How to bet the 2019 Holy Bull Stakes

Profile Picture: Dick Powell

January 31st, 2019

If you thought it rained a lot at Gulfstream Park last Saturday, keep your umbrella ready. South Florida is supposed to get so much rain, Gulfstream had to switch a pair of turf stakes races to Sunday in hopes of staying on the grass. So, it looks like the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) will be run over a wet track at 1 1/16 miles for three-year-olds. Last Saturday, the rain made the main track speed favoring, but if it rains for a couple of days, I’m not sure how it will behave. The Holy Bull is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby and will award 10-4-2-1 points to the respective top four finishers. Garter and Tie (#1) (12-1) already has seven starts but he showed he was capable as the races got longer. He won the Smooth Air Stakes here going a one-turn mile then came back with a good third in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes, where he was bumped at the start and shuffled back from post 1. He doesn’t have much pedigree but once they show they can run, who cares? Federal Case (#2) (6-1) broke his maiden first time out in a long sprint at Keeneland, when he was involved in the pace from start to finish. The $650,000 son of Gemologist came back to beat allowance foes as the 2-5 favorite here going a one-turn mile and now tries two turns from a good post with Javier Castellano. Epic Dreamer (#3) (15-1) was a good second in blazing-fast time going six furlongs in his career debut. The winner of that maiden came back to win the Nashua Stakes (G3) next out, so the form of that race was solid as the third-place runner, Mihos, also captured his next two starts and is in here. Stretched out to 1 1/16 miles next time out, Epic Dreamer won at Belmont Park in fast time going gate-to-wire as the odds-on favorite. Last out, he ran poorly from post 1 in the Remington Springboard Mile, and he picks up Irad Ortiz Jr. for the first time in this spot. Everfast (#4) (30-1) broke his maiden first time out going seven furlongs at Ellis Park and has lost his next five starts. The Calumet Farm colorbearer will potentially be a longshot at post time. Calumet Farm likes to run their horses regardless of their chances and this one has little chance. Harvey Wallbanger (#5) (15-1) has run four consistent races; the last three with Lasix. He broke his maiden last out at Churchill Downs going this distance last out and has worked well on this main track for trainer Ken McPeek. The son of Congrats boasts a bullet workout a couple of weeks ago but he will have to overcome a big bias coming from behind going two turns on this main track. Mihos (#6) (5-2) was an even third in the above-mentioned maiden race, then came back with first-time Lasix and won from just off the pace going six furlongs at Aqueduct. Last out in the Mucho Macho Man, he rallied strongly to get up by a neck going a one-turn mile that was fast early and slow late. Now, the son of young sire Cairo Prince tries nine furlongs with John Velazquez aboard. Come on Gerry (#7) (20-1) tired badly in his well-bet career debut going seven furlongs but came back here and broke his maiden going this distance when he went to the front and never looked back. He earned a 95 BRIS Speed rating and certainly has a strong wet-track pedigree. Maximus Mischief (#8) (1-1) is undefeated in three career starts. The first two came at Parx Racing then he shipped to Aqueduct for the Remsen Stakes (G2) and went gate to wire in a very classy performance. His BRIS speed rating of 106 is fantastic and a :58 bullet workout here shows he’s ready for more. Gladiator King (#9) (30-1) has eights starts and three wins. He won a six-furlong stakes race at Tampa Bay Downs but did nothing in his next two starts. His trainer is two for 48 and his rider is one for 42, so make sure you get at least 40-1. Going for Gold (#10) (30-1) is still a maiden after two narrow losses going short. He switches to Bob Hess Jr., who tries to stretch him out to two turns but could not have drawn worse. Albin Jimenez is nominated to pull off the upset. WAGERING STRATEGY With the expected rain, let’s see if we can find some value in here. Come on Gerry romped in his two-turn debut and has enough gate speed to gain early position. His last-race BRIS Pace ratings were 85, 92, 95, which you don’t see very often on dirt when racing on the lead. Despite siring Smarty Jones, Elusive Quality has fallen out of fashion but Come on Gerry cost $335,000 as a yearling; the most expensive of 20 yearlings sired by Elusive Quality. Being just a maiden winner, Come on Gerry gets in with only 116 pounds and Robby Albarado, who is usually trainer Dale Romans’ big-race rider. Not sure why Epic Dreamer ran so poorly last out as the 6-5 favorite, but his maiden win was excellent. Trainer Kelly Breen is able to get Irad Ortiz Jr. to ride and the morning works here must have helped him secure the Eclipse Award-winning rider. Mihos finishes his race strong and could be along to pick up the pieces. Maximus Mischief could be the one to catch with Jose Ortiz picking up the mount. He can’t be ignored but will likely be overbet. Win: #7 Exacta: #3, #6, #8 with #7 Trifecta Box: #3, #6, #7, #8 PHOTO: Mihos and jockey Jose Ortiz capture the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 5, 2019 (c) Adam Coglianese Photography/Lauren King