Kentucky Derby prep: Holy Bull 2023 odds and analysis

Kentucky Derby prep: Holy Bull 2023 odds and analysis
Photo: Lauren King / Gulfstream Park

Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Holy Bull is the first of three points races at Gulfstream Park on the road to Kentucky Derby 2023. The 1 1/16-mile race drew a field of eight 3-year-olds that will compete for the 20-8-6-4-2 points for the top five eligible finishers.

The field does not have an established Kentucky Derby contender since none of these 3-year-olds won any Derby qualifying points yet. Five of the horses won only a maiden race, two have an allowance victory and one of them was disqualified from a stakes win.

Here is a full-field analysis for the Holy Bull with the morning line from the Horse Racing Nation staff. The Holy Bull is scheduled as race 12 of 12 with post time is for 5:43 p.m. EST.

1. Lord Miles (5-2 – Curlin – Saffie Joseph Jr. / Irad Ortiz Jr. – 2: 1-0-1 - $38,100) Lord Miles was a debut winner at Gulfstream in November when he won a six-furlong maiden special weight by almost six lengths with a closing move. He came back in a one-turn mile in the Mucho Macho Man on Jan. 1 and again made a strong late run to finish third, missing the win by less than a length. Saffie Joseph won the Holy Bull last year with White Abarrio and went on to run 16th in the Kentucky Derby. Win contender.

2. West Coast Cowboy (12-1 – West Coast – Saffie Joseph Jr. / Edgard Zayas – 2: 1-0-0 - $26,200) West Coast Cowboy was another maiden winner in his first start for the Joseph barn. He was a front-end winner in September going a mile at Gulfstream on a sloppy track. He moved to an allowance, where he raced evenly to finish fourth, and has been off since then. He is unlikely to get to the lead in this field. Toss.

3. Shadow Dragon (15-1 – Army Mule – Bill Mott / Jose Ortiz – 2: 1-0-0 - $43,550) Shadow Dragon is the first of two in this field for Bill Mott, who is looking for his first win in the Holy Bull. This New York-bred was a debut winner in September at Aqueduct in a state-bred maiden when he rallied from 14 lengths behind to get the victory. Mott moved him to a New York-bred stakes, and he was not able to muster another big closing move going a mile. Toss.

4. Cyclone Mischief (3-1 – Into Mischief – Dale Romans / Tyler Gaffalione – 4: 2-0-1 - $112,450) Trainer Dale Romans has had the Derby trail in mind since Cyclone Mischief showed up in his barn. He made his first start in September at Churchill Downs going a mile, where he pressed the pace and finished third at 3-1. He got the maiden win at Keeneland a month later by more than five lengths with another pace-pressing trip. Cyclone Mischief then got on the Derby trail in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) but could not sustain his speed and finished seventh behind two-time stakes winner Instant Coffee. Romans brought him back in an allowance last month at Gulfstream, which he won convincingly with more of a stalking trip. As is his way, Romans has had lots to say about Cyclone Mischief, and that has made the him the buzz horse in the Holy Bull. Win contender.

5. Mr Bob (8-1 – Practical Joke – Rob Falcone Jr. / Joel Rosario – 4: 1-1-1 - $89,276) Mr Bob was claimed for $75,000 from his first start at Saratoga when he finished third. He came back to the races in October at Keeneland in a $150,000 maiden claimer and found the winner’s circle at 5-2 in a sprint after pressing the pace. Mr Bob moved to a stakes race in the Ed Brown at Churchill and was beaten by a length. In the Mucho Macho Man he stretched out to a mile and lost any chance after having to steady at the break and was last early in the field of 11. Live long shot.

6. Legacy Isle (7-2 – Shackleford – Rohan Crichton / Luis Saez – 3: 2-0-0 - $78,600) Legacy Isle crossed the finish line first in all three of his starts which were at Gulfstream in his maiden in September, an allowance and then the Mucho Macho Man. In his stakes debut he went right to the lead and stayed there but was disqualified and placed second after drifting out in the stretch. The son of Shackleford can get to the front once again as Luis Saez gets on board for the first time. Top choice.

7. Il Miracolo (15-1 – Gun Runner – Antonio Sano / Leonel Reyes – 6: 1-3-0 - $54,850) Il Miracolo needed four tries at Gulfstream to break his maiden, which he did on the front end going a mile. He moved to the Derby trail in New York in the Remsen (G2) and did not take to the sloppy track or the nine furlongs. Back in Florida, Il Miracolo tried the Mucho Macho Man, but the results were not better when he finished seventh behind two horses who are in this field. Toss.

8. Rocket Can (6-1 – Into Mischief – Bill Mott / Junior Alvarado – 4: 1-1-0 - $99,388) Rocket Can began his career with two starts at Saratoga, where he faced strong fields that were won by Disarm and Instant Coffee. With the move to Churchill, Rocket Can’s form improved dramatically with a two-turn maiden victory and then a second in an October allowance. The Holy Bull will be his first start of the year after training at Payson Park in Florida. Use underneath.

Summary: Although Cyclone Mischief is likely to be the favorite at post time, this running of the Holy Bull has a field of horses that are looking to establish themselves as Kentucky Derby possibilities. There are no stakes winners in the field, and no Derby points have been earned.

Cyclone Mischief will try to build on his impressive allowance score at Gulfstream, which came with first-time Lasix. Lord Miles looked good in the Mucho Macho Man in his second start and should get a lot of action for Joseph. Legacy Isle has done nothing wrong in his career except drifting out in the stretch.

Legacy Isle might get overlooked a bit at the betting windows and will be the top choice at possible odds of 3-1. Mr Bob and Rocket Can are horses with higher odds to use in the trifecta.

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