Kentucky Derby 2023 trail: Holy Bull, Robert B. Lewis odds, picks

Kentucky Derby 2023 trail: Holy Bull, Robert B. Lewis odds, picks
Photo: Evers / Eclipse Sportswire

Two Kentucky Derby 2023 preps are on the schedule for the first Saturday of February, but only one will actually result in Derby points being awarded.

The Grade 3, $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. EST Saturday, followed by Gulfstream Park’s $250,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at 5:43 p.m.

Kentucky Derby points are awarded to the top five finishers in both races on a 20-8-6-4-2 scale. However, all four Lewis starters are trained by trainer Bob Baffert, whose Churchill Downs suspension prevents the accumulation of Derby points by his runners.

Here are previews of the Robert B. Lewis and the Holy Bull, both of which can be seen on FanDuel TV. Visit Horse Racing Nation’s free past performances page for more information on both Kentucky Derby preps, plus the Bayakoa Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn.

4:05 p.m. – $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3), 1 1/16 miles, Santa Anita

Arabian Lion (7-5) is the shortest-priced of the Baffert-trained Lewis quartet. He is followed on the morning line by Newgate (8-5), Worcester (9-5) and Hard to Figure (8-1).

Zedan Racing Stables campaigns Arabian Lion, a $600,000 auction purchase last April at an Ocala sale. Jockey John Velazquez will be up on the Justify colt, who makes his first start since a fifth-place finish Dec. 17 in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2).

Newgate has started in four straight graded stakes without a win. He was second locally Jan. 8 in the Sham Stakes (G3), another of Santa Anita’s Derby preps.

Maiden Worcester has raced twice, both at Santa Anita. He was fourth in December on debut, then runner-up Jan. 15 in his second start by 1 1/4 lengths behind $3.55 million purchase Hejazi.

The Lewis is followed in Santa Anita’s series of points-paying Derby preps by the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes (G2) on March 4 and the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 8.

I’ll Have Another in 2012 is the only runner (according to Churchill Downs records) to sweep both the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and the Kentucky Derby.

Medina Spirit crossed first in both the 2021 Lewis and Derby. Churchill has recognized Mandaloun as the ’21 Derby winner since Kentucky regulators disqualified the Baffert-trained Medina Spirit from that win last February. A hearing officer has not announced a recommendation on an appeal of that ruling.

Kentucky Derby heroes Charismatic (1999) and Ferdinand (1986) finished fifth and second, respectively, in the Robert B. Lewis.

Here is a look at the field for the 2023 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (trainers and jockeys in parentheses) with morning-line odds:

1. Arabian Lion (Bob Baffert, John Velazquez), 7-5

2. Newgate (Bob Baffert, Frankie Dettori), 8-5

3. Worcester (Bob Baffert, Juan Hernandez), 9-5

4. Hard to Figure (Bob Baffert, Ramon Vazquez), 8-1

TimeformUS pace projections show Arabian Lion and Velazquez showing the way early with a pace setup that should favor those on or near the early lead.

5:43 p.m. – $250,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3), 1 1/16 miles, Gulfstream Park

Trainer Dale Romans, a Louisville Ky., native who seeks his first Kentucky Derby victory, is on the trail with Cyclone Mischief (2-1) for owners Albaugh Family Stables and Castleton Lyons.

The Into Mischief colt dusted allowance foes by 5 3/4 lengths Jan. 8 at Gulfstream, one race after running seventh Nov. 26 at Churchill in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2). Jockey Tyler Gaffalione retains the mount.

Local trainer Rohan Crichton conditions Legacy Isle (7-2), who sports a 2-for-3 record, with all three of his starts coming at Gulfstream. He was disqualified from first to second on New Year’s Day in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes due to interference in deep stretch.

Trained by Bill Mott, Churchill maiden winner Rocket Can (7-2) returns for his first start since running second there Nov. 26 in an allowance race.

Lord Miles (4-1) highlights a pair of entries for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. He crossed third in the Mucho Macho Man, 3/4 of a length shy of Legacy Isle.

Following the Holy Bull Stakes on Gulfstream’s trail to the Kentucky Derby are the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) on March 4 and the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) on April 1.

Barbaro in 2006 and Go for Gin in 1994 both swept the Holy Bull and the Kentucky Derby. 2003 Derby hero Funny Cide finished fifth in this event.

Other notable Holly Bull victors include 2020 Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law, 2018 Florida Derby hero Audible and 2005 Kentucky Derby runner-up Closing Argument.

Here is a look at the field for the 2023 Holy Bull Stakes (trainers and jockeys in parentheses) with morning-line odds:

1. Lord Miles (Saffie Joseph Jr., Irad Ortiz Jr.), 4-1

2. West Coast Cowboy (Saffie Joseph Jr., Edgard Zayas), 12-1

3. Shadow Dragon (Bill Mott, Jose Ortiz), 15-1

4. Cyclone Mischief (Dale Romans, Tyler Gaffalione), 2-1

5. Mr Bob (Robert Falcone Jr., Joel Rosario), 10-1

6. Legacy Isle (Rohan Crichton, Luis Saez), 7-2

7. Il Miracolo (Antonio Sano, Leonel Reyes), 20-1

8. Rocket Can (Bill Mott, Junior Alvarado), 7-2

TimeformUS pace projections show Legacy Isle taking an early lead under jockey Luis Saez with favorite Cyclone Mischief sitting third.

Kentucky Derby trail links

Ashley Tamulonis and Laurie Ross go head to head handicapping the Holy Bull Stakes. One writer picks favorite Cyclone Mischief while another explains why one of trainer Bill Mott’s two entries fits the profile of previous Holy Bull winners.

Reinier Macatangay analyzes Cyclone Mischief’s results and says that a Holy Bull Stakes trifecta with that Dale Romans-trained runner on top is his play. Macatangay also explains why the Robert B. Lewis ranks ahead of the Holy Bull and next Saturday’s Withers Stakes (G3) in quality runners and identifies three under-the-radar Kentucky Derby prospects.

Based on a morning line that has Arabian Lion the favorite and Newgate the second choice, No. 3 Worcester is the likely play Robert B. Lewis play for Ed DeRosa. DeRosa also offers Holy Bull fair odds, rating Rocket Can as the race’s most likely winner.

“I think he’s one of the best 3-year-olds in the country, and he’s training like one,” trainer Dale Romans said of Holy Bull favorite Cyclone Mischief. “There are a lot of good horses out there, but we’re in a good spot right now.”

Andrew Capone caught up with trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. at Gulfstream Park to talk about his contenders in Saturday's Holy Bull Stakes.

In the last six runnings of the Holy Bull Stakes, a frontrunner, a stalker, a deep closer, another stalker, a closer and yet another stalker won, in that order.

No Aqueduct is no problem for this week's Super Screener, as Horse Racing Nation's flagship handicapping product still includes the other two Kentucky Derby preps plus nine other stakes races this weekend.

This week on the Ron Flatter Racing Pod, Gulfstream Park TV analyst Ron Nicoletti handicaps the Holy Bull Stakes. DeRosa previews both the Holy Bull and the Robert B. Lewis.

HorseCenter hosts Matt Shifman and Brian Zipse preview the Holy Bull. Shifman also offers Holy Bull odds and analysis.

Kentucky Derby points top 10

1. Forte, 40

2. Instant Coffee, 32

3. Curly Jack, 17

4. Blazing Sevens, 16

5. Jace’s Road, 15

6. Red Route One, 13

7. Victory Formation, 10

8. Dubyuhnell, 10

9. Practical Move, 10

10. Lugan Knight, 10

Kentucky Oaks trail

Earlier on its Holy Bull card, Gulfstream Park hosts a prep Saturday toward the Kentucky Oaks (G1) that awards points on a 20-8-6-4-2 basis.

4:17 p.m. – $125,000 Forward Gal Stakes (G3), seven furlongs, Gulfstream Park, FanDuel TV

Atomically (3-1) won a local stakes last October for the barn of Jose Pinchin, then was seventh Nov. 4 at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies for trainer Todd Pletcher. Jockey Jose Ortiz will ride the Girvin filly in her return to Gulfstream. Chad Brown trains Undervalued Asset (7-2), a debut winner Nov. 10 at Aqueduct who hits the Oaks trail in her second start. The Rusty Arnold-trained Red Carpet Ready (4-1) is 2-for-2, including a Fern Creek Stakes triumph Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs.

Related: Ky. Oaks trail: Atomically makes 3-year-old debut in Forward Gal

Kentucky Oaks points top 10

1. Wonder Wheel, 40

2. The Alys Look, 24

3. Wet Paint, 20

4. Occult, 20

5. Leave No Trace, 15

6. Pretty Mischievous, 13

7. Chop Chop, 12

8. Ice Dancing, 12

9. Pride of the Nile, 12

10. Raging Sea, 11

Other Saturday stakes

Here is a look at other graded stakes taking place Saturday across the U.S. All post times are EST and all races can be seen on FanDuel TV.

2:15 p.m. – $125,000 Swale Stakes (G3), 3-year-olds, seven furlongs, Gulfstream Park

Super Chow (6-5) brings a 5-for-6 record into his graded bow and capped a four-race winning streak with a local Limehouse Stakes score New Year’s Day. Jockey Chantal Sutherland stays aboard the Lord Nelson colt for trainer Jorge Delgado. Shug McGaughey trains General Jim (5-2), fourth-place finisher Jan. 1 in Gulfstream’s Mucho Macho Man Stakes. Belmont Park stakes winner Two of a Kind (4-1) finished third in the Limehouse for trainer Brian Lynch, 10 lengths behind winner Super Chow.

3:46 p.m. – $175,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes (G3), 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles (turf), Gulfstream Park

Major Dude (5-2), winner of October’s Pilgrim Stakes (G2) at Belmont, races back over the Gulfstream course where he was second as the 1-1 favorite Jan. 7 in the Dania Beach Stakes. Trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. team up with the Bolt d’Oro colt. Arnaud Delacour trains Candidate (3-1), who won the Dania Beach by 1 3/4 lengths over Major Dude. Laurel Park stakes winner Congruent ran fourth in the Dania Beach for trainer Antonio Sano.

Related: Irad Ortiz Jr. ties record with 7 straight wins at Gulfstream Park

3:55 p.m. – $175,000 Endeavour Stakes (G3), 4-and-up fillies and mares, 1 1/16 miles (turf), Tampa Bay

Marketsegmentation (3-1) has won two of three career starts for trainer Chad Brown, including a New Year’s Eve allowance race a few hours south at Gulfstream. Jockey Samy Camacho will ride the 4-year-old American Pharoah filly. Pletcher trains Scotish Star (4-1), a Group 1 winner in Argentina who also raced Dec. 31 at Gulfstream, settling for sixth in the Suwanee River Stakes (G3). Ireland stakes winner Panama Red (9-2) makes her U.S. debut for Delacour in her first start since finishing second Aug. 18 in a stakes race at Killarney.

4:38 p.m. – $100,000 Megahertz Stakes (G3), 4-and-up fillies and mares, one mile (turf), Santa Anita

School Dance (3-1) makes her 4-year-old bow after finishing a head shy of a Grade 1 win Dec. 26 when second in the local American Oaks. Jockey Ramon Vazquez has the assignment on the Animal Kingdom filly for trainer Phil D’Amato. Carla Gaines trains Closing Remarks (7-2), a Santa Anita stakes winner who was runner-up New Year’s Eve in the Robert J. Frankel Stakes (G3). Another D’Amato entry, Hamwood Flier (4-1), drops in class after finishing fourth Dec. 4 in Del Mar’s Matriarch Stakes (G1).

Related: Closing Remarks aims to fill gap on resume in Megahertz

4:55 p.m. – $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes (G3), 4-and-up, 1 1/16 miles (turf), Tampa Bay

Chez Pierre (3-1) puts a 5-for-5 record on the line for Delacour in his first start since winning the Henry S. Clark Stakes on April 23 at Laurel Park. Jockey Daniel Centeno will climb aboard the 5-year-old Mehmas gelding, who battles graded company for the first time. Pletcher trains Grade 2 winner Emmanuel (4-1), back in the starting gates for the first time since he was eased to a 10th-place finish Aug. 6 in the Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes (G1). Verbal (5-1), a Brown-trained Grade 3 victor, also returns off a lengthy layoff, his dating to a fifth-place effort April 8 in Keeneland’s Transylvania Stakes (G3).

5:01 p.m. – $175,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes (G3), 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles (turf), Gulfstream Park

Cairo Consort (2-1) won the local Ginger Brew Stakes on Jan. 7, one start after finishing third Nov. 4 at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Irad Ortiz has the mount for Pletcher on the Cairo Prince filly. Ray Handal trains Sweetlou'sgotaces (4-1), who broke her maiden when winning Aqueduct’s Tepin Stakes on Nov. 27. Padma (5-1) switches surfaces after a runner-up finish over the main track New Year’s Day in the local Cash Run Stakes for trainer Bill Mott.

5:42 p.m. – $250,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3), 4-and-up fillies and mares, 1 1/16 miles, Oaklawn

A Mo Reay (5-2) aims to make the grade for trainer Brad Cox in this race that is part of Oaklawn’s series toward the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) on April 15. The 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly, who will be under jockey Florent Geroux, returns off a Pago Hop Stakes win New Year’s Eve at Fair Grounds. Robertino Diodoro trains Lovely Ride (3-1), whose back-to-back local stakes scores include the Pippin Stakes on Jan. 7. Churchill Downs and Keeneland allowance victor Le Da Vida (7-2) crossed third in the Pippin for trainer Ignacio Correas IV.

7:23 p.m. – $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes (G2), 4-and-up fillies and mares, seven furlongs, Santa Anita

Fun to Dream (8-5) sports a 5-for-6 record for trainer Bob Baffert and battles older runners after beating then-3-year-olds Dec. 26 in the local La Brea Stakes (G1). Jockey Juan Hernandez gets the call on the 4-year-old Arrogate filly. Doug O’Neill trains Awake at Midnyte (5-2), whose runner-up finish in the La Brea was her fourth in a graded-stakes race. Lady T (3-1) made the grade New Year’s Eve in the local Las Flores Stakes (G3) for trainer John Shirreffs.

7:53 p.m. – $100,000 Thunder Road Stakes (G3), 4-and-up, one mile (turf), Santa Anita

Air Force Red (3-1) brings a two-race winning streak into this event, with his most recent score coming New Year’s Eve in the local Joe Hernandez Stakes (G2) at about 6 1/2 furlongs. Hernandez will pilot the 5-year-old Air Force Blue ridgling for trainer Leonard Powell. Dan Blacker trains Hit the Road (5-1), a Grade 1 hero who aims for a bounce back after running 10th in the Joe Hernandez. Santa Anita stakes winner Earls Rock (5-1) won a Dec. 4 allowance event at Del Mar for D’Amato.

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