Mohaymen geared down late in Holy Bull victory
Mohaymen won as a 3-10 shot should in Saturday's $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park, maintaining his undefeated record and position as the East Coast's leading Kentucky Derby (G1) prospect.
Despite breaking a step slow under Junior Alvarado, Mohaymen was well positioned in third early as longshot Perfect Saint and Champagne (G1) winner Greenpointcrusader raced in close attendance through splits of :24.64 and :49.06. Mohaymen split those two down the backside, took a short lead over Greenpointcrusader and was up after six furlongs in 1:12.52.
Under a snug hold approaching the quarter pole while Greenpointcrusader came under a drive, Mohaymen never looked like a horse who was going to get beat from that point on. Under the mildest of encouragement, the gray drew off in the short stretch and won geared down by 3 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:42.07 for 1 1/16 miles on a fast track.
A $2.2 million yearling purchase for Shadwell Stable and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Mohaymen paid $2.60.
"Mentally, he's so mature. He does whatever I want," Alvarado said. “I just waited and waited to see what Johnny [Velazquez aboard Greenpointcrusader] was going to do. He left me a little room, but sometimes that can be a little trap. I just waited and waited and then it got to a point where he didn't come inside and the horse in front was backing up, so I said, 'I've got the best horse. It's time to making my own move. After that it was pretty much over. I could have gone around (again) easily with him. I still had plenty of horse."
Greenpointcrusader, previously the type to lay back and make one run, found himself in the unusual position of being close to the pace in the Holy Bull, but still ran credibly in a second-place effort. He finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of 40-1 chance Fellowship. Third choice Conquest Big E could do no better than fourth after lagging behind the soft pace.
Those top four earned points of 10-4-2-1 toward Kentucky Derby eligibility as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby Series.
A Tapit half-brother to 2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner New Year's Day, Mohaymen has now earned $559,830. He went three-for-three as a juvenile, taking his six-furlong debut by a half-length at Belmont Park before earning graded scores in the Nashua (G2) over a mile and the 1 1/8-mile Remsen (G2), both at Aqueduct.
"We'll see how he comes out, talk to Kiaran and talk to Sheikh Hamdan," said Rick Nichols, U.S. racing manager for Shadwell. "Our original plan was if he liked this track and ran well we'd probably leave him here, maybe the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Florida Derby (G1). We'll see how he comes out and see what the boss thinks."
(Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)