. He did not tire, he actually acclerated with IMLD, that one simply just was the faster horse.
He looked really good today. Shanghai Bobby isn't getting nearly enough credit for running second to a winner that set a new track record. Going forward, these two are ones to keep an eye on despite what people are saying about Bobby's "distance limitations."
The Monmouth Park runner put up a 104 BSF, which is a very Derby worthy number.
Absolutely ... I mentioned after his last race that he reminds me a lot of his excellent sire, Lawyer Ron.

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Meet Bryan Brinkmeyer  


Growing up across the river from the Bluegrass State, I was able to spend a lot of summer days at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky. It was there that my attraction to the Sport of Kings began. In the spring of 2000, I made my inaugural Kentucky Derby appearance, and the tradition continues annually because there is no other city in the racing world like Louisville, Ky., on Derby Day.

Although the story of a Kentucky Derby winner is legendary, a champion's trail is what The Kentucky Derby Post is all about. It begins when 2-year-olds hit the track continues until the field is set, the picks are in, and the roses are awarded. 

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