Saturday plays: Cyclone Mischief is the key in the Holy Bull

Saturday plays: Cyclone Mischief is the key in the Holy Bull
Photo: Lauren King / Gulfstream Park

Even though trainer Dale Romans has not been the most reliable trainer over the past few years, the rest of the field in the Grade 3, $250,000 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream on Saturday looks slow enough to give him a shot. Romans starts the promising two-time winner Cyclone Mischief.    

Click here for Gulfstream Park entries and results.

Before discussing his entry Cyclone Mischief though, here are bets for the Grade 3, $125,000 Swale Stakes and Grade 3, $125,000 Forward Gal Stakes.

Gulfstream Race 6: Swale Stakes (G3)

The favorite Super Chow shows no experience at seven furlongs, and the one time he tried 6 1/2 furlongs, he faded and lost by 10 1/4 lengths.

General Jim is the more attractive option, especially since either Two of a Kind or Aaraj, or both of them, will contest the pace with Super Chow. In General Jim’s most recent start, he ran a troubled fourth in the one-mile Mucho Macho Man Stakes after remaining blocked in the stretch.

Even though General Jim lacks a dirt win, he deserves another shot off that effort. He had the capability to win that race with a cleaner trip.  

If General Jim starts at 5/2 or higher, he is playable.

Since a straight exacta with Super Chow will pay almost nothing, slot other options in in the second slot at better prices.  

Win: 1 (at 5/2 or higher)

Exacta: 1 / 2, 4

Gulfstream Race 10: Forward Gal Stakes (G3)

Besides the favorite Atomically or Red Carpet Ready, another interesting option is Lynx, who lost to Atomically in the My Dear Girl Stakes last October by 6 3/4 lengths at the one mile and one-sixteenth distance. 

Notice Lynx’s best efforts came around one turn, such as in her recent start when she finished a good third in the local Cash Run Stakes while losing by 2 ¼ lengths. For that effort, Lynx earned career-high 94 on TimeformUS.

Now Lynx cuts back to seven furlongs. Last October, Lynx won the seven-furlong Susan’s Girl Stakes for Florida-breds easily by 4 3/4 lengths.

If Atomically reverts back to her My Dear Girl form though, Lynx could end up running for second. Most horses deserve a pass for a poor Breeders' Cup running line as those are not normal Grade 1 races. She can bounce back. Also, Red Carpet Ready can prove tough to beat if she handles the seven-furlong distance while facing other pace opponents.

What if Lynx is played on top and backwheeled under those two fillies?

Watch the exacta payoffs to see if this strategy makes sense.

Win: 6 (at 9/2 or higher)

Exacta: 3,8 / 6

Gulfstream Race 12: Holy Bull Stakes (G3)

Trainer Dale Romans has been hard to trust on the Derby trail and graded stakes races in general, especially at Gulfstream. Just last year, the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) blog choice Howling Time finished a bad ninth in that points race. 

Romans is not incapable of winning a points race at Gulfstream though. Look up Promises Fulfilled in the 2018 Fountain of Youth. In addition, Romans' does bring a talented and promising colt in Cyclone Mischief.

Cyclone Mischief took a local one-mile optional claiming race on Jan. 8 by 5 3/4 lengths after stalking the pace from the inside. He can handle a two-turn route too. Last October, Cyclone Mischief broke his maiden by a similar margin in a mile and one-sixteenth race at Keeneland with pressing tactics.

In between those starts, Cyclone Mischief finished a disappointing seventh in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), which initially seemed slow based on final time. But the race turned out stronger than expected with Instant Coffee winning the Lecomte Stakes (G3) in his next start and the fourth-place Red Route One rallying for second in the Southwest Stakes (G3) behind Arabian Knight.

When Cyclone Mischief contested the pace in the Kentucky Jockey Club, maybe he went too slow in the early stages rather than break the race open and attempt to create separation. In dirt racing, if the leader does not open up by the far turn, his chances of winning start to decrease. 

As for the Holy Bull pace scenario, Legacy Isle is expected to go to the lead. It is unclear who will apply the pressure to Legacy Isle, but Cyclone Mischief can take up the role if no other horse wants to press. Otherwise, Cyclone Mischief can also stalk the leaders as he did in the optional claimer.

Cyclone Mischief might face a late challenge from Lord Miles, who closed for third in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes. Even though Lord Miles can win this race in his third career start, his 91 TimeformUS Speed Figure is significantly slower than Cyclone Mischief’s recent 104 in the optional claimer. Plus, Lord Miles is likely to become overbet with Irad Ortiz Jr. taking the mount and Saffie Joseph Jr. starting him at his home track.

Also check out Rocket Can, who finished a good second by only half a length to Confidence Game on the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) undercard at Churchill Downs. Last October, Rocket Can also broke his maiden over the slop around two turns.

Notice both of those efforts from Rocket Can came at the 1 1/16-mile distance, which means he should enjoy the Holy Bull distance. But the knock against him is Post 8, as he runs the risk of going wide. 

A trifecta with Cyclone Mischief keyed on top is the play.

Win: 4 (at 2-1 or higher)

Trifecta: 4 / 1,8 / 1,2,3,8

Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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